Learning All the Wrong Things
It's not so much that people never learn -- as much as it is that they learn all the wrong things, and are convinced (persuaded) that it doesn't make any difference -- as long as one is learning. But usually, along with such "learning," is the resistance to learning the difference between the "right" thing, and the "wrong" thing -- for which the self-designated "teachers" insist, is never necessary because they'll do that for them -- rather than the most important thing to learn, and the whole point of learning.
Those who cannot make such distinctions (discriminations), are of course incapable of distinguishing right from wrong -- in virtually everything they do, and others have to do that for them -- often than not, forcefully and definitively. Those who are uncertain, or incapable of making those distinctions themselves, invariably become drawn into the chaos and confusion of the utterly lost.
So one of the great achievements in every life, is this ability to distinguish right from wrong -- and not fall into the despair that nothing matters, and the spoils go to the most ruthless in taking them. That is the most primitive understanding of things -- and proof of learning the wrong lessons. It may seem to work initially, but soon, everyone catches on to that manner of being and doing, and learns to avoid them, thus such people, are always on the prowl for fresh victims -- who are not yet "on" to them. Invariably, they are the easiest people to run into -- because they have to go through many to find the few who are worse than they do -- wreaking havoc and mischief in their wake.
That could range from domestic to international affairs and treaties. What is common in every case and matter, is the belief that anything one can get another to believe, is reality -- and not that reality is not just their agreement to see whatever they want to. Such like-minded people are capable of convincing themselves of anything -- until they run out of other people's money, patience and goodwill. That is the world of delusion and wishful-thinking -- over the sorry truth.
So when things go wrong, they have no way of making them right, or even knowing something is wrong in the first place. To them, that is just the way things work -- and not that it could ever be better. That is particularly true with age -- and what they think is "normal." There is simply nothing they can do to alter that fact -- and so they do nothing, despite the fact they have all the time in the world to do anything they really wanted to do. Instead, they dwell and ruminate over all the things they cannot do -- as the only thing they do anymore.
Naturally, the world for such people, collapses and grows smaller with each passing day -- because they are not expanding that world, as every meaningful life has to do. It doesn't matter what they did fifty years ago -- or even ten. It's the same advice we give to the young, yet think somehow, the old are immune from it. The whole trick to staying young, is not plastic surgery and other advanced procedures, but approaching each moment as though learning it for the first time, with no preconceived notions of the possible and impossible -- but just "finding out," never presuming to know.
The one who says, "I know," is invariably the person who has learned all the wrong things -- thinking it is everything there is to know.