Michelle Abadie and Mike Cast are currently working on a new book called “8000 Years of Wisdom”, a compilation of the memories and anecdotes from 100 octogenarians. They have sought out octogenarians from all walks of life, both within the UK and from abroad, who are willing to share their memories and wisdom in this lasting way.
“8000 Years of Wisdom” is a fascinating glimpse of history as experienced by real people, rather than events seen through the eyes of historians. It is a compelling social record that might otherwise be lost to future generations. It celebrates a generation’s amazing life and longevity from the relative innocence of youth in the early 1900s, to the maturity and wisdom of their later years, in the 21st century. Some of the articles were submitted having already been written, but never published; some people answered a questionnaire and others were interviewed. All ages can learn from the older generation, all of whom have seen some dramatic and extraordinary changes. By the very nature of talking about their wishes, regrets, ambitions and observations means these octogenarians can’t help but pass on advice indirectly, or impart some sort of knowledge or wisdom.
This book links us to history and shows us why history is so important. There are horrific stories of concentration camps and those who helped the prisoners, which must never be forgotten. There are stories of poverty and mass unemployment, which as a society we should learn from; and the all too common remarks about the pointlessness of wars, which unfortunately we haven’t learnt from. The juxtaposition of the mundane and the horror; of the creative and the destructive; the ambitious and pedestrian domesticity displays a true cross section of the lives of octogenarians in today’s society.
The reading of common experiences sometimes across continents gives us an insight into why that generation feels as though the current generation have lost a sense of community etc and why they enjoyed the war years, which is something generations since can’t understand. Some think themselves luckier than modern teenagers despite the disease, illness, war and poverty they suffered. We wonder if current teenagers will think like this in 60 or 70 years time.
A percentage of the royalties will go the Royal Hospital Chelsea's appeal fund.