One of the common refrains of the modern day is that one should go out and test and learn everything on one’s own. However, this does not seem like a very practical thing to do for most people.
Our lifetime is very limited. By the time one is able to condense all of life’s wisdom through one’s very limited experience, it is possible that time would have caught up and it may be too late for any of the self-learned wisdom to have any value.
At the same time, there is a very true saying:
“Time is the great equalizer.”
So it seems that the ancient wisdom of all the past generations of human beings which has stood the test of time is more valuable than whatever wisdom one can self-learn in one’s small lifetime.
An interesting, related phenomenon is the Lindy effect, which states that if something, – like an idea or technology – has lasted for a long time, the odds are that it is going to last even longer.
Of course one needs to be sceptical of all ideas and needs to make sure everything passes the smell test. Ultimately the test of any wisdom lies with one’s own life experience with it. It is a common teaching in Buddhism that one has to employ one’s own common sense in combination with the practical wisdom of the ancients.