The Future Is in the Past
History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme.
Most 80-year-olds will die before most five-year-olds. In general, the older someone is, the more likely that person is to pass away.
The death of non-perishable things is a different matter. When the Lindy Effect applies, the older something is, the longer one can expect it to last. Nicholas Nassim Taleb talks about this in his thought-provoking book Antifragile:
If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years. This, simply, as a rule, tells you why things that have been around for a long time are not "aging" like persons, but "aging" in reverse. Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy. This is an indicator of some robustness. The robustness of an item is proportional to its life!
Much of what grabs our attention today will be forgotten next year — maybe even next week. The classics are different. A book written centuries ago that we read today will continue to be relevant decades from now.
I held off making a video about this until I cracked open one of the 800-page novels that I had I always said I would read someday. Granted, my Kindle tells me that I'm only 39% of the way through it, so maybe I'm speaking too soon.
The question is not so much whether the great books have something to offer us but whether we will soak up their wisdom.