Friday, June 3, 2011
In ADF Wisdom is defined as "Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response."
I like this definition. Wisdom and knowledge are not one in the same, though knowledge can be an aid to the virtue of wisdom.
Dictionary.com defines wisdom as “1.
The quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
Though both these definitions say it in different ways, they are saying the same thing. I feel these are both excellent definitions.
Wisdom is different than the kind of knowledge one can learn from a book. Wisdom takes in all the knowledge a person has and then ties all of that in with things we don’t even realize our brain registers: time of year, temperature, facial expressions; the list is endless. It all blends together as something we might call intuition. Then from that we come out with wisdom. Not everyone has it, some people seem to come by it naturally and others never seem to acquire it. My sister and I are good examples of what I mean. My sister is seven years old then myself. Growing up she made a lot of bad choices and thus made living at home rough at times. The fights between her and our parents were daily; at times waking me up from a sound sleep in the middle of the night. She often got caught, shop lifting, smoking, drinking, parties, sneaking out. The list goes on I am sure, yet despite getting caught she often repeated the behavior. Even back then I just couldn’t understand why she would make such unwise decisions. The correct course of action seemed so obvious to me. When I got to be a teenager, I never had problems with my parents. I never snuck out, drank, and smoked, ect. Why? It just didn’t make sense to do so. Not just because it was against the rules, but because these things are obviously unhealthy, or not wise things to do.
Even as an adult I find myself shaking my head at the antics of people around me and the amazing lack of wisdom they seem to have. The blindness of people doesn’t shock me as it once did, but it never seems to end, and thus I see the need for people of wisdom in the world.
I am lucky to call a very wise man a friend. Bill has spent many years not only studying wisdom texts but he lives them. Describing his wisdom is almost impossible.
He is the still pool deep in the forest
He is the ancient stone out cropping
He is the laughter of the cunning child
He is the way of cool
He is the watchful father of the child
He is the echo of one’s own wisdom
He is the sheltering oak in the back yard
I hope that someday I will be like him. I am not saying that I am without wisdom. I have often been told that I am, and I believe it to be true. However wisdom is like a tree, and it grows within us assuming we nurture it, as we have life experiences. Compared to Bill’s my tree is still young.
Wisdom is an excellent virtue. If everyone worked to nurture this virtue, to cultivate wisdom in their minds, then the world would be a much better place to live in my opinion. Perhaps that is one of the core problems in our modern American lives; we no longer value wisdom as a virtue like our ancestors did. If there was more wisdom in the world, perhaps then there would be less anger, resentment, aggression, and all the societal woes that follow.