Defining Wisdom

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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby ericgyoung » Sun Jun 19, 2011 3:37 pm

I just joined this site this morning, and am really enjoying all the wonderful information and participation. In my experience, the concept of "wisdom" is typically allied with "knowledge." We tend to believe that a person who is "wise" is automatically "smart." That is not the case - and the reverse is an equally false assumption.

To me, "wisdom" can only come from life experiences. By contrast, our simple knowledge is nothing more than the body of facts, data and even trivia that we get from consumption of information and external stimuli. "Wisdom" is not gathered like data; it is a state of mind/being that is attained as we experience life. I am reminded of Mark Twain's quote (possibly paraphrasing a bit here), "I never let school get in the way of my education."

Interestingly, there are times when our increasingly ravenous consumption of information actually gets in the way of "wisdom," as in the case of a person who is highly educated and yet lacks basic common sense.

Where the concept of "wisdom" or the personification of a "wise" person becomes tricky, not just in general, but for me individually is that I do not believe a person has to be this or that age to be wise. "Wise" ones are not only silver-haired elders; indeed, some older people can be quite foolish and un-wise at times. Similarly, I believe that a child, given certain experiences (either good or ill), can obtain a certain amount of "wisdom." Generally speaking, however, what I think of as "wisdom" does tend to require some passage of time - time to allow a person to mature and go through life, etc. That begs one to make the connection between "wisdom" and age, which is a fallacy.

I like the connection of "instinct" with "wisdom," and agree that "instinct" plays a significant role in one being "wise." If a person has reliable "instincts," and follows those in similar situations over time, then that person would at least appear to be a "wise" individual, as their choices seem to end with the correct result. But are they "wise?" Or, just repetitious and cautious? And, how to we gain "instinct?" Are we born with it? Attain it? Some of both? Is it any good to just file our "instinct" learning away with all the other bits and pieces we learn?

As I have been writing this, I have thought of another quality that signifies "wisdom." The ability to reflect on one's self and one's surroundings. To constantly examine oneself and their world.
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby mirjana » Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:33 pm

Hi ericgyoung,

Welcome to DS.
I like very much your thoughts about wisdom and paraphrased quote of Mark Twain goes well with them.
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby Sabina » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:39 pm

Interesting thoughts. I particularly liked this part:
ericgyoung wrote:I like the connection of "instinct" with "wisdom," and agree that "instinct" plays a significant role in one being "wise." If a person has reliable "instincts," and follows those in similar situations over time, then that person would at least appear to be a "wise" individual, as their choices seem to end with the correct result. But are they "wise?" Or, just repetitious and cautious?


Also, in regards to this part....
ericgyoung wrote:As I have been writing this, I have thought of another quality that signifies "wisdom." The ability to reflect on one's self and one's surroundings. To constantly examine oneself and their world.

From what I have been able to observe, that is rather an ability one is born with, or not.
Some people can very well reflect on their surrounding, but repeatedly exclude themselves from the "reflections", other than perhaps to play the martyr.
Others are able to reflect on their overall surroundings, themselves included.
Again others seem to have too much a tendency to find fault within themselves, forgiving others too easily. Forgiving is not the right word though... as they not so much forgive as they disregard other people's involvement and completely focus on their own involvement and fault.

Perhaps finding a balance in reflecting on one's surroundings (incl. oneself) is wisdom, but then, if that is true, then some children are definitely wise as well.

PS: Welcome to DS!
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby Rachel » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:04 pm

I've not read this whole thread properly, so please forgive me if I'm repeating thoughts which have already been discussed herein.

I like these concepts of wisdom. I know that some of the embedded themes have been mentioned:

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius

Cleverness is not wisdom.
Euripides
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby Metatron » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:39 pm

I may have the simplest view of what wisdom is... I believe being wise is the ability to see and admit you're wrong, seeing it as an opportunity to learn - to grow.

I don't think it has too much to do with knowing what is right or wrong because I believe everyone is able to tell right from wrong at least on some basic level - that being murder being wrong, for example. I think even people who commit murder do it not because they think it is right, but despite knowing it's wrong.

Most of the rest of the rights/wrongs are a matter of opinion. Hell, some would argue that even in the case of murder it's a matter of opinion.

Of course, judging whether you were wrong about something is also a matter of opinion, but still, it shows open mindedness, willingness to compare sometimes extremely different ideas and admitting some of your old ideas need to be left behind. That I think is more of a universal quality, independent of current knowledge of science, morals, etc.
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby dermot » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:17 pm

Ah ..back to one of the longest running threads!

Wisdom...to me is innate.

There are wise individuals, mostly they have always been seen to be wise, even from a young age. Their ability seems to be, to be able to connect with something others cannot, or cannot consistently access.

Disconnecting with things that dont matter and distance us from the innate wisdom we have access to would seem to be the key. If we are reactive, if we are judgemental, if we are fearful, if we doubt our own self...then we cannot be still and access our own wisdom.

The qualities of a wise man are probably, simplicity, stillness, an ability to detach, an ability to be non judgemental, etc......all of which allow the mind to find innate wisdom.

Innate wisdom is finding our own Truth....what we fundamentally know to be true, when we connect with our own Truth we feel it powerfully. Then all we need is awareness to bring it to our minds and courage to speak it.

Truth is probably Universal......does that mean Wisdom is too?

To me, this makes sense and explains why some are connected and at peace, and why others labour and strive for external reasons to be happy. Ulitimately we all need to find our own Truth, find our true nature and live with Wisdom as a guide.

Welcome to DS ericyoung!

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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby shiv » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:46 am

wisdom to me cannot be defined easily in positive terms sot he other way to catch he animal is to define what is not wisdom.... wisdom then is not being stupid
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby Temperanz » Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:39 pm

Wisdom for me is an applied knowledge~~ =0)
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby mirjana » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:49 am

Temperanz wrote:Wisdom for me is an applied knowledge~~ =0)


Hi Temperanz,
Welcome to DS. =0)
You have chosen an interesting name. Although there is a difference in the way it is written, my first association was Tarot.
Nice thought about wisdom...
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Re: Defining Wisdom

Postby blackfellawhitefella » Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:46 pm

.allowing the paradigm of right verses wrong, to fall away , would in my opinion,
be Wisdom expressing Itself.

.coming to Wisdom requires no dogma nor demands any guru , only You, and your commitment, to let go, to allow.




.hello everyone.
.i am gary.
relax, connect, allow.
repeat process.
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