Category Archives: Virtues

On Wisdom

Wisdom: That universal virtue which all peoples and religions raise to such divine heights as to be considered deific in its own right. Humans have pursued her for thousands of years, and yet we still have trouble defining the word. I think this is because, like a person, wisdom changes with every situation and every epoch of human history. It is even often personified as a deity if not actually represented by a god. Wisdom is rightly given primary consideration because without at least a minim of wisdom, a person can hardly be expected to be a contributing member of a society. The beginning of wisdom, I think, is to see oneself in relation to the Gods, to the Spirits of nature, and to all who have gone before oneself. When I consider this, I see a picture, sometimes crystal-clear though oft-times fuzzy, of where I fit. At least I see a picture in which I would like to fit. Wisdom is in part knowing where I am so that I can perceive clearly the cosmos, i.e. people, situations. This is embodied by a phrase that often is put along the somewhat trite lines of, “The wise person knows well his/her own foolishness,” or “If you think you are wise, you’re probably mistaken!” When one assumes one is brimming with wisdom, things may soon take a bad turn, however confidence is no bad thing. To be comfortable enough to say to oneself, “I have gained some wisdom,” is a good thing because that is part of knowing oneself. As a teacher, I see wisdom in learning from my students as I teach them. I should be confident enough in my abilities to show others the way to mastery, while I also should remember that every person I encounter potentially has some lesson to teach to myself.
     Another part of Wisdom, as I see it, is when one moves from knowing to acting. To use one’s insight to act upon well-made decisions. That’s not to say that every well-made decision will turn out to be the best path, but a path arrived at through considerate decision-making is more likely a good path. A wise person considers contingencies and course corrections before the first step of a worthy journey.