Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Weekend Philosopher: Wisdom

This will be a short post, since I've had another quite busy weekend.  Six years ago today, I married the man I love.  It's amazing how fast those years have gone, and I'm sure that will continue to be the case.

Today, I just wanted to take a quick look at a tricky concept.  What is wisdom?

In my view, wisdom doesn't mean knowing the answers to everything.  It doesn't mean having a beard and sitting alone in the woods, though one who does so may in fact be wise.  For me, wisdom is knowing how to look at the world and figure it out.  It's much more an approach to life than anything else.

Image courtesy of Photokanolk
If you have a thirst for knowledge and wish to seek it out at every turn, you are well on your way to wisdom.  How can you hope to develop a well-balanced and calm approach to life if you don't have curiosity?  How can you seek out knowledge if you don't understand how to sort through the good and the bad 

Yet, you cannot hope to be wise without an intimate knowledge of yourself.  The way you approach the world must be unique to you.  The way you seek knowledge must be uniquely you.  How else can you hope to keep the enthusiasm and hunger that pushes you to learn more about the world around you.  After all, you cannot hope to go for a long walk in shoes that don't fit.  You would only end up frustrated and pained by the blisters worn on your feet.

Image courtesy of pat138241
How do you get to know yourself?  Through honesty and self-reflection.  You may not always like all that you learn about yourself, but that honesty is the key to change.  It is the key to learning and discovery.

I guess if wisdom does begin in wonder, we should feel that kind of wonder about our own selves.  This comment does not come from vanity, but the simple truth that you are the only one who can travel your own path to wisdom.  If you want to make your journey to wisdom successfully, you need to know how you walk through life.  And in the process of self-discovery, you hone the skills required to discover more about the world around you and how you fit into it.

These are simply some of my scattered thoughts about the subject.  What do you think wisdom is?  How do you attain it?  Is it even something that can be attained, and if so, should we hope to attain it?


  1. Very deep post. I think the only way we can grow as people is always be open to learning new things and seeing new perspectives - but like you say, we have to assimilate them with our own selves. Very interesting!

  2. Wisdom is something you learn with age, although not everyone learns it. it's beyond knowledge - it's experience, maturity, and doing the right thing.

  3. I agree that wisdom is about knowing how you and the world around you work, and being able to make sound decisions based on knowledge.

    I've seen many people of some intelligence act without wisdom because they think that the two are the same thing. They usually aren't. There's a huge difference between understanding theory and understanding the real world.

    Great thoughts. Now you've got me thinking about it again. :-)

  4. That Socrates quote says it all.

  5. Wisdom can be acquired through experience and time, however merely living and being out in the world means nothing if one isn't open to learning. Harder still, for me, is applying what meager wisdom I have picked up to new situations in which I find myself (though I find I'm brilliant at passing my hard-earned wisdom on to others). :-)
    Some Dark Romantic