Wisdom of the Ages
June 29, 2010
Wisdom as an academic accomplishment or a stage in development?
Wisdom as in a sage with special knowledge?
Wisdom as a biblical biography or philosophical principle?
What is wisdom and where do we find it?
To explore the literature, entertain the declared wise and to seek my own heart I have came to a few conclusions.
Psychologists label wisdom as a stage in development. Erik Erikson defines wisdom as the last stage of human development at approximately sixty five years old to death in which individuals solve a conflict between integrity and despair. Although this age specification is limiting, I do like the identity crisis mantra
I am what survives me. My interpretation of this is that we are our own worst enemy. This sounds wise.
Christianity and Islam doctrines maintain that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.(proverb 1:7) Even though I grew up in a Christian family, I am having trouble understanding how fear and wisdom go together but perhaps I may extrapolate that the fear of the unknown is admitting that there is always more to learn and it is connecting with this emotion of fear that stimulates further growth. This too sounds wise.
Eastern philosophies and religions use the terms of knowledge, learning and consciousness in defining wisdom:
Aristotle says wisdom is the knowledge of causes, why things exist as they do.
Plato defines wisdom as the knowledge of good and courage to act accordingly.
Nicholas Maxwell a modern philosopher says anyone who discusses wisdom without having a clear philosophical understanding is the blind leading the blind.
Aristotles definition is too academic, Maxwell deems only a certain select few to possess this gift of wisdom and Plato suggests that only knowledge of good is wise assuming perhaps good as a relative reference point to his own values.
Confucius states that wisdom is the love of learning through reflection(the noblest), imitation (the easiest) and experience (the bitterest). In this example the love of learning is akin to wisdom so it is a resource open for all without any limitation. Abiding by the highest good with a clear conscience and a clear character is a gem of wisdom.
Solomon was proclaimed a wise man as he worked well within others ideas and values. Einstein was also given this title of wise working outside the box with new ideas and formulas. But wise here seems to suggest it is done, elevating this persons knowledge and learning above our own. These men I honor as having sought and shared tremendous amounts of information, transforming thoughts and beliefs within their fields of expertise. However, in a flash, Solomon lost his entire Kingdom and Einstein could not tie his own shoes so that even the proclaimed wise have more to learn.
If I were writing a wisdom book I would say wisdom is a resource- recyclable, reusable and renewable available to anyone that takes the time to seek
..a lake of knowledge and information. The hurray I am wise at sixty-five boundaries are entertaining but as consciousness is expanding, Im calling for a revision. Socrates wise comment is one of humble confidence in claiming to know that he did not know. In this path you are always a seeker, no more or less wise than any other. Learning and discovering the world at your own pace. It has been said that understanding is to stand under in this place of humility and grace, knowledge flows to us. It is a pre-occupation with self awareness (the ego) that takes us on a different journey but when you are focused on learning, seeking and teaching for a greater purpose outside yourself then too shall your wisdom expand accordingly.
A friend once sent me a poem that caressed the words of Confucius, captured the heart of Socrates and could have been a verse in the tao
.one day, I hope she will share it with the world. The truly wise make little of their own wisdom for the more they know the more they realize how little they know. Tao Te Ching.For more information contact
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