As a general rule of thumb, if someone beckons you to define a word, the most fitting response we can give is, “According to whom? In what context?” All words can be understood differently by all people.
Definitions of words differ according to the differing views of different people in different contexts at various times in their life. It’s essential to heed that people commonly only support (and comprehend) the definitions that they’ve already assigned unto things.
In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll aim to define wisdom in a way which covers many of today’s most popular secular definitions.
While many people needlessly waste hours of their time pausing to correct each of the words and definitions they use to articulate their experiences – human communication would become impossible if we each decided to do that.
So when we converse with each other, we have to understand, and hope for, a shared meaning for the hundreds of words we employ in our communications, without interrupting each other to define each one.
In a general sense, I would like to define the term wisdom like this: The merging of factual knowledge and the experience-based understanding that link together in a way that gives people the highest likelihood of achieving an intended purpose or goal.
For example, in the context of a military battle, with justice on one’s side, the intended purpose or goal will be a triumph. And to this purpose, a wise officer will have the factual knowledge he needs about the territory he’s to fight in, the forecasted weather and the assumed strength of the opposing army.
The officer will also need to know where the enemy is situated, the tactics they have historically used to fight battles, and how experienced his troops are, and how fatigued they are alongside as much other factual knowledge as he can discover.
As the battle commences, the officer will draw upon his experience and have the situational insight to recognise the moment when the enemy is slowing down, so to launch his final assault.
The officer is wise enough to know that failure here could equate to his army losing the battle, but he also knows that almost all acts of wisdom demand some depth of courage. Wisdom is the imaginative, attitudinal, voluntary capacity to get somewhere or pursue a course of action.
So, to summarise what has become quite a cunning and military fashioned post, wisdom consolidates the three following factors;
1) Comprehensive knowledge of the facts about reality,
2) Profound insight into the dynamics of a situation, and,
3) The faith and integrity to act on this knowledge and insight.
We’ll never act as wisely as we otherwise could, if we are unaware of our material reality, or if we are undiscerning of the pressing dynamics of the situation, or if we don’t have the resolve to fight, because we are either indifferent to our objectives or afraid.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is who you actually are, where your reputation is simply who other people believe you are.”– Coach J. Wooden
So, why do I concentrate on wisdom so much? Because common sense is wisdom, and regrettably, wisdom is no longer common. Many of today’s schools and academic institutions cultivate a culture of fear and competition in their students.
Modern academia spawns an ever-expanding millennial culture of unreasonably prejudiced clones posing to be cutting-edge thinkers.
Sadly more students and teachers in today’s academic institutions are more motivated by not being seen as fools in the eyes of their peers than growing in the essential wisdom and insight that’ll sustain them for the rest of their lifetimes.
So, I urge you, pursue insight, experience, understanding and wisdom before all other things in your life. Your future WILL thank you for it.