Wisdom is a deep understanding of people, things, events or situations, empowering the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy. Wisdom is the ability to optimally (effectively and efficiently) apply perceptions and knowledge and so produce the desired results. Wisdom is comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action. Synonyms include: sagacity, discernment, or insight. Wisdom often requires control of one's emotional reactions (the "passions") so that one's principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions.
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A standard philosophical definition says that wisdom consists of making the best use of available knowledge. As with any decision, a wise decision may be made with incomplete information. The technical philosophical term for the opposite of wisdom is folly.
In addition to experience there are a variety of other avenues to gaining wisdom. For example, Freethinkers and others believe that wisdom may come from pure reason and perhaps experience, while others believe that it comes from intuition or spirituality.
Beginning with the ancient Greeks, European culture associates wisdom with virtue. Metis and Athene are associated with wisdom from earliest times. For example, many philosophers talk about the virtue of wisdom in relation to courage and moderation, and in the Roman Catholic church, wisdom (Prudence) stands with justice, fortitude and moderation as one of the four cardinal virtues. Plato's dialogues mention the virtue of wisdom, as knowledge about the Good and the courage to act accordingly. The Good would be about the right relations between all that exists. The Good, as a Platonic Form, would involve the perfect ideas of good government, love, friendship, community, and a right relation to the Divine. Perhaps the search or love of wisdom is more important than any proven claim. Socrates only claimed to know that he did not know, but this he was very certain of, and he showed the many contradictions in the claims of his fellow citizens.
In the Inuit tradition, developing wisdom was the aim of teaching. An Inuit Elder said that a person became wise when they could see what needed to be done and do it successfully without being told what to do.
Holists believe that wise people sense, work with and align themselves and others to life. In this view, wise people help others appreciate the fundamental interconnectedness of life.
Nicholas Maxwell, a modern philosopher, argued that the basic aim of academic inquiry ought to be to seek and promote wisdom — wisdom being construed to be the capacity to realize what is of value in life for oneself and others, wisdom thus including knowledge and technological know-how, but much else besides.
 Wisdom is an ideal that has been celebrated since antiquity as the application of knowledge needed to live a good and virtuous life. Beyond simply knowing/understanding what options are available, "Wisdom" provides the ability to differentiate between them and choose the one that is best. What this means exactly depends on the various wisdom schools and traditions claiming to help foster it. In general, these schools have emphasized various combinations of the following: knowledge, understanding, experience, discipline, discretion, and intuitive understanding, along with a capacity to apply these qualities well towards finding solutions to problems. In many traditions, the terms wisdom and intelligence have somewhat overlapping meanings; in others they are arranged hierarchically, with intelligence being necessary but not sufficient for wisdom.
According to Rice (1958) Template:Source needed two wisdom traditions can be identified in the Renaissance: Contemplative and prudential. Contemplative traditions, such as monastic traditions, emphasized meditation on one's own experience as a pathway to the divine: Augustine of Hippo was an early and influential figure in the Christian lineage of this tradition. The status of wisdom or prudence as a virtue is recognized in cultural, philosophical and religious sources as the judicious and purposeful application of knowledge that is valued in society. Charron (1601) Template:Source needed was an influential Renaissance proponent of this wisdom tradition.
Psychologists have gathered data on commonly held beliefs or folk theories about wisdom. These analyses indicate that although "there is an overlap of the implicit theory of wisdom with intelligence, perceptiveness, spirituality and shrewdness, it is evident that wisdom is a distinct term and not a composite of other terms."Many, but not all, studies find that adults' self-ratings of perspective/wisdom do not depend on age. This stands in contrast to the popular notion that wisdom increases with age. In many cultures the name for third molars, which are the last teeth to grow, is etymologically linked with wisdom, e.g. as in the English wisdom tooth. In 2009, a study reviewed which brain components were related to wisdom.
Some religions have specific teachings relating to wisdom.
Saa represents the personification of wisdom or the God of wisdom in Ancient Egyptian Mythology.
In the Christian Bible and Jewish scripture, wisdom is represented by the sense of justice of the lawful and wise king Solomon, who asks God for wisdom in 1 Kings 3. Much of the Book of Proverbs, a book of wise sayings, is attributed to Solomon. In Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10, the fear of the Lord is called the beginning or foundation of wisdom while Proverbs 8:13 declares "To fear the Lord is to hate evil". In Proverbs 1:20, there is also reference to wisdom personified in female form, "Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares."
It was an ancient belief among the Jews and Samaritans that both the wisest and most aged among them would grow caprine horns, which were known euphemistically as "rays of light" (נקודת אור), hence the following ancient Hebrew dictums:
From Wisdom's horn/Authority is born.
His Wisdom shone (qaran) unto them like a horn (qeren) of light.
Furthermore, there is an oppositional element in Christian thought between secular wisdom and Godly wisdom. The apostle Paul states that worldly wisdom thinks the claims of Christ to be foolishness. However, to those who are being saved Christ represents the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:17-31) Also, Wisdom is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit according to Anglican, Catholic, and Lutheran belief. 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 gives an alternate list of nine virtues, among which wisdom is one.
In Islam, according to the Qur'an, Wisdom is of the greatest gifts humankind can enjoy, as it can be seen in many verses such as: " He gives wisdom unto whom He will, and he unto whom wisdom is given, he truly has received abundant good. But none remember except men of understanding." [2:269]* (This is the translation of the interpretation of the meaning from the original Arabic text)
And in Surah "Chapter" 31 is named "Luqman" after a wise man that God has bestowed Wisdom upon him. The man example is made in response to other kind of people that is mentioned in the beginning of the Surah "Chapter" who speak without knowledge and mislead people through corrupted discourse. In many verses in the Quran, many Prophets described as wise or be given Wisdom as a grace from God. For example, in Surah 3 "Aal-Imran" (the Family of Imran) it is mentioned that Christ Jesus the son of Mary will be taught the Book and the Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel (verse 48)
Eastern religions and philosophyEdit
Confucius stated that wisdom can be learned by three methods: Reflection (the noblest), imitation (the easiest) and experience (the bitterest). Wisdom is not told by self but unless asked for by another. This means a wise man never tells his wisdom unless asked person to person. According to "Doctrine of the Mean," Confucius also said, "Love of learning is akin to wisdom. To practice with vigor is akin to humanity. To know to be shameful is akin to courage (zhi,ren,yi..three of Mengzi's sprouts of virtue)." Compare this with the beginning of the Confucian classic "Great Learning" which begins with "The Way of learning to be great consists in manifesting the clear character, loving the people, and abiding in the highest good" one can clearly see the correlation with the Roman virtue "prudence," especially if one transliterates clear character as clear conscience. (Quotes from Chan's Sources of Chinese Philosophy).
Buddhist scriptures teach that a wise person is endowed with good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct & good mental conduct (AN 3:2) and a wise person does actions that are unpleasant to do but give good results and doesn’t do actions that are pleasant to do but give bad results (AN 4:115). The Buddha has much to say on the subject of wisdom including:
In Taoism Practical Wisdom may be described as knowing what to say and when to say it.
In Norse mythology, the god Odin is especially known for his wisdom, often acquired through various hardships and ordeals involving pain and self-sacrifice. In one instance he plucked out an eye and offered it to Mímir, guardian of the well of knowledge and wisdom, in return for a drink from the well. In another famous account, Odin hanged himself for nine nights from Yggdrasil, the World Tree that unites all the realms of existence, suffering from hunger and thirst and finally wounding himself with a spear until he gained the knowledge of runes for use in casting powerful magic. He was also able to acquire the mead of poetry from the giants, a drink of which could grant the power of a scholar or poet, for the benefit of gods and mortals alike.
Freduci Philomathis, "What is this thing called wisdom?", Journal Behind the State of the Art, Maybell, Colorado, 2006, p. 1.
<references/ Wisdom is increasingly important to the permanence of mankind as reflected by E.F. Schumacher: man is far too clever to be able to survive without wisdom. From "Small is Beautiful", Harper and Row, New York, New York, 1989, p33.
Further reading Edit
Religious Concepts of MetaphysicsEdit
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