We looked very briefly at the [hi] story of wisdom. Read it here.
Many academics and practitioners have expressed the hope that wisdom can indeed be the missing ingredient that can help our society to find its way once again. Perhaps these are valid expectations. But…
The question that needs to be asked is this, – which wisdom?
Throughout the history there have been and still are so many understandings and definitions of what wisdom is. They all have got something good and true to offer. Just a few examples.
“The wise person must know the fundamental principles and that which follows from them.”
“Wise people have the ability to see through to the underlying existential issue at hand.”
“Wisdom involves the ability to discern the significance of the universally assumed basic realities.”
“Wise people are more concerned about collective and universal issues than about their individual well-being.
“The most manifest sign of wisdom is continual cheerfulness.”
“Wisdom is a type of knowledge allowing us to act so as to promote the good.”
“Wisdom is the art of living well and is represented in qualities of the mind together with practical virtues that lead one to a well-adapted life.”
“Wisdom is as a body of expert knowledge about the meaning and conduct of life.”
According to Dr R. H. Trowbridge, wisdom is most often associated with the following personal traits: good judgment, insight into significance and meaning, knowledge of limits, humility, self-knowledge, self-control, broad & deep knowledge and experience, benevolence, empathy, compassion, humour, creativity, intuition, serenity, intelligence, reflectiveness, ability to deal with complex problems, virtuous character, openness, social skills, relativistic thinking, comfort with uncertainty & ambiguity, dialectical thinking, critical thinking, and so on.
Sounds good. Who wouldn’t want to have more wisdom?
Majority of these definitions and traits tend to describe human side of wisdom, that is, wisdom as something that we can acquire and possess. Here, however, we want to operate with a very different definition of wisdom. This one was proposed by Dr Horace D Hummel in his introductory commentary to the Old Testament “The Word Became Flesh”.
It goes like this:
“On the objective side, and on the most elemental level, it [wisdom] is the “natural law”, an all embracing cosmic order, immanent in all existence, and by which everything is ruled and governed. Subjectively, it is the awareness of these universal, eternal norms and the ordering of one’s life and behaviour accordingly.”
Here wisdom objectively is defined as the order of creation woven deeply into the very fabric of creation, and it refers to both creation in a broader sense, as well as to the human society. Subjectively wisdom then is our awareness of this order, of these deeply embedded principles and living accordingly.
How can one then become wise?
If you learn this elemental order of creation, these universal laws, and then integrate them in your life, at home and at work.
This is what the project “Wiseberg” is about.
The journey towards wisdom is a cheerful activity, indeed.