What is wisdom? The Merriam-Websiter website defines it as:
- knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life
- the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand
- knowledge of what is proper or reasonable : good sense or judgment
(“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 10 July 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom>)
To me wisdom refers not just to knowledge and acquiring intellectual information. Wisdom is having that information and knowing how to apply it in real life. How many of us know people who are whiz kids at something like Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit but have no common sense and make lousy decisions in everyday life. I often see wisdom as something that is gained along with life experience and learning from our mistakes. Wisdom is being able to apply all the knowledge we’ve acquired into our daily lives. Wisdom is being able to look at a situation and make a judgment call. For some reason whenever I think of wisdom I think back to the myths. Macha the Red showed wisdom when she outsmarted the son of Dithorba; Brigid showed wisdom when she spread her cloak to acquire land for her abbey.
I have found that wisdom is sometimes quite rare in society. I often feel that it is lacking in the scientific community when pure researchers pursue investigations that ultimately create more problems than they solve. Such as when they try to find ways to grow crops that circumvent the damage done to the earth (such as hydroponics). By the time we see the effects of our poor judgment it is too late to correct the damage. Knowledge sought in a vacuum with no consideration of its potential impact is not wisdom.
It is interesting that wisdom can sometimes have nothing to do with age or experience. It can be found in young children and be missing from mature adults.
Wisdom is something that I have faith I will one day acquire. I’m fairly confident that I have the knowledge. But I know from past experience that my wisdom and judgment can occasionally be challenged. But I think I’m starting to get the hang of it. And maybe that’s part of wisdom too – accepting that I don’t necessarily have all the answers and I don’t have to. Wisdom is acknowledging that I will make mistakes and not being angry about being human and fallible.