What is Wisdom?

What is wisdom and why is attaining wisdom so important to personal well being?

It turns out that while everyone wishes they were wise, finding a good definition of what wisdom is, is rather difficult. It’s a state of knowledge that is practical. A wise person is someone who not only can tell what is true and what isn’t, but who is able to apply that knowledge to everyday life, so that they can live more successfully. A wise person is able to navigate their relationships better and basically, not suffer as much over every day hassles that plague the rest of us mere mortals.

It turns out though, that some psychiatrists decided to study what it means to be wise and came up with the following definition based on surveys of wisdom experts.  (see: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/188170.php)

Here’s how they define wisdom:
It is uniquely human.
It is a form of advanced cognitive and emotional development that is experience-driven.
It is a personal quality, albeit rare.
It can be learned, increases with age and can be measured.
It is probably not enhanced by taking medication.

It’s the second bit that resonates the most with me. Wisdom is an advanced cognitive and emotional development that is experience driven. Immature thinkers are not wise. That’s good to know.

For me, part of the goal of practicing Humanist skills like Freethought and critical thinking and learning to harness my emotions rather than being ruled by them is because, like everyone, I recognize that being wise is a state I would like to attain.

Why? Because according to the Free Dictionary by Farlex – definition #4 of wisdom is “A wise outlook, plan or course of action.”  Having wisdom allows you to be wise and that allows you to choose effective courses of actions. The more effective and good your actions are, the better your life is, the more personal control you have in your life and that translates directly into an improved state of personal wellbeing.

I’m told I’m wise and that I have a lot of wisdom. That I exist in near constant state of stupid happy contented bliss despite the vicissitudes of life is probably an indication that these assessments of my knowledge as “wise” are well founded. How did I achieve this state of advanced cognitive and emotional development? Through practice.

Learn how to think better and practice being more compassionate and you will be wise too. After all, according to the psychiatrists – it’s something that can be learned. And yes, this is the same prescription for wisdom that Humanist and Humanistic thinkers have been preaching and teaching throughout the entire course of human history.  It’s amazing to me that people still look for shortcuts. There are not shortcuts. You don’t need any mystical wisdom or woo to become wise. You either learn how to think better or you don’t. You either practice being compassionate or you don’t. This is why I teach basic Humanist life skills. So others can learn the practical skills needed to become wise. If you want to learn more, get my books and check out my courses (https://humanistlearning.com)

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