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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Wisdom:

1:
a : accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge
b : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
c : good sense : judgment
d : generally accepted belief <challenges what has become accepted wisdom among many historians — Robert Darnton>

2: a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
3: the teachings of the ancient wise men

From Our Own Druidry (82):

Wisdom: Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about, and decide on the correct response

I directly disagree with the first definition of Wisdom from the dictionary, at least as it functions as a virtue. Perhaps it is presumptuous of me, but I see wisdom as distinct from knowledge – though knowledge is certainly necessary to make wise choices, it’s not knowledge itself. The two have very different functions. Knowledge functions to inform, where wisdom functions to discern; knowledge is knowing what to say, and wisdom is knowing how to say it, and whether or not to say it at all.

Perhaps this comes from my experience with roleplaying games, where Wisdom and Intelligence are counted as two separate abilities, and you can be very strong in one without necessarily being strong in the other. I agree with that division, and believe that the ability to understand the truth of a situation can be enhanced by knowledge about it (or knowledge about similar situations), but that ultimately the virtue of wisdom lies in perceiving the immediate truth. As a result, I rather like the definition from Our Own Druidry – particularly the bit about perceiving people and situations correctly. It takes a great deal of wisdom to see the truth in a situation, and to discern what is real and what is not. Many times wisdom is seen in the final outcome of a situation – it looks farther ahead than the immediate part or challenge and strives to see the whole in its entirety.

Practicing wisdom is something I see as crucial to any religious undertaking, especially one as complex as Our Druidry. When working with complex systems and a variety of myths and Gods, it’s important to step back and remember the whole. Also, as a Druid, I seek to embody wisdom in my relationships with others, helping them make wise choices whenever I can (though it is often easier to be wise about someone else’s problems than your own). Applying a discerning, wise eye to my own life is more difficult, and why I strongly agree with practicing wisdom as part of my Druidry.

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