The Wise Path/Wisdom
Wisdom is a broad topic that is only introduced here. Please refer to the Applied Wisdom curriculum and the Wisdom Page for wisdom-related materials. Refer to their extensive collection of materials for in-depth study.
Follow the wise path to progress toward wisdom and prepare yourself to attain and apply the skills described here.
The Nature of Wisdom[edit | edit source]
Philosopher Nicholas Maxwell defines wisdom as “the capacity, the desire, and the active endeavor to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others.”
Cognitive Skills:[edit | edit source]
Cognitive skills describe an understanding of life and a desire to know the truth, i.e., to comprehend the significance and deeper meaning of phenomena and events, particularly with regard to intrapersonal and interpersonal matters.
Cognitive skills include: 1) the ability and willingness to understand a situation or phenomenon thoroughly; 2) knowledge of the positive and negative aspects of human nature; 3) acknowledgment of ambiguity and uncertainty in life; and 4) the ability to make important decisions despite life's unpredictability and uncertainties.
People with excellent cognitive skills are:
- Observant—alert, attentive, careful, and quick to notice even subtle phenomenon. Observation includes acute, accurate, and discerning use of each of the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touch.
- Pragmatic—practical; taking into consideration how a task can realistically be completed.
- Intelligent—quick to comprehend, able to solve problems, using sound thought and good judgment.
- Discerning—able to recognize even subtle differences as distinct and often important. Also able to recognize important similarities beyond apparent differences.
- Reality-focused—striving to learn what is despite noise and clutter obscuring or distorting the evidence.
- Truth-seeking—striving to identify the facts despite ambiguity, falsehoods, distortions, misleading data, or logical fallacies.
Reflective Skills:[edit | edit source]
Reflective skills describe perception of phenomena and events from multiple perspectives. This requires self-examination, self-awareness, and self-insight.
Reflective skills include: 1) the ability and willingness to look at phenomena and events from different perspectives; and 2) the absence of subjectivity and projections (i.e., the tendency to blame other people or circumstances for one's own situation or feelings).
People with excellent reflective skills are:
- Intuitive—knowing without relying on conscious reasoning.
- Introspective—examining your own inner feelings, values, or beliefs.
- Insightful—comprehending a deeper truth or understanding.
- Creative—originating unique thoughts, plans, outcomes, solutions, or objects.
- Self-investigative—examining and reflecting on your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, or goals.
- Self-aware—knowing your own status, condition, and beliefs.
- Accepting—welcoming someone or something that is new or unusual, tolerant; open to new experiences
Affective Skills:[edit | edit source]
Affective skills describe sympathetic and compassionate love for others.
Affective skills include: 1) the presence of positive emotions and behavior toward others; and 2) the absence of indifferent or negative emotions and behavior toward others.
People with excellent affective skills are:
- Understanding—inclined to comprehend and appreciate another's point of view.
- Peaceful—serene, at ease, calm, composed, content, pacific, non-violent.
- Empathic—having a deep appreciation for another's situation or point of view.
- Gentle—kindly, mild, docile, temperate.
- Joyful—pleased that good things are happening.
- Humble—modest, aware of your limitations, not arrogant.
- Enthusiastic—involved, passionate, committed, eager, positively demonstrative.
- Selfless—unconcerned with promoting self interests; unselfish, generous.
- Grateful—appreciative, thankful.
- Compassionate—kind without condition.
- Confident—assured, certain of your abilities.
- Lighthearted—cheerful, merry, fun loving, playful, having a good sense of humor, witty.
- Hopeful—believing that this can all turn out for the best.
- Caring—concerned, giving serious attention, involved.
Wise Action:[edit | edit source]
But wisdom remains invisible until action, based on the careful considerations described above, gives it impact.
People who take wise action are:
- Committed—fully engaged; dedicated to a particular goal.
- Self-disciplined—regulated, orderly, restrained, conscientious, or purposeful behavior
- Patient—tolerant of delay, annoyance, tedium, or other hardship without complaint.
- Passionate—having strong emotions and intensity toward an objective.
- Optimistic—anticipating a good outcome despite an uncertain future event.
- Purposeful—resolute, focused, and determined to achieve a particular goal.
- Generous—freely giving or sharing
- Industrious—hard working, diligent, energetic, and effective worker.
- Diligent—persistent, attentive, conscientious, and consistent in pursuing a goal
- Cooperative—working with others harmoniously toward a common goal
- Dedicated—fully committed to achieving a particular goal or purpose.
- Responsible—Acknowledging and accepting the choices you have made, the actions you have taken, and the results they have led to. Acknowledging your role in life.
- Energetic—having a bias toward action combined with the fitness, strength, endurance, and the ability to act.
Quotations:[edit | edit source]
- “Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.” ~ André Gide
References:[edit | edit source]
- “Wisdom as Expert Knowledge System: A Critical review of a Contemporary Operationalization of an Ancient Concept.” by Monika Ardelt, published in the journal Human Development as summarized by Copthorne Macdonald for the Wisdom Page.
- A list of forty-eight positive human characteristics that have been associated with wisdom.
- The Global Oneness Project produces films, media and educational materials that explore how the simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in today's complex world.