Encyclopedia > Wisdom

  Article Content


In its minimalist sense, wisdom is simply the ability and inclination to make choices that stand the sense of time. To say that a choice was wise implies that the action or inaction was strategically correct when judged by some set of values. In this sense, if a decision was, in retrospect, very smart, it was wise.

Another formulation along these lines is that wisdom is "Making the best use of available knowledge."

However, in a deeper sense, wisdom connotes an enlightened perspective and/or effective support for the long-term common good.

Insights and acts that are widely considered wise tend to

arise from a broad (not narrow-minded) perspective,

serve life in some broad or deep way (not just narrow self-interest)

be grounded in but not limited by the past (experience, history, etc.) and the future (likely consequences)

be informed by multiple forms of intelligence -- reason, intuition, heart, spirit, etc..

Because of its expanded perspective, wisdom is also often associated with humility, compassion[?], composure[?], humor, and a tolerance for dissonance, paradox, nuance[?], ambiguity, uncertainty, etc.

In its most universal and useful forms, wisdom tends to sense, work with and align people to the intrinsic wholeness and interconnectedness[?] of life.

As with all decisions, a wise decision is made from incomplete information. But in a wise decision the chooser possesses a sense of the way that situations usually turn out and, in its deeper forms, a desire for the outcome to be broadly beneficial.

Classically, wisdom is considered to come with age. In some religions, wisdom is considered a gift granted by God.

A wise person is often called a "sage."

See also

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article