What creates wisdom?

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Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:04 am
Wisdom is quite different from knowledge. Wisdom is defined as "the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise." You could know all the useless facts in the world, but if you don't know how to manipulate those facts into something that's beneficial to the situations you are thrust into in life, then you are most definitely lacking wisdom. My question is this:
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  • If knowledge is attainable through study and academia, then how is wisdom attained? If it is attained through exact experience, then would two people who go through the exact same experiences be able to formulate the same answer to their problems? Perhaps wisdom is something that is simply incomprehensible to some? Perhaps some people lack the correct neuron structure to be able to link different thoughts in a productive manner. If this last hypothesis is so, what is different about the brain of those who are seemingly wise, and is it something that can be isolated and eventually artificially induced/genetically replicated. In short, is it possible to genetically alter a person's physical brain structure to give them a greater capacity for wisdom?

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jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:46 am
@Karpowich,
I liked how you started this post, and disliked how it ended. I agree that wisdom is different to knowledge. The whole top paragraph is pretty accurate in that regard. But the idea of manipulating the brain so as to produce wisdom is like a grotesque parody of wisdom. It is the kind of thing materialists believe, which is why they are so lacking in the very quality which they seek to analyse.

Why would this be? There are so many ways. First, another name for wisdom is 'sapience'. This is actually part of our species description - 'wise man'. Wisdom is the product of the whole human being - body, mind and soul, so to speak. So the idea of manipulating the brain to simulate this rare and elusive quality is like breaking into the projection room and trying to change the movie you are watching by manipulating the camera and the film.

Here's one last thought. I read about a genetic experiment recently whereby the eye gene was removed from fruit fly DNA, and the eye gene of a mouse was spliced into place (1). The fruit fly grew eyes OK, making do with this genetic material. The funny thing is, insect eyes and mammal eyes are a completely different design - mammals are like ours, insects are compound eye. Neverthless the eye turned out in the right insect format.

There are many examples like this turning up from genetic research. It is not as if there is 'a gene' for this and 'a gene' for that. Not even eyes. Let alone elusive qualities like wisdom.

So sit back and watch the film. That is how you get wise.

---------------------

(1) Nancy M. Bonini, Quang T. Bui, Gladys L. Gray-Board and John M. Warrick, "The Drosophila eyes absent gene directs ectopic eye formation in a pathway conserved between flies and vertebrates," Development (1997) 124, 4819-4826. Quoted in A Fabulous Evolutionary Defense of Dualism :: Clay Farris Naff :: Global Spiral
 
Karpowich
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 08:46 am
@Karpowich,
I appreciate the feedback Smile I'm still quite ignorant to many philosophical ideas, and the ones you've presented to me have answered what questions I currently had when posting this topic, so for that I thank you!
 
sneer
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 09:25 am
@Karpowich,
My understanding of wisdom is quite different you've provided. I've just posted to my blog entryabout this. For me, "wisdom" is rather way of living, where experience meets intelligence and knowledge.
 
Fido
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 03:45 pm
@Karpowich,
Knowledge and understanding are wisdom...
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 04:02 pm
@Fido,
What creates wisdom?
That which is unanswered, that which is asking, that which is looking, that which is opening.
Wisdom is knowing understanding, that which creates it is the unknowing un-understanding.
There would not be wisdom if there were not that without it.
Something can not be filled if it weren't empty in the first place.
So wisdom is the filling of emptiness, we create both our wisdom and our emptiness, one by doing and one by undoing, or just left undone.
Is wisdom created by something else in order to be used by others?
Is wisdom not personal but public?
Is it the teacher of wisdom who creates it or the student who learns it?
 
Amperage
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 04:22 pm
@Karpowich,
1st I just want to say I live in Pcola too so that's cool....

2nd, in terms of your question here is a possible way to think about it that I just thought of.

knowledge is like being at one end of a maze with results being at the end....wisdom is cultivated by trying to traverse the maze. As we get wiser we get more efficient at traversing different mazes. In this way wisdom cannot be cultivated without experience. One must attempt to traverse the maze to attain wisdom. Eventually patterns will emerge that will help us with future mazes we have never traversed before.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:17 pm
@Karpowich,
You can teach rats to traverse a maze. I guess that makes them wise from a rat perspective. But they are not wise in terms of sapience.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:28 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;122878 wrote:
You can teach rats to traverse a maze. I guess that makes them wise from a rat perspective. But they are not wise in terms of sapience.
wisdom cannot be seen unless it is given a problem with which to exhibit itself. Obviously the maze is a metaphor. The efficiency in which one traverses the maze is the essence of wisdom. So a "wise" rat would be the rat who can most efficiently traverse his maze. He takes what he knows(knowledge of previous mazes), and applies to it to get to what he wants(cheese). The quicker, the more efficient, the more wise
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:43 pm
@Karpowich,
Well I disagree then. I don't think that is 'wisdom' except for in a colloquial sense. Wisdom really refers to a quality of perception and judgement which is distinctively human. Hence 'Homo Sapiens'. If it needs a problem to navigate, it is the 'the problems of existence' in a larger spiritual sense.

Wisdom in the sense of sapience is not well understood in today's world. There is a school of thought called 'the Perennial Philosophy' which seeks common ground between the worlds religious, spiritual and philosophical schools and says that there is a kind of wisdom which is celebrated and understood by the different traditions, each in their own way. This has been called, by scholar Seyyed Hossein Nasr, 'The Sapiential Tradition'.

Generally modern society will reject this type of definition because it has religious or metaphysical connotations which are not politically correct in today's scientifically-oriented society. But if the time is taken to read anything of the 'perennial schools', they contain much wisdom.
 
Amperage
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:59 pm
@Karpowich,
well wisdom comes in many forms but typically boils down to the application of knowledge towards an end in either an efficient, unique, aesthetically pleasing, or spiritually enriched way. However, it would seem true that wisdom does walk hand in hand with experience.

I think I see what you're saying and I think perhaps I meant what I said in a similar way I just used a much too specific an analogy for something that is much more generalized and broad
 
Karpowich
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 02:49 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;122896 wrote:
Wisdom really refers to a quality of perception and judgement which is distinctively human. Hence 'Homo Sapiens'.


What about humans then gives us the ability to have that quality of perception and judgement? Perception and judgement are both mental abilities, so one can assume that it is based on the capacity of one's brain. If this is true, then is it not also true that some people have a capacity for wisdom greater than others?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 27 Jan, 2010 03:35 am
@Karpowich,
I don't really like the idea of 'the brain' as a kind of thought-processing unit. The brain, after all, is never really situated anywhere other than in a live body. And a body is never really situated other than in an environment. Obviously the brain with its neural networks and particularly the unique frontal lobes of H Sapiens are fundamental to our cognition, judgment, and so on and certainly a major factor in our capacity for wisdom. But I prefer a holistic view which comprehends the 'whole human being' rather than the materialist idea that consciousness is just brain functionality.

For that reason I rather like the old-fashioned idea of 'heart' - it signifies an involvement deeper than the purely mental. We know what it means to do something 'with all your heart'. It has a real meaning.

As for whether some are wiser than others, to say so is probably a minority view in a democratic age, but I believe it is true.

As`regards 'why H Sapiens?', the Metanexus article I linked to above has an intriguing theory of the evolution of the ability for abstract thought. It is worth a read.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 01:06 pm
@Karpowich,
Q:What creates wisdom? A:The lack thereof.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Mon 1 Feb, 2010 05:13 pm
@Karpowich,
Q;What creates wisdom
A; Understanding.
 
melonkali
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 08:41 pm
@Karpowich,
I'm not certain exactly what the term "wisdom" means, but I am convinced there are aspects of life which cannot be learned through second hand knowledge, or vicariously.

In some Hindu teachings, a man cannot enter the "wise sage" (paraphrasing) stage of his life until he has completed his worldly stage, worked for a living and raised a family. In the field of modern psychological counseling, although not all agree, there is a common professional belief that you cannot effectively counsel a person significantly older than yourself.

So I would ask this question: regardless of your age, can you think of "things" you've learned from experience that cannot "effectively" be taught to others, that others will not learn vicariously from your example? (I emphasize "effectively" because, like most parents, I tried to teach my children lessons that, I finally realized, only "life" could teach them.)

rebecca
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 2 Feb, 2010 09:11 pm
@Karpowich,
I agree with you. I think wisdom is a definite quality which is not much respected in this day and age. Celebrity and wealth are ranked far ahead by most people. I like the Hindu view of it, and traditional views generally. But you will find scant sympathy with the idea in the modern world, I would say.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 02:25 pm
@jeeprs,
http://i46.tinypic.com/2hnt0yf.jpg

How about this...
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 02:45 pm
@Karpowich,
yes that's pretty good.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 07:10 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;122972 wrote:
I don't really like the idea of 'the brain' as a kind of thought-processing unit. The brain, after all, is never really situated anywhere other than in a live body. And a body is never really situated other than in an environment. Obviously the brain with its neural networks and particularly the unique frontal lobes of H Sapiens are fundamental to our cognition, judgment, and so on and certainly a major factor in our capacity for wisdom. But I prefer a holistic view which comprehends the 'whole human being' rather than the materialist idea that consciousness is just brain functionality.

For that reason I rather like the old-fashioned idea of 'heart' - it signifies an involvement deeper than the purely mental. We know what it means to do something 'with all your heart'. It has a real meaning.


I like that. Holism seems wiser in this case. The truth is the whole. How quick the West is to vivisect, reduce, simply. Does the Occident like Occam's razor a little to close to its own throat?
 
 

 
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