• Jack Cummins
    2.9k
    I am asking this question because I am aware of so many conflicting philosophies and questions arising from them. I admit that I am feeling a bit irritated by so many debates in philosophy, arising from theories of so many different, but competing kinds. But, I do believe that some believe that they have the truth, and others are ignorant. I don't believe that it is that it is that simple at all, but please forgive my question if it appears to be completely ridiculous.

    However, I think that the whole basis of evaluation of knowledge and its application to life, is complex but far from straightforward. My own understanding of the problem is based on pursuit of philosophy as sophia, as being the idea of the wisdom. What is wisdom is a complex area, and the means of achieving it even more complicated, which is why I am asking for how we can possibly measure it. I am certainly aware of my own limitations, even though I see wisdom as an ideal to be achieved, or realised.

    Edit: As it became apparent that it is so hard to pinpoint wisdom, I decided to expand the topic to include foolishness, because there is probably more to discuss.

  • skyblack
    164
    How do we measure 'wisdom'?

    I am asking this question because I am aware of so many conflicting philosophies and questions arising from them. I admit that I am feeling a bit irritated by so many debates in philosophy, arising from theories of so many different, but competing kinds. But, I do believe that some believe that they have the truth, and others are ignorant. I don't believe that it is that it is that simple at all, but please forgive my question if it appears to be completely ridiculous. However, I think that the whole basis of evaluation of knowledge and its application to life, is complex but far from straightforward.Jack Cummins

    Good question. Is it really that difficult? One's own life/living is the best measurement. One's thoughts-feelings, words, and actions are the most reliable feedback. So is conduct. All of these are real time indicators. All these measurements are strongly based on solid realty, not theories. The degree of translation into actual living is the measurement.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I only wish that it was as simple as that, because my own experience is of being told that I am wrong, independently of what I think. It often leads me to think that I am best to keep all my ideas to myself. However, while I am aware of the subjectivity of the quest, I do believe that so many other people are too. I think that the ideas of wisdom may be vague at times, so I am not sure of my thread question in some ways, but , at the same time, believe that many are in the pursuit of wisdom, or as the Greeks named it, Sophia. I am raising it, for anyone who believes that it worth discussing.
  • jgill
    1.3k
    One aspect of wisdom, particularly in the elderly, is to have learned from one's mistakes. Another is to know one's limitations. The latter expressed by the philosopher Layton Kor fifty years ago. :chin:
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    Thanks, I definitely believe that we can learn from mistakes, even if we are not considered as elderly. My own view is that the experiences of making mistakes allows for humility, and ways of seeking better alternatives in many ways.
  • skyblack
    164
    only wish that it was as simple as that, because my own experience is of being told that I am wrong, independently of what I think. It often leads me to think that I am best to keep all my ideas to myself. However, while I am aware of the subjectivity of the quest, I do believe that so many other people are too. I think that the ideas of wisdom may be vague at times, so I am not sure of my thread question in some ways, but , at the same time, believe that many are in the pursuit of wisdom, so I am raising it, for anyone who believes that it is worth discussing.Jack Cummins

    Your question was how do we measure wisdom. It was said, one can measure by looking at the feedback within oneself. The feedback of one's thoughts-feelings, words, and actions. To measure by one's conduct. All of which are real time feedback based on our reality, therefore not theoretical. To see if one is walking the talk.

    Unless your question was how to measure the wisdom of others...
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I think that your response is interesting because the question of feedback raises the question of how is wisdom constructed socially. I believe that is part of the issue, but so believe that wisdom is likely to go beyond social definitions. This may be part of the problem, being confronted with social and cultural definitions, while the experience may transcend these. It may be an issue of seeing beyond the ideas of convention, and trying to find a basis of knowledge, which is not simply about seeing experience in the ways we are accustomed to, and looking for deeper meaning.
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k


    I think the original meaning of "wise" - at least in a Greek context - was to be knowledgeable and skillful in practical matters. It later acquired the meaning of being wise like the Gods or God. Hence the term "philosopher" came to mean one who loved or desired wisdom and aimed to become wise like God as far as humanly possible.

    Becoming wise probably starts with the realization of the limitations of your own knowledge, after which the more knowledge, especially of the practical kind, you acquire, the "wiser" you become.
  • skyblack
    164
    I think that your response is interesting because the question of feedback raises the question of how is wisdom constructed socially. I believe that is part of the issue, but so believe that wisdom is likely to go beyond social definitions. This may be part of the problem, being confronted with social and cultural definitions, while the experience may transcend these. It may be an issue of seeing beyond the ideas of convention, and trying to find a basis of knowledge, which is not simply about seeing experience in the ways we are accustomed to, and looking for deeper meaning.Jack Cummins

    Carry on.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    That is interesting, and I probably began this discussion because I was thinking that in the current climate of our times, some people regard themselves as being more advanced in 'expert' knowledge rather than others.I believe that being aware of limitations is so much better than arrogance of thinking how we know so much.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I believe that wisdom is related to experiential knowledge, and goes beyond theory. I am not sure if my thread question will be considered worthy of philosophical debate, but my phone battery is likely to run out at any moment. But, if my thread question lasts at all, I will continue the discussion.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.4k
    "Wisdom" and "wise" may be the sort of word that seems to be meaningful but is very difficult to qualify or quantify, and is, in general, non-inferential. Expertise, knowledge, and experience are much more measurable. Wisdom not so much.

    Learning from one's mistakes, knowing one's limitations, understanding motivation, knowing what one doesn't know (and having an inkling as to what one won't know in the future), wide-ranging "common sense" all takes time to accumulate, and some people accumulate it a lot faster than others. As a consequence, there are "wise" 35 year olds and 70 year old idiots.

    Wisdom is a word I almost never use. It's just too vague, subjective.
  • Pantagruel
    1.7k
    I don't think wisdom is captured so much by what you say as by what you do, per Apollodorus' reply.
  • unenlightened
    5.7k
    How Do We Measure 'Wisdom'?

    We? Is this the objectification you are embarking on? The wisdom of the crowd?
    The average of all gurus?

    Measure wisdom by the questions it asks.
  • skyblack
    164
    How Do We Measure 'Wisdom'?

    We? Is this the objectification you are embarking on? The wisdom of the crowd?
    The average of all gurus?
    unenlightened

    :smile:

    Unless your question was how to measure the wisdom of others...skyblack

    ...it it was, the first post/suggestion will still hold true.
  • Tom Storm
    1.3k


    It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf. Walter Lippmann

    I suspect that experience is often mistaken for wisdom.
  • James Riley
    1.1k
    Measure wisdom by the questions it asks.unenlightened

    Bingo. I was going to say wisdom is measured by the probative nature of questions asked. I was going to add something about silence, and brevity, too. But I think those come close upon the heels of a probative question.

    Answers are a chimera.
  • skyblack
    164
    It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf. Walter Lippmann

    I suspect that experience is often mistaken for wisdom.
    Tom Storm

    Right. Experience isn't wisdom.

    Nice quote, and true. The same sentiment has been echoed by many,
  • Jack CumminsAccepted Answer
    2.9k
    I am glad that there is some discussion in the thread. I have just got home from being out and about in Wimbledon (meaning that I am a bit of a Womble), but do plan to converse further on the topic. I began the thread on the basis of feeling misunderstood generally. However, I do see my question as being relevant to everyone, so I am happy for discussion to continue, and although I am about to go to bed, I plan to pick it up tomorrow. Part of my question is related to the way in which some people may try to look for exclusive views on wisdom. I would question this, but, really, I am trying to raise a general discussion on the searching for wisdom.
  • Possibility
    2.2k
    Measure wisdom by the questions it asks.unenlightened

    Bingo. I was going to say wisdom is measured by the probative nature of questions asked. I was going to add something about silence, and brevity, too. But I think those come close upon the heels of a probative question.James Riley

    This seems to me spot on. Wisdom is as much about not doing or saying, and what one does with a lack of knowledge/experience.
  • Noble Dust
    4.1k


    Brevity is seductive.
  • James Riley
    1.1k
    Brevity is seductive.Noble Dust

    It is, but I think if one spends time in serious consideration about exactly how a question should be formulated, and presented, it ends up being brief.

    I think journalists, especially, should spend more time so that when a question is asked, it is harder for a skilled politician to dodge, and even if he/she does, it is more apparent to the listener what was being asked and what was not being answered. Brevity can aid in this effort. I'd love to see the most intelligent people in an institution sitting around and strategizing this, getting beyond the "gotcha" BS and looking for enlightenment.

    But beyond that, I recall the Socratic dialogues and the questioning, often with sincere curiosity. They were often pointed and brief, and enlightening. I see a measure wisdom in that.
  • Noble Dust
    4.1k


    I agree, I'm just pointing out that brevity is a grammatical skill that can be learned; I would say it's a sign of intelligence, but not wisdom. But the wise are often brief. Brevity is seductive because it suggests wisdom, regardless of whether there is wisdom behind the brief statement.
  • Possibility
    2.2k
    I agree, I'm just pointing out that brevity is a grammatical skill that can be learned; I would say it's a sign of intelligence, but not wisdom. But the wise are often brief. Brevity is seductive because it suggests wisdom, regardless of whether there is wisdom behind the brief statement.Noble Dust

    I did pause at ‘brevity’ - I don’t think it’s a measure of wisdom in itself, but I do agree that along with ‘probative’ it’s a necessary quality of the question, as is the silence surrounding it.
  • James Riley
    1.1k
    Brevity is seductive because it suggests wisdom, regardless of whether there is wisdom behind the brief statement.Noble Dust

    Agreed, that is why I said: "I was going to add something about silence, and brevity, too. But I think those come close upon the heels of a probative question."
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Congenitally unwise, I seek what 'the wise' (whom I imagine) seek: to make fewer immiserating judgments AND master one more maladaptive habit than I (we?) had done in the previous year. My (our?) "measure of wisdom" is made in small steps annually (with age those steps match the years in getting shorter) that doesn't get any easier. Caveat: wisdom (for us fools) is only a direction, not a destination – a Sisyphusean difficulty itself which is the way.
  • Manuel
    984


    Tough question. Personally I don't think thinking about who is wise has been particularly helpful in my personal experience. I suppose there may have been a time in which I'd try to look for people who have this elusive quality. The most I ever got of talking to people who are considered wise is a certain genuine humility. That I liked.

    But much beyond that, it's just so easy to confuse wisdom with dubious and obscure ideologies that I don't like, nor do I think are good in general.

    But each persons experience is unique.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I agree that while we use the word wisdom, it is extremely difficult to quantify. I am not even sure that knowledge, experience and expertise are that easy to quantify either really.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    It is interesting that wisdom may not need 'knowledge/ experience.'


    The question of potential silence and brevity is certainly worth thinking about. It also leads me to think that it may be that this thread will be extremely brief, because it may be that wisdom is extremely difficult to pinpoint, or even talk about.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    Perhaps for 'us fools...it is a direction'
    I am sure that it is not even important to ask 'who is wise'. I believe that we would be rather shocked if any person actually claimed to be wise'.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k
    To anyone else who I haven't mentioned, I thank for your replies, and to quote anyone else would seem ridiculous. Looking through the various responses it does seem that wisdom is probably an ideal rather than something that can be easily described, or less still identified in a specific person. But, of course, if anyone else has anything worth adding, please do so...
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