Wisdom

So often, Wisdom is equated with intelligence and knowledge.  They are not the same, although one cannot truly be everything it can be without the other.  In Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse states “Wisdom is not communicable.  The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish. …Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.  One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”

Thinking about the difference between Wisdom and Knowledge brought to mind the movie Jurassic Park.  Inventive scientists discover traces of extremely old DNA in the guts of an amber-preserved mosquito.  In the zeal of that discovery, they begin to analyze the DNA and clone the results, fixing broken strands with reptilian DNA.  The result – an island populated with ancient dinosaurs; not only the ‘veggie’saurs (as one of the children called the herbivorous dinosaurs) but also the more dangerous carnivorous dinosaurs.  For these intelligent and knowledgeable scientists did not use any Wisdom when they did this; they never thought ‘should we do this’, only ‘how can we do this’.

Another example of Knowledge and Wisdom can be found in the final scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  The Templar Knight indicates that somewhere in the collection of cups and goblets behind him is the Grail.  By using his Wisdom combined with his Knowledge, Indiana was able to select the correct one.

In the Dedicant’s Handbook, Wisdom is defined as “Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.”  I like to think of it as “the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding”.