Waiting for Wisdom

Posted by jlubans on September 28, 2020

Caption: Wise as Minerva, polyglot sardines.

I know a few wise people. Maybe two or three and one dog. No cats.
That small number doesn’t mean there are no other people (or dogs) who do smart things, who lead good lives. It’s just that the truly wise for me are few in number. The wise are not omniscient. Even they make mistakes, and my canine paragon chews on a dead gopher now and then.
Still, I aspire to be like those few but fall short much of the time and I am running out of time!
If that Jovian wisdom-imbuing bolt-out-of-the-blue is ever to strike it had better hurry up.
I find myself all too often in a decision-making rut, over reacting or under reacting.
The most I can hope for at this late stage is that the ratio of wise decisions vs. foolish ones is on the rise, however slight.
OK. What is wisdom?
What are wisdomly traits?
I’d include patience, kindness, humor, humility, and openness to other views.
The wise learn from errors but they don’t perseverate over failure; they move on and do a better job.
The wise are able to back away from a pet idea or answer. They don’t just ride a hunch, but knowingly believe there’s one way better than another.
But, the wise avoid clinging to that “one way” when there may be other ways to get to the same destination.
When I think of the truly wise, I believe they have an inner compass set to true north.
Yeah, I know “true north” sounds de rigueur but has little meaning for many of us.
More aptly, they seem to have an internal gyro compass that keeps them steady and out of dead-ends.
So, let’s say they are able to balance opposing views and make decisions based on an inner conviction of what’s important and what’s not.
The wise weigh consequences of decisions. While it may make fiscal sense to move a business to a place with low labor costs, the wise consider the multiple ramifications of such a move, not just profit. Perhaps there are other solutions besides joining a stampede to low cost places.
The wise are able to articulate of what they speak; that’s the inner conviction which keeps them cool under fire. It takes study and understanding.
Wisdom is more than luck, more than a flip of the coin that lands right.
Finally, the wise I know have a closeness to Nature, an awareness of forests and open fields, of sunrises and sunsets, and rain and wind and of other creatures besides man. Somehow, this link to Nature helps the wise person make techno/urban decisions.
In my wisdomly efforts, I’ve found time helpful. Not too much time but enough to cool off if agitated or un-nerved.
Then, I am best able to consider options.
Best of all, with enough time I can look for the real problem. Often, what I think is a problem is actually one superficial manifestation of the underlying problem.
I’d say we should avoid what is termed “conventional wisdom”. It isn’t either one.
I’ve come to believe that “putting one over” is not wisdom.
The Yankee horse trader who sells someone a lame horse may be canny and shrewd but it does not make him any less of a crook.
I try, whenever I think of it, to encourage wisdom with a conscious neutrality, asking for alternative views, and avoiding self-delusion.
The latter, especially is not easy to do.
I’ve often been one to go with my first idea. While occasionally the intuitive idea is good, it may well be skewed. When I slow down and rethink that impulse - burning to be put into action - I begin to see other approaches, other viewpoints. It’s akin to a written first draft, a second and third draft tends to get better.
All that said, waiting for wisdom may be like Beckett’s Waiting for Godot; Vladimir and Estragon loiter on.

Copyright all text John Lubans 2020

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