The Wise Path
Labrynth
Wisdom
—Choosing Humanity

Note: The Wisdom PageExternal Link is the definitive resource for wisdom-related materials. Refer to their extensive collection of materials for in-depth study. Wisdom is a broad topic that is only introduced here.

Follow the wise path to progress toward wisdom and prepare yourself to attain and apply the skills described here.

The Nature of Wisdom

Philosopher Nicholas MaxwellExternal Link defines wisdom as “the capacity, the desire, and the active endeavor to realize what is of value in life, for oneself and others.”

Wisdom is action directed by the highest levels of cognitive, reflective, and affective skills, described in more detail below.

Cognitive Skills:

Cognitive skills describe an understanding of life and a desire to know the truth, i.e., to comprehend the significance and deeper meaning of phenomena and events, particularly with regard to intrapersonal and interpersonal matters.

This includes knowledge and acceptance of the positive and negative aspects of human nature, of the inherent limits of knowledge, and of life's unpredictability and uncertainties.

Cognitive skills include: 1) the ability and willingness to understand a situation or phenomenon thoroughly; 2) knowledge of the positive and negative aspects of human nature; 3) acknowledgment of ambiguity and uncertainty in life; and 4) the ability to make important decisions despite life's unpredictability and uncertainties.

People with excellent cognitive skills are:

  • Observant—alert, attentive, careful, and quick to notice even subtle phenomenon. Observation includes acute, accurate, and discerning use of each of the senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touch.
  • Pragmatic—practical; taking into consideration how a task can realistically be completed.
  • Intelligent—quick to comprehend, able to solve problems, using sound thought and good judgment.
  • Discerning—able to recognize even subtle differences as distinct and often important. Also able to recognize important similarities beyond apparent differences.
  • Reality-focused—striving to learn what is despite noise and clutter obscuring or distorting the evidence.
  • Truth-seeking—striving to identify the facts despite ambiguity, falsehoods, distortions, misleading data, or logical fallacies.

Reflective Skills:

Reflective skills describe perception of phenomena and events from multiple perspectives. This requires self-examination, self-awareness, and self-insight.

Reflective skills include: 1) the ability and willingness to look at phenomena and events from different perspectives; and 2) the absence of subjectivity and projections (i.e., the tendency to blame other people or circumstances for one's own situation or feelings).

People with excellent reflective skills are:

  • Intuitive—knowing without relying on conscious reasoning.
  • Introspective—examining your own inner feelings, values, or beliefs.
  • Insightful—comprehending a deeper truth or understanding.
  • Creative—originating unique thoughts, plans, outcomes, solutions, or objects.
  • Self-investigative—examining and reflecting on your own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, or goals.
  • Self-aware—knowing your own status, condition, and beliefs.
  • Accepting—welcoming someone or something that is new or unusual, tolerant; open to new experiences

Affective Skills:

Affective skills describe sympathetic and compassionate love for others.

Affective skills include: 1) the presence of positive emotions and behavior toward others; and 2) the absence of indifferent or negative emotions and behavior toward others.

People with excellent affective skills are:

  • Understanding—inclined to comprehend and appreciate another's point of view.
  • Peaceful—serene, at ease, calm, composed, content, pacific, non-violent.
  • Empathic—having a deep appreciation for another's situation or point of view.
  • Gentle—kindly, mild, docile, temperate.
  • Joyful—pleased that good things are happening.
  • Humble—modest, aware of your limitations, not arrogant.
  • Enthusiastic—involved, passionate, committed, eager, positively demonstrative.
  • Selfless—unconcerned with promoting self interests; unselfish, generous.
  • Grateful—appreciative, thankful.
  • Compassionate—kind without condition.
  • Confident—assured, certain of your abilities.
  • Lighthearted—cheerful, merry, fun loving, playful, having a good sense of humor, witty.
  • Hopeful—believing that this can all turn out for the best.
  • Caring—concerned, giving serious attention, involved.

Wise Action:

But wisdom remains invisible until action, based on the careful considerations described above, gives it impact.

People who take wise action are:

  • Committed—fully engaged; dedicated to a particular goal.
  • Self-disciplined—regulated, orderly, restrained, conscientious, or purposeful behavior
  • Patient—tolerant of delay, annoyance, tedium, or other hardship without complaint.
  • Passionate—having strong emotions and intensity toward an objective.
  • Optimistic—anticipating a good outcome despite an uncertain future event.
  • Purposeful—resolute, focused, and determined to achieve a particular goal.
  • Generous—freely giving or sharing
  • Industrious—hard working, diligent, energetic, and effective worker.
  • Diligent—persistent, attentive, conscientious, and consistent in pursuing a goal
  • Cooperative—working with others harmoniously toward a common goal
  • Dedicated—fully committed to achieving a particular goal or purpose.
  • Responsible—Acknowledging and accepting the choices you have made, the actions you have taken, and the results they have led to. Acknowledging your role in life.
  • Energetic—having a bias toward action combined with the fitness, strength, endurance, and the ability to act.

Wisdom Focus

Quotations:

  • “Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.” ~ André Gide

References:

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