What is wisdom?

I would like to invite you who are reading this to an open discussion on the concept of wisdom. What is wisdom? This is a word that is used quite often; but how many people know exactly what it means? Very many people use wisdom, intelligence and knowledge interchangeably as if the three meant the same thing. Do they? I think they don’t. I would like us to put our heads together and come out with clear differences between knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom. Hopefully this should help us understand what wisdom really is. After this, and during another session, we will look at how wisdom is acquired; how one become a wise person; how having wisdom helps us become the person our creator means us to be. I really hope and pray that you fully join this open and very important discussion.

Let me start.
Intelligence is the power or mental ability to learn, understand, and assimilate what has been learned; and be able to give it back or pass it to another when the need arises. If you can learn things with ease, understand what you are taught with ease, retain it, and give it back or give it out when need arises, you will be said to be a very intelligent or brilliant person.

Someone who has the ability to reason, analyze, and evaluate situations and come out with sound conclusions or decisions is also an intelligent person.

Knowledge is what you learn or get when you learn. The facts of a subject, the information that you gather when you learn; skills that you acquire on a given field constitute knowledge. Everything that you acquire through learning or research is knowledge. An intelligent researcher will come out with sound knowledge or facts or discoveries on the subject of the research. These discoveries or knowledge will add to the volume of existing knowledge in the world. Thus, through research and thinking, new knowledge is generated every day and added to the volume of existing knowledge. Humans can only know a minute fraction of the existing knowledge in the world.
Wisdom is not simply knowledge or intelligence. Wisdom goes beyond knowledge and intelligence. It is a combination of the two plus something else – a certain innate ability that goes beyond intelligence and which enables you to use knowledge in a very intelligent, pragmatic or philosophical way.
While intelligence is more associated with learning in a classroom situation, hearing, understanding, reasoning, having a sound mind with sound ideas, wisdom has to do more with finding solutions to life issues; having the ability to see what others are unable to see; having vision, or foresight which enables you to see far ahead; having intuitive powers whose source you cannot explain but which help you find solutions to the problems that present themselves to you.
The great founders of the various religions of the world were wise people, from Jesus Christ, Mohamed, and others. King Solomon was a wise leader who displayed his wisdom in many ways like solving the dispute between the two women on the dead and the living child and the composition of “three thousand proverbs and more than a thousand songs.” Of course, history lists more wise people like Socrates, Plato, Gandhi, Confucius and you name the rest.

What I cannot say is whether every continent has its wise historical figures. Maybe this discussion will enlighten us on that.

Thank you very much for your very kind attention. The floor is open.

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10 thoughts on “What is wisdom?

  1. I agree with your descriptions of intelligence. One thought to add would be that there are different kinds of intelligence, but they all come down to the capacity to take in information and learn.
    Wisdom is a different kind of knowing. It is learned through living; as you said, it is intuitive. Wisdom knows when to act and when to stay silent. Wisdom can take facts, information, situations and perceptions, then spin them in a way that often can’t be explained. It does seem that wisdom is acquired as we mature. Once in a while, a young person will come along who has at least a measure of this gift, but that is rare. There is a discipline to true wisdom: It is not self serving or impatient.
    I could probably write more, but this is a good start.

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  2. I have to agree. Wisdom, intelligence, and knowledge those are three completely different entities. Wisdom comes from experience. “We live and learn” Rareity. Knowledge is simple understanding of life, or concepts, and intelligence is intellectual. If that makes sense. It’s quite the concept to ponder. Thanks for posting

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  3. i think knowledge is of two types
    1st which is gained from books, be it academic or not
    2nd type of knowledge is not bookish.. it comes from the curiosity to know….about the universe or life or anything….people who seek the 2nd type of knowledge are intelligent(thats why they are curious in the first place) They can talk or discuss about any subject, be it science, politics, economy or psychology and since they seek knowledge from\of the world they also gain wisdom in the process. this is living

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  4. Pingback: Knowledge, Experience, and Reasoning = Wisdom | My Everyday Psychology

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