In a way, this whole site is a search for wisdom.
It isn’t that expressions of wisdom are difficult to find. Actually, expressions of truly good and wise advice are everywhere! They surround us. They’re in self-help books, in advice our mentors and friends give us, they’re expressed in art—everywhere! And we can even find wisdom for ourselves—by simply paying careful attention to life, and observing the consequences of various types of behavior, and thinking things through.
Not that there aren’t an awful lot of expressions of foolishness, as well, out there. There are. Obviously. But that’s the point! We all see that. It isn’t that expressions of wisdom are hard to find. The hard bit is actually paying attention to it. And even harder yet, actually acting on it—actually doing what wisdom tells us we should do.
The problem is that wisdom
often tells us we should do things we don’t
want to do. And it often tells us not
to do things we do want to do. I
would very much prefer to do the foolish thing right now. So it’s
actually behaving in a wise manner is
[That wisdom is everywhere, but we have a hard time truly heeding it, was very effectively expressed in the biblical book of Proverbs:
Out in the open Wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?” (1:20-22, NIV)
The book also contains, naturally, a great deal of wise insights—simple observations about how life works—what sorts of behaviors work well and what sorts of behaviors do not.)
But by far the most difficult bit is, of course, to actually be, or become, wise—to imbibe so deeply in wise insights and behavior that they become our natural inclination. That’s the really had bit. Because wisdom often goes against our first natural impulses.
Wisdom comes in degrees, of course. Different people exhibit different degrees of wisdom. But how many people would you say are truly wise? Even many people who express items of true wisdom I would often be very reluctant to call truly wise themselves as persons. (Interestingly, people who think themselves wise almost certainly, thereby, demonstrate the opposite.)
I want very badly to possess wisdom, and actually be wise. It is far more precious than gold. (Prov. 3:14; 8:19)