Weekly Word 12 May 2015

Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015); editing by Allister Roy S. Chua (2015)
Illustration by Kevin Christopher M. Tee (2015); editing by Allister Roy S. Chua (2015)

Once again, kudos to our volunteer illustrator, Kevin Christopher M. Tee, for doing his word arts all the way from Shenzhen, China!

| ˈwɪzdəm |

Last week, I talked about the need to be truly enlightened given the many opportunities and challenges we face today. Today, I reflect on the substance of said enlightenment. True wisdom.

Wisdom throughout the ages has always carried the connotation (and denotation) of being well-versed in the ways of life, the standard archetype being an old man who acts as an adviser or mentor to younger individuals or leaders. The Christian Bible itself is stocked with images and concepts of wisdom – Solomon’s one request from God for wisdom, Wisdom as a woman to be embraced in Proverbs, the Wisdom of Solomon, and so on. Wisdom is certainly a point to be striven for if we wish to live well – but it’s what wisdom to learn that I’m more concerned about.

In an age where information and communication are everywhere, we run the risk of being overwhelmed by everything that passes in front of us (overload), or of being tempted or wrongly influenced by the wrong ones. Wisdom today is applying the proper filters to said information – filtering out the bad. However, we need to learn to filter even the good, for even an influx of it can be an overload for us. That is the truth of living simply and smartly – to recognize that not everything good is for each of us. What is relevant (and thus passes through the filters, so to speak) for you may not be for me, even though they are both good, because of our individualities, the unique sets of gifts, skills, and talents given us. Wisdom is knowing how to control said filters to optimize our beings.

Wisdom is also knowing the fundamental principles of living a good life well – universal human truths and values that apply to all of us, just in different ways. This site is also a journey towards said wisdom, drawing on many wisdoms I’ve met along the way: for instance, my alma maters’ being a Christian light for others; Gawad Kalinga’s appreciation for the gifts we have been given and on human dignity; Frontline’s leadership values; and BCYF’s advocacy of CSR 3.0-based social enterprise. All are good, and all reflect some universal human value in their own ways. Wisdom is knowing and then acting on those, recognizing that we do so for a higher purpose.

As I said, wisdom is a journey; it isn’t something acquired overnight. Wisdom must be studied, tested, and refined. It is eternally open to learning, open but not always subject to it. Though wisdom is open, it should also be rooted. Rooted, but pruned whenever needed.

This is especially true from the individual perspective. We each have our own individual wisdoms to learn, to internalize, to live out, and to share. We draw these and on these from our life experiences and circumstances, as well as the gifts and skills given to us. I call it Personal Wisdom, no two of which are the same. And it is our duty to nurture and grow this Personal Wisdom as we would a plant, that we can use it to serve well.

Definition

noun (mass noun)

  • the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; or of being wise
    • the fact of being based on sensible or wise thinking
    • the body of knowledge and experience that develops within a specified society or period

Etymology

Old English wīsdōm: wīs (of Germanic origin, related to Dutch wijs and German weise) + -dom.

In other languages

  • Bahasa Indonesia: kebijaksanaan
  • بهاس ملايو:
    • كبيجقسنأن (kebijaksanaan)
  • Cebuano: kaalam
  • Deutsch: die Weisheit; die Klugheit
  • Español: la sabiduría; el saber
  • Filipino: karunungan
  • Français: la sagesse; la prudence
  • 한국어: 지혜 (jihye); 예지 (yeji)
  • Italiano: la saggezza; la sapienza
  • ភាសាខ្មែរ: មានប្រាជ្ញា (mean brachnha)
  • Latino: sapientiaprudentiasophia
  • မြန်မာဘာသာ: ပညာကို (panyar ko)
  • 日本語: 知恵 (ちえ); 叡智 (えいち)
  • ພາສາລາວ: ປັນຍາ (pnaia)
  • ภาษาไทย: เมธา (meṭhā)
  • தமிழ்: ஞானம் (Ñāṉam)
  • Tiếng Việt: trí tuệ
  • 中文: 智慧 (zhīhuì)
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