Growing up my dad always said that he prays for wisdom every day. I think he was inspired to do this by Solomon in the Bible, the son of King David (same one that killed Goliath,) and who, when asked by God for what he wanted, Solomon responded “wisdom”. Because Solman asked for the greatest gift or something like that, God actually gave it to him and my fathers always been inspired by this. In one of my political science classes we had to read some Socrates who had an interesting perspective on wisdom.
Supposedly what happened was that someone asks an Oracle who the wisest person in the world was and the Oracle responded “Socrates”. Socrates himself was unbelieving and so in order to test the Oracle’s claim he went out in an attempt to find people more wise than him and disprove the oracle’s claims. So first he went to a wise teacher who Socrates believed was more wise than he. But the notable teacher was stubborn and believed he knew everything. Socrates went to other people he believed were wiser than himself; painters and artists, and scientists, and mathematicians. But each man Socrates visited had a large ego about their work, they felt like they were at the top of their field and therefore assumed knowledge of things they did not know (for instance a mathematician might believe he has a high level of knowledge, but compared to a modern kid in calculus, the mathematician doesn’t know much, the mathematician was looking at the people around him and having that is definition of wisdom, a level he had reached.) Each man Socrates visited wasn’t looking for more knowledge because they felt accomplished and that is why they were less wise than Socrates. Socrates recognized his own ignorance and that’s what made him wise, his constant questioning, his intrigue, and his desire to want to learn more made it so Socrates was always accumulating more knowledge and never stopping. Which is what real wisdom is, not trying to be the smartest guy in the room, just be the most interested and that will being bring you the most wisdom.
My father literally is a professor who thinks he knows everything. He is an accomplished man who is grown up and experienced a lot. Through that journey he feels he’s learned a lot and knows who he is. But that is the source of his ignorance, things aren’t absolute. It is his desire for wisdom that is stopping him because he believes wisdom is what get at the end of the journey and not the way you take the journey itself.


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