What is Wisdom?

Dictionary definition:

"the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment;
 the quality of being wise."

synonyms:  sagacity, intelligence, sense, common sense, shrewdness,
astuteness, smartness, judiciousness, judgment, prudence, circumspection;
logic, rationale, rationality, soundness, advisability

"the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application
 of experience, knowledge, and good judgment."

"some questioned the wisdom of building the dam so close to an active volcano"

all of which seems pretty clear... without actually defining or gving any guidance on how to actually apply or learn wisdom in a step-by-step manner.

Thus, just as with the fuller list from "Task 1" we can recognise wisdom (if we are ourselves wise) but actually defining it could take literally a lifetime of pursuit... assuming that your entire life goal is to do exclusively just that.

Personally, I prefer to leave it not so much to chance but to each person to have some sense - a resonant recognition if you will - or feeling that they need to start applying wisdom to their decisions, to recognise that they need to seek out like-minded people on such a search, and to find such people as can reasonably be ascertained to have wisdom (and, obviously, learn from them).

In other words: to use the tools of recognition, discernment and more. So, therefore, rather than waste our entire lives trying to define wisdom, perhaps it would be best instead to develop a series of tools and procedures by which we may verify that our actions have a wise outcome.

Suitable tools for discerning if our actions are "wise".

As a reverse-engineer, once a goal is defined, it is almost automatic to begin a series of exploration, creating and applying a series of tests, the outcomes of which are assessed as to whether the goal is closer to having being achieved... or not.

This does not happen in one step! In fact, it may take the continous application of a series of steps, or no action at all: it's up to you to work that out. Not only that, but often it is the goal itself that needs redefinition... or complete abandonment!

In other words, there are no certainties. at all. I used to be uncomfortable with that, until I read Bob Podolski's "Bill of Ethics".

Before I got there, however, I was lucky enough to encounter Regina St Claire, who was guided one day to compose something that she calls the "Seven Words":

seven words oneness.jpg

These words are:

  • Awareness / Discernment
  • Question / Receptivity
  • Clarity / Coherence
  • Oneness / Resolution

On first becoming ''aware'' of these words, I instantly ''recognised'' (was able to ''discern'') that they were part of the reverse-engineering "mindset" that I regularly applied on a day-to-day basis.

Epistemology

Epistmology is an extremely useful "discernment" tool. The best definition is from Advaita Vedanta: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta#Epistemology

Through these six definitions we have the means to analyse and be aware of ourselves and our relation to both the internal and external worlds. However, despite being a means and method of enhancing and classifying awareness and discernment, and inviting us to be receptive to questions, with a view to attaining a clear and coherent picture that ultimately resolves into a goal, this isn't enough in and of itself.

Is defining a goal and applying "tools" actually in itself "Wise"?

Well, by simple application of a suitable example, we may refute this unequivocably: having the means and methods to deploy Gentic Manipulation of our food, such that we end up with a cross-pollinating runaway global pandemic where our food automatically creates drugs that poison or kill us, or are so resistant to whatever-it-is that they overwhelm our entire eco-system, or simply die out leaving the entire population of the planet with nothing to eat, can ''clearly'' be seen to be absolute madness, yet is there anybody actively working to prevent and prohibit such actions? Of course not.

So just because we have the means to learn how to solve "World Famine" through "Genetic Modification", it does not necessarily follow that the actions are in fact "wise". Thus, we cannot necessarily say that just because we have reached our goal, that we are wise.

This is where a document such as the "Bill of Ethics" comes into play.

The Bill of Ethics

The Bill of Ethics https://www.titanians.org/the-bill-of-ethics/ is an expansion (a step-by-step guide) on how to "act ethically". This in turn requires that we have a clear definition of what constitutes "an ethical act".

Whilst a close analysis of the Bill of Ethics leads to some lack of clarity vis-a-vis "The Dao" for example (which in essence advocates that everything is "energy" aka "love"), to my mind it is clearly a much more solid framework for decision-making (either alone or in groups) than anything else I have previously encountered.

What I had never encountered before in this or any other document, and what certainly had not been at the conscious level of my mind, is a clear definition of the responsibility for taking action.. or inaction as a way to preserve (let alone attain) a specific goal, nor had I encountered a document that provided such huge flexibility and lack of interference in the means by which a goal may be achieved... yet still constraining those who adhere to it to seriously, seriously think about the consequences of what they're doing.

It was also the first document that made it clear that "certainty" is a serious mistake. We can never know what the full answer is. By definition, if we are "certain", we have misunderstood (or missed something). This paradox is something that goes against everything I had previously thought to be true, or was seriously uncomfortable about when publicly admitting "uncertainty" in my interactions and communications with others, yet it now makes perfect sense.

Is this a "wisely written" document? YES.

Could it be claimed that it provides us with a clear framework for acting "wisely"? Yeeess... if and only if we have a clearly-defined wise goal in the first place!

So again, we are back to the application of Regina's "seven words" as a means and method of assessing whether we are "on track"!

Thus, in conclusion, we may say that it's not so important to know what wisdom is (because even if we do not know the definition of the word, if we are wise, our wisdom will be self-evident), as it is to have wise goals to aim for. However even here, it's still not enough: we can have wise dictators who interact with us in ways that we don't necessarily agree with, making decisions without respecting our right to self-determination (despite the decisions potentially being in our own best interests!), and we can have wise monks who don't interact with the world at all.

The course therefore is a little bit more than just defining wisdom. We need purpose, we need a goal, and we need integrity.

2nd part of prompt 1

The 2nd part summarises basically as, "what would you do differently?". I didn't initially answer this because it seemed that the answer is clearly and obviously, "absolutely nothing, of course". All of my training and experience, everything I've read and encountered, which includes more recently Michael Newton's book, "Journey of Souls", tells me that everything we do is part of a larger picture, that whatever we do it is for somebody's benefit or life-lesson (including ours). Hindsight only confirms this! As in, the more that I analyse past decisions, the more that I find there is nothing to regret!

Even the decision by my parents, when i was aged around ten, to not place me into the Royal Ballet School (I got a place there, which they didn't tell me I had got), I was pretty annoyed with them for not telling me. They seem to have assumed that I would have understood, but I actually really enjoyed Ballet. Now, if I had gone, I would never have gone to Imperial College, nor entered the electronics arena: I would have lived a completely different life. What on earth is there to regret about the life that I have lived instead of that one? Which is why I didn't answer, because the question itself appears to be silly and/or self-evident.

Discussion and comments

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Luke - very enjoyable post. So great that you were able to already take something from another student, Regina. I like how you moved from wise outcomes to a wise process and wise goals. Some comments.

  1. The Bill of Ethics views the central value as creativity. Is that yours? What other values should there be?
  2. Life is complex, so I imagine that you'll have more than one "wise goal". What takes priority? When they conflict, the essence of ethical dilemmas, how do you choose?
  3. As I mentioned by email, the second half of the assignment is to work through a past decision with your framework and see if it works as a guide and if it is complete. Would you have made a different decision?

I look forward to your addendum.

Posted Tue Oct 4 18:02:39 2016

hiya answering each question separately: the bill of ethics is not my document, however it resonates deeply with me. i mention that i feel it can be improved, and mention the dao. expanding on that further: the daoist way is one that recognises that everything is energy. an expression of energy is "truth, love, creativity, awareness". these are inter-related. changes in energy fields may be accomplished through the application of creativity, which gives us a hint as to the inter-relationships and a potential subsequent simplification of the Bill of Ethics. this is why i refer to the Bill of Ethics as being just another tool.

Posted Thu Oct 6 05:09:06 2016

second question: choosing priorities. you just... choose. if it turns out to be the wrong choice, you analyse the consequences and choose again... in other words you use the "tool" of the "seven words" to "discern" the desired outcome. in my mind, it's not as complex as the question itself makes it appear to be. where things do go wrong is if you are either too slow to react or become attached, worried or otherwise patholically trapped by the desire of a specific outcome (that did or did not happen)... and are unable to discern that fact about yourself, such that the attachment becomes the goal(s).

Posted Thu Oct 6 05:14:34 2016

third question: in analysing past decisions: honestly, i haven't got time. i've been there before (when it was relevant to do so), and, given the information i've learned in particular from Michael Newton's book, "Journey of Souls" it serves no useful purpose to me to go over the past (again) - i've given one example and i'm going to leave it at that. Part 2: the whole question serves no real useful purpose for me (which is why i didn't even include it in an answer). would I use the guide i've written? in its various forms (i only became aware of these forms very recently) i have already been using them, so why would I do that again, spending my valuable time in the process? no thanks: i'm too busy, right here, right now. i have some specific goals that need to be achieved: i am running the process/guide (and more), at every moment of my life. i don't have to think about it: the only reason i'm on this course and am writing that guide is because i am looking for like-minded people (who will recognise the words and why they're up). this is why everything has to be public, for me: anything else (private communications about these and many other issues) is genuinely wasting my time. i have too much to do: i need help. i'm not going to get that by having private conversations with people, or by reflecting on the past (except where doing so, publicly, can be justified as part of aiding and assisting in the development and achievement of one or more current goals).

Posted Thu Oct 6 05:21:56 2016

Hello Luke I do apologise that my comments are late. As I said on Sunday, I find the "Seven Words" diagram very helpful. Which of these steps is the most intellectual, do you think? And which is the most spiritual? I do get your approach to the second part. I take the attitude that everything that has happened in my life has had a purpose and was meant to be, so I wouldn't expect to want to change anything. For myself, I did find it a useful and practical learning exercise to apply my decision-making guide to a past experience. Cheers Jeremy

Posted Thu Oct 6 11:26:21 2016

I was asked a question about the seven words, and this was my response:

the 7 words are a process that we use all the time - consciously or not. for example: in asking me the question "could you elaborate on the 7 words" you seek CLARIFICATION. you have DISCERNED that you do not have a COHERENT understanding (of the 7 words).

... the rest of the words will fit in there as well :)

so in other words, by being aware that the 7 words fit pretty much every enquiry and are day-to-day, moment-to-moment part of the process by which we seek goals, information and knowledge, we have a tool (the 7 words themselves) by which we can analyse and potentially improve that process itself.

so that was my response at the time. with some thought, i realised that awareness is not necessarily something that's automatic. awareness is a feedback loop. it's interesting to me to note that the Bill of Ethics excludes those beings that are both not self-aware or aware of their awareness. the distinction is very important: the first time round the loop we are aware of ourselves. the second time round the loop we are aware of our awareness of ourselves. it's probably best not to go round the loop too many times :)

but if you are not familiar with this, it's a good idea to just look in a mirror, and then make the reflection onto yourself even when your eyes are closed. hold that picture: internalise it. that's awareness of yourself. funnily enough, there's an epistemological application here, and that's really why i mentioned that epistemology is a tool. but, it only works as a useful tool - in this context - once you apply it... to yourself.

Posted Thu Oct 6 12:09:21 2016

hiya jeremy, interesting question! honestly, after seeing the "Map / Scale of Consciousness" - the one where shame is given a "1" at the bottom, and it goes up to "neutral" at 250, then "reason" is given something like a 350, peace and joy are soemwhere around the 500 to 600, and christ consciousness 1000 (it's a logarithmic scale), i don't hold any more to the notions / importance of what's intellectual and what's spiritual. the scale of consciousness helps me to assess reactions (including my own). or, at least, to be comfortable with them :) i remember sarah discussing this about five years ago now, in the context of the term "spiritual bypass", which was where people got their spiritual sxxx together but ignored the fundamentals... not really very practical, ehn? :) someone who is spiritual is intelligent, and uses their intellect to good effect.

Posted Thu Oct 6 12:14:56 2016