The Wisdom Page 


A message to his students by Alan Nordstrom, Professor of English at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida:


Above all other reasons for your taking this course is to help
you grow wise. So should it be in every course you take at Rollins, for
wisdom is the highest aim of a liberal education.

Growing wise is a life-long enterprise accomplished only
imperfectly, a star aimed at but never reached, only approached more
nearly, yet still the highest human goal.

So, what is it to be wise? It is to be a fully realized human
being—again, an impossibility for any ordinary human mortal. It means
to have reached the highest level of development that human
consciousness can attain and to see life from that viewpoint and act

To glimpse this perspective you rightly turn to the words and
deeds of acknowledged sages throughout history, both secular and sacred.
Those recognized as wise in many ways all witness to the further
reaches of our human potential and are exemplars of what we might become

A liberal education is about becoming who you have it in you to
be, much more than at this point you can comprehend—though you may dream
of it. The point now is to believe that you are only the tip of your
own iceberg, that most of who you are potentially has not yet surfaced
and come to light. And that coming to the light of higher consciousness
is why we’re here on Earth, what human beings are for.

So, in this course and in all your college courses, think how
what you study will contribute to the full realization of your humanity,
not just to your checklist of requirements for graduation. Graduation
is a goal: it means moving up the ladder. Commencement is an aim: it
means beginning. But where is your ladder leading you? Is it leaning
against the right wall? And what are you beginning after graduation if
not the rest of your life? And what’s that for?

To answer that final question is where wisdom comes in. Your
quest for wisdom is your quest to discover for yourself what your life
is for.