The Wisdom Page 

Whatever happened to wisdom?

Jerry Ortiz y Pino addressed this question in his column in the Santa Fe Reporter:

[Wisdom is] one of those slightly old-fashioned words, the type that slip out of style because they sound less punchy than the jargon we start using in their place. In time we forget about using it at all. And because the words we substitute aren't quite the same, we're made poorer by the substitutions, losing slices of the original meaning with each change.

So wisdom, good ol' sapientiae in Latin, hardly ever gets airtime these days. Instead, we talk about "cleverness," "I.Q.," "managerial know-how," or any of 50 not-quite synonyms. None of those really are interchangeable with wisdom, but they get used in its place. Meanwhile, wisdom, the original concept, is forgotten.

[Wisdom is] the ability to make sound choices, good decisions. The best decision. Wisdom is intelligence shaped by experience. Information softened by understanding. And it is in very short supply these days.

Wisdom is not something a person is born with. Intelligence is. Cleverness is. The ability to appear dynamic is. But Wisdom isn't. It only comes from living, from making mistakes or from listening to others who have made mistakes and learned from them.

If wisdom is in short supply among our leaders, we don't have far to look for the culprits. It started disappearing along about the time we stopped expecting it.

If you, too, share Jerry's concerns, browse The Wisdom Page.