Friday, 7 August 2015

Vicar's Sofa - What is Wisdom?

In a previous post I suggested that life might be a whole lot easier if we were given a manual on arrival at this strange and wonderful planet that we live on. That a route map for life would solve a whole load of ills amongst the endless array of options that modern life offers us. Perhaps, even better, would be an inbuilt SatNav, a guide to tell you as you go that you are on the right path or need to make a U-turn. I know I could use one!

Unsurprisingly questions of how to live life well and find the right path in life have perplexed human beings for generations. Writing about life and all its complexities, or Wisdom Literature, is present in a bewildering brilliant array of civilizations throughout history. It is certainly in abundance today. In her book Thrive the founder of the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington writes 'Wherever we look around the world we see smart leaders – in politics, in business, in media – making terrible decisions. What they're lacking is not IQ but wisdom.'
I don't know about you but I want wise politicians, wise writers, wise judges and wise religious leaders in a world that so often seems to be spinning out of control. And I want to be wise myself, making good decisions about my day to day life, seeing to the heart of things, going the right way in the limited years I have, reaching old age with a knowing smile and a brilliant head of long grey hair!

I have a little book called A Special Gift of Wisdom which is full of quotes about living a wise life. The one thing it struggles to do, however, is to define what wisdom actually is. It's like wisdom is always one step ahead, something you know when you see it but that is really hard to put your finger on.. During my theological studies I wrote an essay on 'What is wisdom?' and I can tell you that even the scholars can't agree! Wisdom definitely has that je ne sais quoi!

Wisdom is something about discernment, something about experience, something about understanding the world, something about the way you see things, something about living life well. In my studies I have spent a chunk of time looking at Jewish and Christian wisdom literature and I am completely nuts for it. I jibber-jabber on about it so much to my poor, long suffering husband that I thought it really was high time I wrote about it.
So in the next few weeks I'll be posted a five part series on Wisdom. Think of it as a bit of a magical mystery tour after this illusive characteristic, a dip into the pool of the ancients and how they saw the world from their perspective. We have so much to learn from those who went before us. I'll look at wisdom in nature, wisdom and the every day, subversive wisdom and wisdom in the Christian story.
Eeek I can't wait to get started! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment