Being wise.

Being wise has long been a sought after attribute in humans in our society. For centuries, many ‘wise’ people have been lauded singly for such a trait. But what is wisdom, and how are we all working on being wise every day in our lives? Perhaps the kid in The Matrix said it best. Maybe there really is no spoon.


To me, wisdom I something that comes from observation. It comes from observation of ones surroundings and the interactions of others in such surrounds. It also comes from observing yourself, and being aware of your own emotions, reactions and intuition as you’re exposed to different experiences. Eckhart Tolle talks about ‘the observer’ in his books, which is a similar and related idea to being mindful in your daily activities.

Wisdom is certainly an interesting idea, and as Ross Hill made comment, something we almost certainly will never fully understand. It will be interesting to watch this weekend particularly, as two events which really inspire me take place. Trampoline is on again, which always fills me with wonderment and awe around the knowledge, passion and wisdom of many of the participants. I can’t wait to be amongst it again. And a new conference, Wisdom 2.0, is taking place in San Francisco (and at Google HQ) with the distinct ambition of discussing wisdom in the modern ‘2.0’ world. The speakers list looks amazing, and I look forward to hearing all about it from the Aussie contingent going.

I’ll be running a session at Trampoline this Sunday, hopefully calling in the guys at wisdom2.0 (if I can get a session early enough!) and I look forward to discussing more of the ideas and thoughts everyone has around being wise.

6 thoughts on “Being wise.

  1. In my opinion, wisdom cannot be transmitted, it’s a personal journey predicated on a special kind of learning… a deep internal learning where illusions drop away and Truth is seen. Sometimes facets of wisdom are arrived at through pain, tragedy and most definitely by coming to know oneself by going inside… self-awareness, seeking and the courage to fail! Challenge everything and revolt when necessary…

    My wise ones:

    Alan Watts
    Mum and Dad
    Me (Trust yourself!)


  2. Hi Donal,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree – wisdom is something can not be transmitted…it’s only through experience that you pick ‘stuff’ up.

    I think it’s interesting to think about why wisdom matters to us, when in fact the planet is made up of millions of atoms that are all interacting in ways we cannot possibly guess. I suppose it ties back to Ross’ point, that perhaps wisdom is – itself – the act of knowing you can never know the full story, and being comfortable with that. The journey continues.

    Love your wise ones list.

  3. #whatatttrosshilllsaid

    wisdom is – itself – the act of knowing you can never know the full story, and being comfortable with that.

    I can’t put my words together properly right now – its late and I have been drinking too much tea.



  4. lol @ eddie.

    Ah wisdom… my favourite definition was given by a friend: ‘wisdom is the knowledge that there is always more to learn’. It’s similar but has differences to Eddie’s description… There’s the matrix concept and there’s the personal trait concept. The matrix kinda says it’s impossible to know anything about anything. Cue existentialism. In practice and in everyday use, we call someone wise when they seem to be the most right… or the least wrong. The wise person is the one who knows they don’t know everything… and they live that in every moment. In essence, wisdom is kind of both only one thing and everything – the one thing being that knowledge that you don’t know everything, and the ‘everything’ wisdom being your cumulative knowledge about everything you have experienced since birth. Oh how I could go on.

    In the context of your post Steve, and Wisdom 2.0, wisdom is about using what you know to do something better. Building on the fact that wisdom is accumulated (yet unmeasurable…) then the wisdom of a community is undoubtedly more… valuable than that of an individual. This is partly common sense. But it raises interesting questions of disagreements in wisdom, between people… there is no one person who decides whose unit of wisdom is more valuable or important than another’s, or whose is more ‘right’.

    Lest I continue until daybreak, I shall finish here in the interest of hearing someone else’s wisdom on wisdom…

  5. Hi @Doug,

    Thanks for the comment. I really like your point about the wisdom of a community being (always) far greater than the wisdom of a single person. Especially, your point about nobody’s ‘unit of wisdom’ being any greater than any others is also great.

    I think as we continue to live in a globalised world, one where conferences such as Wisdom2.0 happen, each individuals voice (and wisdom) can be heard much easier. We’re moving to a place where diversity, inclusion and equality are becoming real, commonplace occurrences. Twitter allows you to follow, and communicate with anyone. The internet has brought access to India, China and many other areas of the developing world as more people come online (either through mobile or PC).

    Looks like we will all need a dash more wisdom in order to navigate these various view points and ‘right’ world views. Very interesting.

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