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Is there a path to wisdom?

User Thread
 90yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that coberst is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Is there a path to wisdom?
Is there a path to wisdom?

How can I know what I do not know? How can I trace that boundary between knowledge and ignorance?

In the dialogue 'Apology' Plato writes about Socrates while in the dungeon just before drinking the hemlock that the citizens of Athens condemned him to be executed.

In the dungeon shortly before drinking from the hemlock cup Socrates spoke to his followers. He spoke about the accusations against him at the trial. He said that the sworn indictment against him was 'Socrates is guilty of needless curiosity and meddling interference, inquiring into things beneath Earth and in the Sky...'

Socrates further adds that he is accused of teaching the people of Athens, to which Socrates vehemently denies that he is a teacher. He points out that in matters of wisdom he has only a small piece of that territory; the wisdom that he does have is the wisdom not to think he knows what he does not know. Socrates conjectures that he has the wisdom to recognize the boundary of his present knowledge and to search for that knowledge that he does not have. 'So it seems at any rate I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not.'

For Socrates a necessary component of wisdom is to comprehend what one is ignorant of.

Am I wise? Do I know what I am ignorant of? I certainly know that I am ignorant of astronomy and music. There are many things about which it is obvious to me that I am ignorant of. Are there things about which I am not even aware of my ignorance? Are there matters about which I think I am knowledgeable of but which I am, in fact, ignorant of?

When I ask myself these questions I become conscious of a great number of things about which I am ignorant. Does this mean I am like Socrates in this matter? I do not think so. Socrates is speaking about two types of ignorance about which most people are unconscious of.

I think that Socrates is speaking of our 'burden of illusion'. People are unconscious of the superficiality of much that they think they know and they are unconscious of a vast domain of knowledge that is hidden from the non critical thinker.

The uncritical mind has no means for discovering these illusions. CT (Critical Thinking) is the keystone for discovering these illusions. The Catch-22 here is how can one develop a critical mind when they are deluded into thinking they have a critical mind?

When our educational system has not taught our citizens how to think critically how can our citizens ever pull themselves out of this deep hole of illusion?

'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; it's what you know for sure that just ain't so'-Mark Twain


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 42yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
maybe by having no path at all as permetting yourself to get lost in everything you come in contact with...letting it take over you, just like falling in a rabbit hole. i don't have an idealistic image of wisdom. For taoists, you need to have the spirit of an idiot ( for it's innocence) to reach wisdom.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 90yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that coberst is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
In the summer of 48 my older brother told me that if I wanted to play high school football I had to 'get ready'. In his terms, 'getting ready' meant running to get in condition for the rigors of football practice.

In the spring of 09 I want to begin the quest for wisdom. How do I 'get ready' for becoming wise?

Starting with the definition of wisdom as 'seeing life whole' seems to be as good a place to begin as I can think of. How do I get ready to see life whole?

It seems to me that to see life whole I must learn a great deal more than I already have learned but I must start with where I presently am. I am convinced that learning new stuff requires three aspects (a position facing a particular direction) of mind; mentally I must have curiosity, caring, and an orderly mind.

I claim that curiosity and caring are necessary conditions for understanding. Understanding is a far step beyond knowing. I will not examine a matter for the purpose of understanding it unless I am curious about it. I must care enough about the matter to do the intellectual work necessary to understand.

Understanding is a step beyond knowing and is seldom required or measured by schooling. Understanding is generally of disinterested knowledge, i.e. disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic (due to the nature of the self) value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term 'disinterested knowledge' as similar to 'pure research', as compared to 'applied research'. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

Understanding is often difficult and time consuming and the justification is not extrinsic (outside cause) but intrinsic.

Questions for consideration:
Is caring necessary for understanding? I think so.
What is 'understanding'?
Is curiosity necessary for knowing? I think so.
Is curiosity necessary for understanding? I think so.
Is a knowledge of history required to 'see life whole'? Absolutely!!
Is difficulty our duty? I think so.

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 42yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
here is something extra to think about also. Baudrillard quoting Cioran " if we could accept the meaninglessness of the world, then we could play with forms, appearences and our impulses, withou worrying about their ultimate destination...As Cioran says, we are not failure until we believe life has a meaning- and from that point on we are failures, because it hasn't". Then Baudrillard goes on saying that illusion is the fundamental rule.
where is the relation with this topic? accepting meaninglessness offers a method into dwelving in the world of ideas and getting physical with them, thinking becomes an art. i'll give the example of children: they break their toys to see whats inside and this is how we learn maybe...by breaking things. Baudrillard's approach may be laid on nihilism and it's hard to accept. I think it's good to keep the method but instead of the void give it an end, a core that we should end in- Kantian noumenon-which is true knowledge, the reality of illusion.

Other than this, i feel that the path to wisdom should start with the knowledge of oneself...and that takes a lifetime but still by understanding yourself you understand everything else...that's what i believe. This belief comes from how i think of divinity...the artist is present in all that he creates. so by grasping your divine/cosmic essence you grasp everything else.

now to try and find an exit to the questions
Is caring necessary for understanding? yes, caring is fed by a softened passion. no?
What is 'understanding'? " i am you and what i see is me", finding your reflection in things...standing under it not sure
Is curiosity necessary for knowing?the unknown always resonated with death, so knowing things is dying in them? didn't curiosity killed the cat?
Is curiosity necessary for understanding? hmmm which comes first knowing or understanding? what's the difference between them? is understanding more of an emotional intelligence?
Is a knowledge of history required to 'see life whole'? from personal experience...the more i researched into history to serve a specific theme the more i lost trail and i was unable to find my way back. it felt like being left in the middle of nowhere with a luggy filled with gifts.
Is difficulty our duty? there is no escaping it if you are on the path of self realisation.

this much i know so far but which i can't take for granted.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 54yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that Evilia is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
As I just previously posted in another thread my favorite phrase is "Wise men learn more from fools, then fools from wise men."

I do not consider myself a fool, though I do foolish things, hehehe but more wise from what I have learned from other peoples mistakes.

Take drugs for example. I saw my friends go down the drain.....I did not go with them. I learned from their foolish mistakes.

And another thing...no one is perfect. You go with the flow and learn along the way paying close attention to others mistakes. Thats what I do.

Just my two cents for what its worth.


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"Spellcheck is for pussies. REAL women make mistakes."
 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Some observations on the subject of "wisdom", it is mostly a salad of personal realizations.

The path to knowledge is endless and wisdom usually is defined as knowledge in things that matter in terms of good judgment in certain aspects of living that are relevant to other people not just ourselves.

Or else a wise man would not be wise. It was always about someone who shows good judgment and the only factor in that sentence is "living" in terms of personal living, and the society as a whole.

The path to wisdom then relates to the definition of which knowledge we are seeking.

Seeking aimless knowledge can only lead to idiocracy.

I think "aim" is the path to wisdom.

And being "wise", is a very vague expression that generally defines a Man knowledgeable of things that relate to general living.

Now all that I am trying to do is define wisdom (as usually defined by the sociable creature of Man as knowledge of life).

Hence why it is said that only time or experience can grant you wisdom.

the path to wisdom can only be achieved with experience. Since the only way to truly know something or someone's point of view, is to actually come face to face with it.

Are we wise if we gained knowledge of everything except how to live our lives?

But it is important that we never consider answers as absolute truth, the person's wisdom is a route that should be taken with an extremely open mind, or else we fail to see the flaws that might have become given to us, for any reasons.

I think it is important that the quest for wisdom to remain un-noticed, or else we might end up seeking the commonly approved factors instead of what should be commonly approved.

Now here's the big personal question, are we wise or only look it.

Thus the conclusion of whoever claims wisdom before death is limiting the remainder of his life.

It is very important to learn objectively, we should not accept anything without proper reasoning or "valid" justifications.

Now we say we learn from our mistakes. But can our wisdom be claimed before we make those mistakes.
Would we know for certain that this thing is wrong, this thing is right. Just by observation.
Well we might. But can we ever be certain?

Now being un-socially wise does not exist.
The only definition of wisdom is made by this social creature that we are.

How we live our lives and being certain on how life should be lived are two different paths.

I believe it is wise for us not to think about wisdom.
But again wisdom usually matter for people who lack it, or attempt to claim it.

It is innate in all of us, and the only true path to wisdom is self-improvement. Since if we can improve our status we have good judgment. If we can improve the lives of others, we are wise.

Evidently the path to "true wisdom" might not be reached through the words of others, but through experience.

There are a million quicker ways to claim it. But that's not the question here. We can leach onto the wisdom of others, But if we take the words of others on faith, Can we ever truly claim knowledge of them?

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"i think therefore i think i am"
 72yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
If we learn from our mistakes, then surely I ought to be one of the most learned folks on the planet. But all I've seemed to learn is that "He hath not wisdom who considereth himself wise."

"Wise" is one of those words like "talented" or "beautiful" or "intelligent" -- that is, one of those words that always seems better if someone says that about you, rather than one saying it about himself...

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 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
What is 'understanding'?

my personal opinion:

Understanding is to have knowledge of all possible questions relative to a certain subject. Some might have answers, some not. But all are required with their possible answers.

Thus we can never truly understand something, it had been always a relative factor.

of course, in my view.

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"i think therefore i think i am"
 72yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that NicOfTime is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Is there a path to wisdom?

A formal path -- with a name? A fair number of folks claim there is. I suppose they'd only know that if they already reached the destination and so were already wise -- thereby having the proof that their path was the way to get there. But a lot of the folks who claim to know that path don't appear to be particularly wise to me, or maybe they just haven't reached the destination yet, or maybe I'm really a lot dumber than I think I am, a possibility I don't easily eliminate.

I don't think I really know what wisdom is. I know I've called some people "wise" in at least some ways, about some things. But I've always attached some personal baggage to "wisdom" that may not really belong there -- although no one's given me a good enough reason to un-attach that baggage. And that baggage has to do, rightly or wrongly, with the "big picture" in life, at least as far as humans go, because they can imagine one form of the "big picture" or another, they can conceive of the notion of "wisdom", so it seems they're obligated to define it or figure it out in some way, once and for all.

Is happiness the result of wisdom? Is someone who doesn't know how to be happy very wise? Is "wisdom" the Truth, whatever it may be, whether it makes you or someone else happy or not? Is "wisdom" pretty much the same thing as "meaning" -- and so the wise person will lead a meaningful life, regardless of what he decides is "meaningful" to him?

About the only thing that approaches "wisdom" to me is the relentless awareness of my own ignorance and my own virtually infinite capacity for self-delusion. It's clear to me that that definition or aspect or application of "wisdom" applies to a relatively small percentage of the population.

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 42yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I was watching this movie "Jacob's Ladder" and it hit me that maybe being wise is knowing what an animal you are.
first off...it seems that "wisdom" is solely the proper of mankind but wouldn't it be wise to observe the man in it's instinctive behavior...if wisdom is a potentiality than taking him by the instinctual base wont cause any problem.

all animals are always in a survival state...humans no, it's a delayed state of being, always on hold, thanks to our social consensus. What if we put the man in a state where he is always in a struggle for survival? shouldn't we look for wisdom there instead of some spoken words while having your ass wide spread out on a comfortable sofa? words which through we can "smell your intestins".
or maybe i can cut the chase and ask if wisdom is always in tune with this state of survival but being on top of it not in it. just like an OBE where you reflect on yourself. if it is so then wisdom has nothing to do with the self, it's not even an adjective or a quality that you can walk towards it cause it requires the loss of onesself. hell...i need to sleep and throw some sheeps off a cliff.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 90yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that coberst is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.


Comprehension is a hierarchy, resembling a pyramid, with awareness at the base followed by consciousness, succeeded by knowing, with understanding at the pinnacle.

I have concocted a metaphor set that might relay my comprehension of the difference between knowing and understanding.

Awareness--faces in a crowd.

Consciousness-smile, a handshake, and curiosity.

Knowledge-long talks sharing desires and ambitions.

Understanding-a best friend bringing constant April.

I am a retired engineer and my experience in the natural sciences leads me to conclude that these natural sciences are far more concerned with knowing than with understanding.

Understanding is a long step beyond knowing and most often knowing provides the results that technology demands. Technology, I think, does not want understanding because understanding is inefficient and generally not required. The natural scientists, with their paradigms, are puzzle solvers. Puzzles require ingenuity but seldom understanding.

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 41yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that eye is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
i do understand your point, But i guess that's why i'm not that satisfied with my job, there are millions of ways to solve a puzzle, finding those different ways gives me joy, not satisfying my ego with definite answers.

i admire things that escape my logic.

beauty is my apple, my unicorn.

but again, i believe we have a choice which is the essence that drives our existence.

we can chose to know everything, or we can chose to "feel" everything.

Now feelings are a pickle, i don't bother defining them (even though i probably could through interpretation on senses and a sub-conscious sense of relative memory association, as in i believe this is beautiful cause i connect it to another something that made me feel good at a point in time.)
Now, i chose both sides of the spherical dilemma that is conception of beauty and it's opposite.

well, understanding something, and feeling something are 2 parallel definitions to the same result (as if taking 2 roads to the same place, one is via consciousness, one is via sub-consciousness.)

i believe we can chose 2 roads in our being. Either one that is based on certainty, the other based on the in-perfection of our being.
Both ways we get there. one fills our life with beauty, the other fills our life with knowledge.

(by the way this is not a response to anything, simply a statement of my own choices).

i chose things i can't understand over things i can any day, maybe because i'm never satisfied with knowledge (maybe i'm missing something, but why bother explaining what i am, what people are), i can simply live in my absence of being every second, and feel all that is there to be felt.

all i'm saying is that i spent most of my life trying to answer questions. But you probably know as much as i do, answers never made anyone happy even for a second (think of if you had all the answers to life when you're the only person on the planet, would that bring you any joy ? maybe a bit to satisfy some uncertainties, but other than that it fades off with the arrival of the answer).

i believe the quest for personal wisdom should be taken via acceptance of our own insignificance. We are not here for any purpose, we are here let's make the best of it.
Thus my previous theory on experience, thoughts/dreams are actions just like any other action. But NO thought has been initiated without our senses. I Believe a quest for wisdom is taken by indulging our senses in every way (the bad before the good). Now i'm not saying we should do things we don't find relevant, But staying in books will keep us in books, living every corner of the earth will give us the earth.

We must ask ourselves what is the reason behind our quest. And if we have one, we're in it for the wrong reasons.

It is the questions that excite us, It has never been the answers.

i believe in "living" the life we have, not analysing it.
that is based on 26 years of analysis, i might be just kidding myself about the possibility of that. But i do believe we have a choice, one i keep trying to remind myself of.

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"i think therefore i think i am"
Is there a path to wisdom?
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