What is wisdom
Wisdom is a special kind of knowledge. It helps in handling problems of the mind.
Problems of the mind are tough to handle due to difficulty in understanding the mind. The mind cannot be used to understand itself. Knowledge from such understanding will not be complete as the mind cannot see its own flaws. This is why intellectual knowledge struggles to understand the mind. For example, intellectual knowledge struggles to understand the nature of human greed. So it is unable to help people handle problems arising from it.
Conventional wisdom helps people handle problems of the mind by providing heuristic guidelines. These heuristics are developed by people as a group after learning from their collective experience. They were developed over long periods of time by observing patterns in human behaviour which led to problems. These patterns were used to give heuristic guidance to people to handle problems of the mind. They were propagated using proverbs and cultural norms. For example, the proverb “greed is a bottomless pit” warned people against falling for greed. It helped them handle problems arising from greed by giving insight into the nature of greed. This insight helped them control their greed.
Conventional wisdom differs from intellectual knowledge in the way it approaches problems of the mind. Intellectual knowledge tries to handle these problems by understanding the nature of the mind. Conventional wisdom doesn’t concern itself with understanding the nature of the mind. It provides simple heuristics which helps people handle problems of the mind.
Is conventional wisdom always useful?
Conventional wisdom is useful for people who were taught cultural norms at a young age. They adopt the norms early in their lives. If you were not taught these norms at a young age, you will find it difficult to adopt it as an adult. Even if you completely understand the utility of a norm, you will find it difficult to implement it in your life. This happens due to your emotions. Your emotions are powerful. They take over your mind and make you unable to control your actions. You won’t be able to take action using your knowledge conventional wisdom. For example, once the emotion of greed takes over your mind, you will be powerless to act against it. You won’t be able to control your greed even if you want to. So the conventional wisdom of greed being unhealthy is useless for you.
Wisdom will be useful to you when you acquire it yourself. For example, if you learned from experience that greed makes you unhappy, you will learn that greed is not healthy for you. This knowledge will be useful to you. It will directly affect your emotion of greed. The emotion of greed will lose its ability to take over your mind. You will be able to easily control your greed. This is possible because knowledge from personal experience reaches your subconscious mind. Such knowledge is your personal wisdom.
People with personal wisdom learn from experience to handle the problems of their mind. They don’t use their intellect. This is why there is no correlation between intelligence and wisdom. This is why people who are well educated and highly intelligent may not know how to handle problems of their mind. This is why your grandmother could be wiser than a Nobel laureate.
How to acquire personal wisdom?
Personal wisdom is acquired purely through personal experience. But learning from experience is difficult. Your intellect will attempt to hide your mind’s problems. For example, if you become unhappy because of your greed, you can still not learn that greed creates unhappiness. Your intellect will attempt to justify the unhappiness as a cost for success. As you are prone to trust your intellect, you might never learn that greed is not healthy for you. You will find it difficult to learn about your mind’s problems as your intellect will always find ways to justify every problem.
To acquire personal wisdom, you have to understand your mind itself. You have to understand it without using your intellect. To do that you need to observe your mind objectively and see patterns in it.
How to understand anything by seeing patterns?
You are born with an ability to learn anything by seeing patterns in it. It is a non-intellectual method of learning. It is the most basic learning tool available to you. It is a robust learning tool for understanding any system in nature. You used it as a child when you didn’t have intellect. For example, you learned your native language not by memorising grammar rules, but by seeing patterns in how others talked. Similarly, you learnt to walk by seeing patterns in how others walked.
You lose this ability to learn when you grow up. This happens because you become insecure as an adult. You become insecure as you constantly worry about your wellness. This insecurity makes you overuse your intellect. It also makes you hyper-emotional. Whenever you observe anything, there is an emotional reaction in you. This emotion overpowers you. As a result, you don’t digest any observation properly. You never truly observe anything. The overuse of intellect and lack of true observation makes you unable to learn by seeing patterns. By cultivating self-confidence and self-awareness, you can regain this ability. Self-confidence will give you the ability to not get overpowered by emotions. Self-awareness will help you not overuse your intellect.
How to see patterns in your mind?
You can see patterns in your mind just like a child sees patterns in a language. The mind is like any other system in nature which you can understand by seeing patterns. All you need is self-confidence and self-awareness. You will see patterns in your mind naturally.
For example, when you observe repeated instances of greed creating unhappiness for you, you will see a pattern in it. You will learn that greed is a nature of the mind and should be controlled. Your self-confidence will allow you to not get overpowered by any emotion of inadequacy arising from discovering an imperfection in your mind. Your self-awareness will make you see through your intellect’s attempts to justify greed. Self-confidence and self-awareness allow you to observe your mind objectively. You will see patterns in it with each life experience. You will understand it better with each experience. This is your personal wisdom.
What will you learn from personal wisdom?
You will realize that most of your problems arise from your mind. You will understand that to handle problems of the mind you have to control the mind. You will observe that you have the ability to act against your mind. You will observe that your action has the power to mould your mind. For example, you will observe that once you start controlling your greed, it will arise lesser in the future. Once you learn the effect of your action on your mind,you will develop a sense of right and wrong action. You will develop a code of ethics for yourself.
You will understand the minds of others by observing patterns in their behaviour. Without emotions clouding your observation, you will see their behaviour clearly. You will see that everyone is similar to you. You will realize that their problems arise from their minds as well. You will realize that their mind is as imperfect as yours. You will feel empathy for them. You will no longer be selfish. You will realize that your personal wisdom will help them as well. You will teach your wisdom.