Monday, July 23, 2012

Who among you is wise?

Today's question comes from my eight year old: "What is a homo sapien... and what does that mean?" Admittedly I was stumped.  I know I learned that once, but thankfully the web could meet his curiosity.  So here's what I read from a variety of sources: The word "sapience" is derived from the Latin sapientia, meaning "wisdom." The Latin verb sapere, means "to taste, to be wise, to know" which in the present participle form sapere is found in Homo sapiens, the nomenclature created by Carolus Linnaeus to describe the human species.  Linnaeus had originally given humans the species name of "diurnus," which means "man of the day" but elected  for the term sapiens because the dominating feature of humans is wisdom which delineates us from all all animals.   

But are we really wise?  Even common sense doesn't seem to be so maybe that's why wisdom has become even more elusive?!

According to Confucius, a person can learn wisdom by three methods: Reflection (the noblest), imitation (the easiest) and experience (the bitterest).

In Taoism,the Three Treasures are charity, simplicity, and humility.
"Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom."

"Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom?  Here's what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly.  It's the way you live, not the way you talk that counts.  Mean spirited ambition isn't wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn't wisdom.  Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn't wisdom...Whenever you're trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others' throats.  Real wisdom, God's wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others.  it is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and old the next, not two-faced.  You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor."
---James 3 (From "The Message" Eugene Peterson)

There are many things that require wisdom and it's pretty apparent that the world needs more of it, our country needs more of it, our politicians need more of it, and I surely need more of it.  Hopefully it won't take going through additional bitter experiences to make all of us that way.