From Chips to Teeth

April 13, 2013
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Most of us have eaten wise chips at some point in our lives, and we will most likely get our wisdom teeth pulled when they come in. Wisdom seems to be an elusive subject; one that is defined differently by each person. I don’t know if potato chips are wise decisions health wise, and wisdom teeth have been known to cause intense amounts of pain (symbolic, perhaps). True wisdom is correctly defined by few and obtained by fewer. While I certainly don’t claim to be one of the few wise people, I will attempt to define wisdom.

Wisdom most definitely entails humility. Napoleon Bonaparte, probably one of France’s, if not Europe’s best generals in history, was incredible arrogant. He thought of himself and his army as invincible, and refused to acknowledge his defeats. Instead, he fought back even harder, sacrificing the lives of thousands of men in the process. His arrogance was his downfall; he was not wise.

Many mistakenly equate knowledge with wisdom, but that is ignorant. Sandra Carol once said, “Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living, the other helps you make a life.” She was right; all the knowledge in the world will guarantee a fulfilled life. Knowledge and wisdom though sometimes in the possession of the same person, are two separate entitles. One can gain knowledge in school, but one can not simply gain wisdom, just through education.

Wisdom also includes curiosity, for curiosity leads to more answers. However, a wise person asks wise questions; he questions himself seriously and gains insight into himself. That annoying little five-year-old who sits there and asks “Why?” after everything one says is not wise. He is not trying to understand himself. The truly wise are the ones who do not stop questioning themselves.

Wisdom involves humility and curiosity, but not knowledge. I doubt anybody will ever truly claim to be wise, for those who do aren’t wise, and those who are won’t claim it. Wisdom allows one to live a fulfilled, moral life. Wise chips and wisdom teeth are misnomers; it is easy to say what is unwise, but difficult to say what is.

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