“Wisdom [noun] quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.”
~The Oxford Living Dictionary
There are many different definitions for the word wisdom; each dictionary explains the word with slight variations on a theme. In the end, however, a pattern emerges and it becomes clear that for the most part the sources agree that wisdom consists of three elements; knowledge, experience, and judgement. Hence, according to the dictionaries, a person who is wise possesses raw knowledge, real world experience, and finally the ability to apply their knowledge and experience correctly.
It seems to me that this is, for the most part, an excellent definition of the word that sums up nicely what the word means to me personally. As I contemplate the concept of wisdom it seems natural to me that in order to become wise a person must first seek knowledge of the world around them. That is, however, insufficient. I can read an infinite number of books that describes the silken softness that is a rose petal and know that it is soft, but until I have touched the rose petal, held it in my hand, I will never know the meaning behind the knowledge. The knowledge and experience together are still not sufficient to make a person wise. What good is knowledge or experience if they are not used. In order to achieve wisdom, it is necessary to learn to apply the knowledge and experience that one has gained.
Wisdom is the first of the Nine Virtues listed in the ADF’s Dedicant’s Handbook and in my view this is proper. Wisdom, as a virtue, is not something that the Dedicant, or anyone else, can gain. It is instead a journey, something that must be constantly sought after as the individual grows in knowledge, experience, and hopefully learns over the course of their life to implement them. In the end, the realization that wisdom is not something that ever be perfectly attained may be the first step in practicing it as a virtue.
Author’s note: The Dedicant’s Path is the initial level of course work for the ADF. While I have been a member of the ADF for some years now I have never bothered with completing the course work; and that is something that should likely be corrected.