Is Wisdom acquired only through Experience and Aging? | INFJ Forum

Is Wisdom acquired only through Experience and Aging?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Odyne, Jul 29, 2010.

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  1. Odyne

    Odyne Organic
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    The concept of Wisdom seems to be correlated with age and experience. Also, some people seem to tie the idea of "pain" and "suffering" with Wisdom. The more you suffer and the more you struggle, the wiser you become.

    Does the experience have to be painful in order for someone to gain Wisdom? Can't someone gain wisdom by experiencing the beautiful things in life? or does that lead to naivety instead?

    I have also noticed that people seem to associate "wisdom" with "cynicism". Is the association valid?

    Sometimes I find that experience can give you insight, but not necessarily wisdom.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. KazeCraven

    KazeCraven Graduated from Typology : May 2011
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    Ah yes, Wisdom.

    Depends on how you define it. I've read metaphysics texts which begin with a poignant tale of how metaphysics has "something which it alone can give." The authors must be taking serious liberties with the word 'wisdom.'

    I don't think it necessarily has to be painful, but I think any 'wisdom' not gotten through experience won't be fully understood until the necessary experience has come through. Some other things might set you up to acquire wisdom more quickly, but I think in the end it's what you make of the experiences you've got.
     
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  3. gloomy-optimist

    gloomy-optimist Used to live here

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    I understood things fairly well before I experienced them; I didn't understand anything fully, though, until I actually experienced it.

    But wisdom doesn't come from age alone. Experience must be coupled with it. People have called me wise many times, and I'm only 19; however, I have done a lot more with the time I've had than many much older than me.
     
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  4. athenian200

    athenian200 Protocol Droid
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    I can agree that wisdom is acquired through experience. If you just sit around and follow the same basic routines for most of your life, you won't get much wiser. Sadly, many people do this. Unfortunately, I'm one of them. The only things I have much experience with are using computers, doing paperwork, and navel-gazing.

    Aging can give you perspective on the effects of time, but only so much if it's not coupled with varied experiences.
     
    #4 athenian200, Jul 29, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  5. NeverAmI

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    Age means one has had more time for potential opportunities. Challenging experiences may offer more opportunities for insight than age. Communication with others, listening without bias to different perspectives, different ideas, and criticisms is vital.

    But, wisdom might never be gained without reflection, introspection, interpersonal communication, and competence.
     
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  6. Norton

    Norton XXXX

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    Not necessarily age, but experience + intelligence + introspection. Usually, age is included or assumed in the definitions of wisdom because the older you are, the more experiences you will have had. However, experiences without intelligent thought about those experiences does not equal wisdom. Also, judgment (in its usual meaning, but not the MBTI "J") is an implicit part of experience.
     
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  7. Gaze

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    I understood things before i experienced them. Sometimes, experience is overrated. You don't always need it. Sometimes, positive experiences can teach you quite a bit without the struggle of pain or suffering.
     
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  8. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    i've noticed this too, and i think the people most likely to make that correlation would have some cynicism in them ;)

    mm but to answer your original question, i don't think aging has anything directly to do with the acquisition of wisdom - it only relates to it to the extent that it increases the chances of experiencing things out of your comfort zone. you asked whether experiences have to be painful in order to be wise, well, not painful exactly, but i do think they have to challenge what you already believe, and pull you in directions you wouldn't naturally go in. as Norton alluded to though, you can have challenging experiences and still not get anything out of them if you don't reflect a little bit and consider what they have to teach you. too much introspection will probably stifle your ability to take constructive action, but too little and no experience will really mean anything, no matter how potentially useful.
    only my opinion of course :)
     
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  9. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Permanent Fixture

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    In this context:

    "An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others -- e.g.: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals."

    I think it overlaps with wisdom, as such distrust is usually gained through life experiences, and can be right (ie: wisdom on human nature). However, it can also be wrong in the cases where such beliefs do not accord with reality (ie: I might distrust you out of a cynical habit, even though you might be perfectly trustworthy). Likewise it since its the opposite of naivete (too much trust, which often changes due to wisdom transforming it into caution), I can see how cynicism might get mixed up with wisdom.


    "Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens"
    ~ Jimi Hendrix
     
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    #9 Zero Angel, Jul 29, 2010
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  10. just me

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    I seem to have noticed over the years wisdom to be associated with a broad generalization of things. Wisdom is more than awareness, and less than knowing everything. Wisdom is more than knowledge, but moreso knowing how to apply that knowledge for the best outcome concerning situations past, present, and future. Wisdom judges quickly in emergency situations, and takes its time when it is best to do so.

    Wisdom can be acquired from reading and having a high intellectual capacity, but most of said wisdom will be a little limited to the subjects studied or things pertaining to them.

    "In much sorrow is much wisdom." Who cannot relate to the things we learn through our times of sorrow and introspection?
    http://www.lifetv.org/Web_HTML/html/Commentary%20folder/Patience.htm

    "Tribulation works in us patience; and patience, experience..." That is the text I added in the above link, not meaning to get religious but wanting to share the wisdom in those words. Pain and suffering are forms of tribulation, and the more we go through the wiser we become if we are capable of wisdom. If we are wise, we eventually learn to be patient in those times rather than blowing up and losing it. Experience speaks for itself, but it is not always experience that brings wisdom. If a young person is wise, how much wiser will they be when they are older?
    Just some thoughts on wisdom, not a knowitall text. May try to add more as time permits.

    There are very many applications in the Bible, especially coming to mind King Solomon and the two women that were both claiming a baby to be theirs. He told them to bring the child and he would cut it in half so both could have the child. One woman said that sounded fair, but the other said the other woman could have the child rather than cut the child in half. Guess who he judged to have the child? You guessed right, as there was no cutting of a child ever intended. That was wisdom from above asked for when he could have anything so he could better rule the people for their betterment. Wisdom seeketh not her own!
     
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    #10 just me, Jul 29, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010
  11. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    When I was little I was told not to put my hands on fire. I intuitively understood this since I read it in books and my friends told me that it was dangerous. However, I was still confused how pain from being burned felt like, nothing on those books explained that. One day, I couldn't take it anymore since my curiosity was killing me so I did it, I got blisters. I cried for a long time and it hurt as hell. It was so painful, but when I placed that hand on that fire, I did no longer understood the concept of pain, but also I experienced it.

    In my opinion, pleasure and beauty don't teach you as much as pain and suffering. We take all the good things in life for granted, but when they're taken away from us, we begin to know what it is like to have less of it. Somebody once said that people who don't know pain can't know about peace and beauty. If we don't have something to compare something as good or bad; ugly or beautiful then it is impossible to know what each is like.

    Growing old just means that you've had the opportunity to experience more of the good and bad;the ugly and the beautiful and use those concepts to have a more meaningful insight into the nature of those experiences.
     
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  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan Community Member

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    I don't think it has much to do with age. Wisdom, I think, is the ability to understand life, and then live accordingly by making positive decisions and life choices because you know the negative alternative. You can understand many things without actually experiencing them; in fact, some people can imagine the experience, and then actually experiencing it doesn't add much, if anything, to their knowledge.

    Cynicism is widely regarded as wisdom because it's so discriminating that it allows for little error. I think that cynicism can come from wisdom, as past experience rules out trust in certain people or concepts. However, it can also be a way to play it safe and not make a mistake in your judgment, therefore making you appear wise when you actually are not. Wisdom can also be quite the opposite. Since you have good judgment, you are opened to a world of possibilities where you're not likely to make poor decisions; which could make you seem naive and overly trusting, when in fact you know what you're doing. This could be one reason why many wise intuitives are percieved as naive.

    Overall, I think it's definitely easier to become wise through age, but if you've devoted your time to learning, instrospection, observation, and/or just having a lot happen to you in your life, you can become wise at a very young age. There is so much age discrimination when it comes to wisdom, too. I know many people that are even younger than I am that are wiser than many adults.
     
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  13. Questingpoet

    Questingpoet Not Afraid to Use His Beard
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    My personal definition of wisdom is: experience + common sense (+ small dash of intelligence) = wisdom

    Of these three items, IMO the most important one is common sense. There are so many people of all ages that just don't have it. They let their quirks, their prejudices, or their selfishness get in the way. Commons sense is a combination of things, but it is often looked on as a lesser trait when compared to intelligence. I've know a lot of super smart "dummies", and a few really wise simple folk. I decided a long time ago I'd rather be reasonably intelligent and overly wise than the opposite.

    Some people can acquire wisdom with age. But it takes a certain outlook, and many will just never have that. Mostly I think it just takes the ability to say you are wrong, and the steel to push on and look for what is right. Many people never get past the being wrong stage. Here's a link to a thread I started on being Wise vs being Smart.

    http://forums.infjs.com/showthread.php?t=4734
     
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  14. alcyone

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    I had my wisdoms removed a couple of years ago.

    It was a fairly traumatic experience.
     
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  15. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    The Cynicism thing.

    I think at least part of wisdom is coming to see reality despite one's expectations. For people who in their youth are unrealistically optimistic, wisdom does probably come with some cynicism. For others who were cynical in their youth, wisdom comes with some new found optimism.

    I was and still am somewhat cynical by disposition, however, time and again I find myself with realistic optimism.
     
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  16. the

    the Si master race.
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    I totally agree with this and it is the same way with me.
     
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  17. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    I agreed with this. Wisdom can temper, balance one's expectations with realism and experience. Adding some, it can also give...stronger sense of your initial view towards life. By giving details, and a greater perspective towards life and reality. That things aren't so good or bad in life, or that things are that good or bad in life.

    Adding about age and experience; for me experience is one of the most important thing in building wisdom. Age only multiplies experiences one would experience in life.
     
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