Given the earlier, practical, description of wisdom, the question arises, “How do we get wisdom?”
There are four essential acts that we must perform to gain wisdom, and each grows in importance as we climb to the more advanced forms of wisdom.
First, we must believe in wisdom. If we don’t believe in wisdom and if we don’t believe it matters, we won’t seek it. This sounds silly, but the truth is, very few people believe in it. Most people want their immediate tensions resolved, and that is all the wisdom they believe matters. But if you believe in truth, your immediate tensions take their place.
Believe in wisdom. Get wisdom.
Second, since wisdom really exists and since I don’t have it, and since wisdom is bound to truth, and since truth exists independently of me, I must begin my quest for wisdom by opening my eyes. It’s not enough to desire it. I must seek it. It is not enough to long for it. I must will it.
Open your eyes. Get understanding.
I speak of the powers of perception. Wisdom arises from seeing things as and for what they really are.
Third, since my eyes are cloudy, befogged, dysfunctional, once I open them I encounter discomfort and unease. I am confronted with a choice. I can either close my eyes again, or I can clean them.
If you would walk the path of wisdom, you must have your eyes cleaned. I speak of purity.
Fourth, if my eyes are open and cleaned, I still find that my vision is short and that the room is dark. I need to turn on the lights.
I speak of contemplation. With open and receptive eyes, I must behold what is (the truth), I must seek out its glory (the good), and I must love its radiance (the beautiful).
If I take this quest seriously, I have to begin at the simplest level. I should “simply” let the tree be a tree and not seek to insert it into my paradigm or worldview. I should let a story tell itself, so I can learn the truth of the story. I should let a painting be a painting first, not an expression of a philosophy.
We do see through paradigms, I understand that. But that is why we need our eyes cleaned. Wisdom submits to the nature of what it observes, knowing that there is no other way to know that thing.
For example, if I have a philosophy on what a woman should be and I continually impose it on my wife, spite of her nature, God help us both. If that philosophy does not arise from and cannot be corrected by actual women, then it is false, evil, and ugly.
It is not wise.
Wisdom that comes from above, therefore, is first gentle. It does not overthrow what it is learning about. It loves it. There is no other way to know anything.
Thus to become wise, we must begin by believing in wisdom, and with a vehement appetite, we must open our eyes, purify them, and turn on the lights.
And writing can help us do those things.