“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
– Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)
Wisdom is the first of the nine virtues applied by members of the ADF Druidry tradition. Before starting any research on the subject, I asked myself what could be the keywords associated with it. I’ve come to a conclusion that, in my opinion, wisdom is an amalgamation of knowledge, judgment, experience and patience. Afterward, I looked at the definition from the Oxford Dictionary:
WISDOM noun – The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
To my surprise, three of my keywords are in the Oxford definition, which can be pure luck or the fact that I understand that virtue well! I’m now looking at the definition included in the ADF Dedicant Manual:
WISDOM: Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.
This time, I noticed that the principle of decision is in both definitions. Now, I must ask myself why I did include the word ‘patience’ in my preliminary exercise. Based on the fact that the word ‘wisdom’ is translated into ‘sagesse’ in French, my native tongue language, I’ve always associated Wisdom with the classic imagery of an old sage. In my perception, a sage or a wise person is someone that takes the time to think about his next action or decision, which requires a lot of patience. I don’t really like the inclusion of the word “correct” from the ADF definition because making an action based on our own wisdom might not be seen as correct by people having a different opinion or point of view of the same situation. On the other hand, the Oxford definition seems emotionless! Since I can’t decide which definition I like the best, I decided to make my own:
WISDOM: The ability to use patience and judgment by taking the time to adequately analyze the people and the situations in order to make a decision or to give an advice based on our experience and our knowledge.
I added the word ‘analyze’ since, to me, it describe perfectly the way we regard a situation and understand it. In conclusion, I think Wisdom is a very important virtue to have, not only as a Druid, but as a human being. All our daily actions are based on our capacity to wisely make decisions, and cultivating such an ethical quality is to help our kind and the world surrounding us the best we can.
Word Count: 370 words (excluding the introductory, the Oxford and the ADF quotes)
- Corrigan, Ian. Our Own Druidry. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.
- Oxford Dictionary – “Wisdom“