I think wisdom is the easiest virtue to reflect on. This is not because it’s the most common, and it may not be the most important, but I believe it’s probably the one most mention in mainstream, non-pagan life.

Wisdom is often either confused or contrasted with knowledge. I believe the two are related, but not the same. Certainly, I don’t believe that you can exercise wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom, I think, is the judicial application of knowledge previously gained.

Applied to a specific situation — say, a conflict of wills with my son — I think the knowledge is the essential precursor to wisdom. What do I know about the specific conflict? What do I know about my son and his present state? What do I know about myself and how cognizant am I of my own present state? I don’t think there’s a realistic end to the list of questions I could ask here: what do I know about psychology? How well have I prepared my son to understand my expectations?

By this point, it should be clear that we don’t often enumerate the knowledge required by a situation. But I do believe it is there, and, when wisdom is being exercised, relevant knowledge should certainly be incorporated into the application.

Wisdom is the process by which I — ideally — combine all that information into a best course for the immediate future. Will I be especially strict and inflexible, because I think my children need to obey immediately in certain circumstances (there are no discussions about whether or not to get out of the stree, we just never stop in the street) or will I opt for a different tact and explain to my child what I think might be the best course of action and why. . . but let them make that experience for themselves?

Well the information available is combined well into a course of action, then wisdom has been exercised. Unfortunately, in conflicts with my children, I have to say that wisdom is a faculty I seem to mostly have in hindsight.

The above is basically my understanding of wisdom as a virtue, before I begin considering it in a pagan context. This will, of course, eventually inform what I write in my eventual Dedicant’s Path submission.


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