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FRIENDSOFWISDOM  May 2006

FRIENDSOFWISDOM May 2006

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Subject:

Re: What next?

From:

Mathew Iredale <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Group concerned that academia should seek and promote wisdom <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 18 May 2006 15:23:03 +0100

Content-Type:

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text/plain (59 lines)

I must admit that I am somewhat surprised by some of the recent comments. 

Nick makes it very clear in the left hand column of his website (and that 
of the Friends of Wisdom website) what the Friends of Wisdom stand for. 

He begins:

“This is an association of people sympathetic to the idea that academic 
inquiry should help humanity acquire more wisdom by rational means.” 

Central to this, surely, is the view that wisdom can be taught, contrary to 
the view of several correspondents, for how else can you help people 
acquire wisdom if you cannot teach them what it is? 

I also find the suggestion that wisdom is something that people either have 
or do not have to be quite baffling. Surely this makes wisdom a capricious 
thing? Not something to be valued, cherished and above all encouraged in 
others. Unless, that is, we are talking about a definition of wisdom quite 
at odds with what I take wisdom to be. 

But we do not need to go round in circles trying to reach a definition, for 
Nick provides one in his very next sentence,

“Wisdom is taken to be the capacity to realize what is of value in life, 
for oneself and others. It includes knowledge, understanding and 
technological know-how, and much else besides.” 

This is not supposed to be THE definition of wisdom, as Nick has stated on 
several occasions, but rather just ONE definition, a concise way of saying 
that we should be encouraging academia (and everyone, really) to explore 
what is of value in life, for ourselves and others, how it can be achieved, 
and how we can encourage others to share in this endeavour. Having said 
that, I think that it is as good a general definition of wisdom as I have 
come across. 

A further point is that explicit within the definition (“It includes 
knowledge, understanding and technological know-how, and much else 
besides.”) is the view that wisdom CAN be defined, that it can be 
quantified, at least to a certain degree, that it is not some unreachable, 
spiritual, Karma-like state, which seems to be the view of some the 
commentators.


So, in short, this is what the Friends of Wisdom stands for: 

An association of people sympathetic to the idea that academic inquiry 
should help humanity acquire the capacity to realize what is of value in 
life, for oneself and others.

Call it wisdom, call it humanity, call it what you like, but let us please 
get on with the important business of deciding how we can put it into 
action!

As I have already suggested to Nick, I think that the first step is to 
create a clear constitution of some kind - any thoughts on this most 
welcome.  

Mat Iredale

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