Peace and Healing

A Perspective of Traditional and Non-Traditional Methods of Healing


What is wisdom?

Wisdom the ability to use one’s knowledge, judgement, and experience to implement that knowledge in making decisions and to derive at the right answer. I have been asked is wisdom and knowledge power. Well, we need to define power. Power so often, has such an ugly connotation. If one defines power as the ability to control, use others to one’s advantage and not refer to strength than that is counterproductive to the greater good. If  one defines power as an ability to elicit change, positive change in the sense of influencing happiness, education, giving individuals choice on views and presenting options as in raising their children, then power has a good , a beneficial connotation. Knowledge must be a principle to obtain wisdom. This seems universally clear. Is knowledge academic prowess? Does there need to be a degree, an academic level of achievement to have wisdom. If I want my appendix out due to it’s chance of rupturing I clearly want a knowledgeable, individual with experience and wisdom. It is ever so clear to this author that academic achievement is NOT related to power or wisdom. Many of the most influential men and women I have encountered that I perceived as powerful, as well as having wisdom had not obtained an academic degree, and excelled in teaching life’s lessons. They were caring, giving, and very bright when it came to life’s pitfalls and uprisings.

Wisdom then is the knowledge one possess to obtain an answer that has an outcome of correctness of being right when solving a problem or reaching a resolution. Wisdom DOES NOT necessarily need an academic degree. In order to obtain wisdom one must have experiential learning and knowledge. Wisdom also is the ability to assess humility, for humility MUST be a key component. A wise individual without humility is the professor, the mechanic, the physician and the lawyer that does not learn from their client or their population seeking help. Learn from your experience with others, obtain knowledge wisdom will follow and you will not be aware it has arrived.

How can one possess wisdom without academic achievement?

When I was a young boy around seven-years-old my father would drive me out to the country to buy some mink scent. He would use this scent to lure mink to traps along his trap-line. The money he made from the sales of  furs in the fifties and sixties helped with groceries and such staples for our home. The first few times I went I stayed in the truck and was not allowed out. The home where this man lived was a shack. From the outside sheets of bent aluminum, two by fours, plywood, and a large tank supported one end as smoke billowed from the aluminium chimney.When I eventually got to meet Mr. Thorton, he was a wiry thin man, unkempt, and fully bearded. He had bib overalls with tattered holes, as his red long underwear dotted through, as blood stains on a shot animal. The shack had a dirt floor, wood stove, cot and furs hanging from the rafters, the stench was of cherry wood mixed with raw skins curring in the winter air.

This man had not even a grade-school education and was a true wilderness man in the small hills of southern Illinois. My father spoke to me of his want to stock lakes, never took more game than he should, studied animal behavior for hours and went on and on telling me how he respected how smart he was with wildlife. Specifically trapping, fishing, tracking, and why certain animals do certain behaviors. He was the Henry David Thoreau of southern Illinois. This man was wise, he was giving back to nature so other could benefit, he had knowledge, and he had no degree. When he passed away my father tells me there were only two people at his wake. Can one possess wisdom without a degree, most definitely. I know men who have retired with an eighth grade education by starting a garbage business and putting their family first, reveling in gardening, hunting and fishing. Wisdom takes effort, time, and experience. An academic degree can help in many areas, but it can also hinder. I have had numerous individuals disagree stating, “there is no wasted education.” An exclusionary statement of this sort is ludicrous, I have seen too many waste their education to fulfill someone else’s dream.

Is wisdom power?

What is power? As addressed earlier, power is a loaded word filled with ugly thoughts and connotations. Power is not the dictatorial father who waves discipline with a fist, scarring a child in submission, power is not, the politician who dreams of being in control wearing his three piece suit, driving his power car, while you may catch a glisten of a three-thousand dollar Breitling watch. Wisdom is recognizing you may not have power, but influence to teach, to give back to make the next generation better. That is power. Wisdom is powerful only if one recognizes they are humble enough to see that there are many more wise, and fools of fools may teach them more than the Ph.D. economics professor. ( I use fool in the context that many see homeless as fools and uneducated) Yes, the fool living in his car may teach you more due to his mistakes and life errors than the professor, for his story is filled with passion and emotion of pain. Wisdom is power when you recognize you do not need the power to elicit change. When you drive down a country road in the Spring and you just may see an elderly couple tilling the land for the upcoming garden. You might witness small children walking behind playing in the dirt, and making their tiny foot prints in the fresh soil. It is those grandparents teaching those children how to plant those seeds, when to water, when to fertilize and enjoying watching the growth of a new crop and when to harvest. That is wisdom, that is paying it forward to the next generation. Wisdom is knowing that we MUST carry our teachings over, we MUST tell the stories of the past. No degree, just time, a loving heart and hopefully a pair of ears to hear.

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