wisdom in daily life


Wisdom arises in an emotion of love and is grounded in both systemic and linear thinking.  Wisdom happens with intelligence and results in ethical action.  In practice we have no difficulty distinguishing between what we see as wise and what appears clever, cunning, shrewd, or simply pontification.

It appears to me that those situations in which we distinguish wisdom always entail the following:

innocent and effortless

In the experience of its happening, wisdom arises as innocent and effortless.  It arises as the appropriate action of a caring, loving and thoughtful being, that is a human being who has grown in a loving, caring culture that creates space for curiosity and reflection.

Of course the extent of the implications of the wisdom will vary with the experiences of the person.  We can discern a “wise child” who acts according to all the above, but whose world is limited.  The reason why we often impute wisdom to elders is simply that they have had much more opportunity to live through many, many different circumstances and to generate the complex systemic matrix of understanding that this entails. 


            makes vision possible as nothing about the circumstance is denied through various forms of non-acceptance

without love one would not fully see
either the circumstances or the other

Systemic thinking:

           offers the richness in dimensionality and a responsiveness to context

without a systemic vision one would be
limited in domains, and see only logic

Local linear thinking:

            makes possible an action that will be relevant
(including, of course the action of stillness)

without linear thinking one would not be
able to design an action or approach

Systemic thinking again:

            enables the grasping of broader ripples
of the intended action

analysis and prediction doesn’t enable all the subtle experiences, the systemic knowing of coherences
to be “grasped” and taken into account

Ethical action:

            makes the choice one of focusing on the wellbeing of others, the direct supplicant (if there is one) but also the social and ecological context.

without care for the wellbeing of the other
the action could easily be selfish

four leaf clover

how do we learn wisdom?

Simply said: live in the appropriate manner and wisdom will arise.  It cannot be forced, it cannot be “taught” though it is learned in the same sense as a “student learns the teacher.”  

We inherit a long history of being fundamentally, biologically, loving beings who thrive in love.  We inherit an even longer history of systemic rationality, and on top of that a human history of language and a richness of relational domains. 

It is blind acceptance of rule and logic, and the misleading premise that intensity is the only dimension of intimacy, that can easily waylay us in the generation of personal wisdom.

“luck is unconscious wisdom”

This is another of Maturana’s observations, and as I reflect on it I see how this can be so.  Luck cannot be forced, it is always a matter of happenstance; a concurrence between a shifting dynamic systemic context our our systemic awareness of that.  In the happening we are alert to that timing, that element, that leads us on the “lucky path” -- and we do not see this path if we narrow our focus to look for it.

what is wisdom?