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What is Wisdom?

Below is an excerpt from “Quiet Mind, Meditative Mind and Emerging Wisdom: A Transtheoretical Model of the Wisdom Process,” written by Jean Kristeller:

Although the term ‘wisdom’ is most often associated with more profound choices or intellectual discourse, a broader model of wise choice or action posits that wisdom may appear within any realm of functioning, from everyday activities (wise eating; wise friendship) to the transcendent (spiritual wisdom). In fact, looking at wise choice within more mundane tasks may help us to understand the emergence of wisdom within loftier arenas. How do I balance desire for ice cream versus health concerns? Creating rules (“I’ll never eat ice cream again”) may seem a ‘wise’ decision, but it is far more challenging to leave oneself flexible to the complexity of the moment. It is in making an appropriate choice within that realm of complexity which may be a truer hallmark of wisdom. Therefore, it can be argued that there is no arena of human behavior or action which cannot be engaged ‘wisely’, rather than habitually or automatically.

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