What Is The Best Way To Increase Wisdom?

The road to wisdom? Well, it’s plain and simple to express: Errand err again but less and less and less.

~ Hein, Piet

A person called Matt writes:

What is the best way to increase wisdom? Rote reading? To be able to apply wisdom, we must first know it, see it works, then we can own it, though repetition is the only way I know for that 3rd step. The goal being a fearless, tranquility, and freedom.

The following excerpt from the blog post ‘Increasing Wisdom’ attempts to answer Matt’s imperative question on applying wisdom in life:

There are a number of interesting leads in this. I also like the last sentence, proposing an ends to increasing wisdom. Is this the purpose of wisdom; to allow us to be fearless, tranquil, and free?

The question about rote reading and talk about learning something, applying it, and ‘owning it’ seem to imply that wisdom is knowledge – more specifically, that wisdom is knowledge of a large set of algorithms or procedures which we can first memorize, then apply for specific effects.

This doesn’t seem right to me. Knowledge, or perhaps life experience, is certainly helpful in living a happy life. But in reality, knowledge itself is a commodity, and to assume that we increase wisdom by our accumulation of knowledge, seems to me dangerously similar to thinking that we can increase wisdom by our accumulation of material goods, friends, or status.

Are educated people more wise than people lacking formal educations? Can I become more wise by reading Plato, Socrates, Epictetus, Kant, and Hume – or by reading the various self help books of our age? Maybe these things, if learned and applied, might improve our skill of ‘life practice’, but that still doesn’t seem like wisdom to me.

Read More: Increasing Wisdom

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