Who is your nominee for wise person?


Active Member
May 23, 2007
Who is your nominee for wise person?

Some consider that wisdom is “seeing life whole”

John Henry Newman wrote that the pursuit of knowledge will "draw the mind off from things which will harm it," and added that it will renovate man's nature by rescuing him "from that fearful subjection to sense which is his ordinary state."

Modern parents and students want universities and colleges to focus on matters of importance; how to get a good job. It seems that few recognize that education has an extrinsic and an intrinsic value. The extrinsic value is contained within the fact that a practical education is the key to making a better living.

What is the intrinsic value of learning? Why study history or literature or religion? Of what value is philosophy? Why study logic or how to think when I only care about learning how to build a bridge? Of what value is it for me to become a critically self-conscious thinker?

Everybody comprehends how the intellect can be used to build bridges, or repair a broken bone, or be an accountant but our culture has slowly removed from our comprehension the purpose of an ordered intellect in matters of providing meaning and purpose to life.

It appears that the mind has its own ‘grammar’ (system of rules). Many forms of thinking, i.e. math and music or logic, help us construct a solid structure for exercising this grammar. Other types of knowledge, i.e. history, help us because we understand the present through analogies with the past.

Creativity is greatly enhanced by the cross-fertilization of multiple sources and kinds of knowledge. The broad scope afforded by a liberal education prepares us to see things in ‘the whole’; we see things holistically (in combination, in completeness, not dissected or fragmented).

I think that there are at least three forms of intellection: textual intellection is what we do when we reason in text form, artistic intellection is reasoning in artistic form, and practical intellection is what we do in our day-to-day living.

I think that one must acquire a significant degree of understanding in each of these three forms of intellection to qualify for the distinction of “seeing life whole”.

How do I ‘get ready’ for becoming wise?

It seems to me that to see life whole I must learn a great deal more than I already have learned but I must start with where I presently am. I am convinced that learning new stuff requires three aspects of mind; mentally I must have curiosity, caring, and an orderly mind.

Understanding is necessary for wisdom. Understanding is a step beyond knowing and is seldom required or measured by schooling. Understanding is generally of disinterested knowledge, i.e. disinterested knowledge is an intrinsic (due to the nature of the self) value. Disinterested knowledge is not a means but an end. It is knowledge I seek because I desire to know it. I mean the term ‘disinterested knowledge’ as similar to ‘pure research’, as compared to ‘applied research’. Pure research seeks to know truth unconnected to any specific application.

Winston Churchill is my nomine for wise man. He was an accomplished painter, he was a historian with many books to his credit, and he was accomplished broadly in practical intellection as he demonstrated in his political career.