Today’s first reading on Wisdom struck a deep chord in me. It was not so much in its listing of the benefits of Wisdom or in its presentation of Wisdom as a woman as in the fact that the readings challenged one to reflect deeper on the true meaning and indicators of Wisdom.
What then is wisdom? Is it knowledge? Is it accumulated knowledge? Is it applied knowledge used for problem solving purposes? Is it intelligence, good sense, proper discernment, ability to navigate moral and social dilemmas, pragmatism, context dependent decision making, love of God born from fatalism, accommodation of neighbour driven by instrumental transactional considerations?
What then is this wisdom? Is it cognitive intelligence with a strong lacing of emotional intelligence? How would Igbo, my mother tongue help in getting me to the conceptual clarity that I seek? The Igbos have the following words that relate in some way or the other to the word WISDOM. They are Ako, Uche, Izu, Amamihe, Mmuta, Nwota, Echiche oma….. Which of these best translates wisdom? Or is wisdom nothing else but the breath of God’s spirit blowing in us and showing us the way to true and enduring values and choices?
I do not have answer but I can identify the absence of Wisdom whenever I come across it. The absence of Wisdom manifests itself by its lack of humility, by the presence of hubris caused by hamartia, by arrogance, by pride, by gross insensitivity, insolence, absence of empathy and emotional intelligence and excessive self focus. These vices were part of Donald Trump’s undoing – a reality which reminds us that victory is always in the long run with those who possess wisdom and who seek after her. Theirs shall be the fruits promised in Galatians 5: 22-23.