|1. The principles of wisdom are not
only discernible by reason but engraved upon the heart. This is because
wisdom is part of human nature, which has evolved over millennia and is in
all people the same.|
2. One may ask, then, why all are not wise.
The answer is that all are wise to varying degrees, just as all are to
varying degrees intelligent, dexterous, creative, curious, and so
3. Wisdom guides our behavior so as to enable
the species to survive. It does this in two ways. First, since society is
the principal means of human survival, wisdom enables us to live with one
another in relative peace. Second, since reason and will lay before us
the alternative of suicide, wisdom enables us to attain happiness and
4. If experience were food, wisdom would be
taste, enabling us to distinguish good from bad. And although all are
endowed with taste, the education of taste enables one to make subtler
distinctions and finer judgments.
5. Similarly with wisdom: the principles are
inborn, but their application is much enhanced by upbringing, schooling,
reading, conversation, the cultivation of good habits, and the emulation
of the wise.
6. We are born with a taste for beauty and
goodness, finding in them our deepest and most lasting pleasure. This is
our gift as humans, though because of varying endowment and education we
enjoy this gift to varying degrees.
Attributes of Wisdom: Goal of Happiness
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