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wisdom and the lack thereof - a philosophical or spiritual matter?

Phoenix

People IRL often point out how smart I am, and in effect admit they're not as smart. Often I try to correct their perception, pointing out that intellectual intelligence is hardly the sole measure of a person's virtue, for example there's physical intelligence (athletes, martial artists, etc), emotional intelligence, social intelligence (good with people / can read people), sense of humor, determination, passion, patience, compassion, intuition, courageousness, honesty, creativity, etc, all sorts of other positive attributes. But I say this for their benefit, and what I don't mention is that overall I believe wisdom encompasses and transcends all these things, and I think it's crucial to distinguish between intelligence and wisdom.

I believe the roots of wisdom are a great mystery, perhaps more evident when wisdom is highly manifest in a person--I consider myself wise and understand the nature of wisdom--but less evident in terms of the nature of the disconnect or separation between the potential of wisdom and the state of severe lack of wisdom present in so many people. Spiritual understanding through the ages does much to clarify the nature of wisdom per se, but the nature of its lacking seems far more ambiguous, as exemplified in the popular notion that advanced spiritual discourse can be understood by less-wise people only very poorly, and when seeking to impart wisdom to these people then the language and style of writing used must be formulated very specifically, perhaps being one of the finest and most delicate arts there is. To navigate the other person's ego so masterfully that the words you choose are indeed the perfect ones to hit the other person precisely behind the elaborate maze of their ego's defenses.

One of the most puzzling questions I encounter is what made me special so that I could realize this state of awareness I have; like when soldiers come home from war and ask themselves why were they spared. Was it sheer luck? I know I only truly existed once I attained self-realization, everything before then was an incomplete circle, fundamentally different on so many levels. It was not at all a steady, linear progression, there was most certainly a series of--or perhaps for clarity's sake a singular--instance of a singularity, black hole, that which does not conform and cannot possibly be expressed with previous terms or previous concepts. I continue to search for the best way to express this transcendent element of the human experience in terms and concepts understandable to others, and while I believe I've made progress it remains a challenge.

I know the importance of philosophical awareness is championed on this forum, but I wonder to what extent this includes spiritual awareness in terms of actual wisdom (some posters subscribe to Hindu spiritual views I believe)? For example, how can it be said that some people are genetically inferior, if we do not understand the link between the state of wisdom and the state of lack of wisdom? Considering intellectual intelligence and all the other positive attributes I mentioned before, what combination of these qualities are necessarily required, if any, in order for the possibility of ever attaining spiritual wisdom to be honestly realistic? Is a quality of actual wisdom itself also passed on in a person's heredity, except not through their genetic heredity but their spiritual heredity (I know many posters on this forum subscribe to the notion of reincarnation)? Or how, whether or not wisdom is inherited or acquired in life or both, how does this wisdom manifest in modern times--isn't it perfectly plausible to hypothesize those who are the wisest often have the least success coping with modern society and thus develop the gravest psychological ailments and appear for all intents and purposes to be some of the least wise?

I share your view. Merely possessing some absolute measure of intelligence means little. Some people just find it easier to think of things in terms of rigid quantification, perhaps the opposite idea gains traction that way. I do think that intellectual or academic intelligence (whatever you want to call it), is something that should be praised; partly just so that it may be allowed to refine itself. More relevant for pedagogy than a philosophical discourse anyway.

I don't agree with the notion expressed that "less wise" people absorb spiritual concepts very poorly. Rather, a lot of the mental "infrastructure" (in terms of learned things, experience) required to appreciate certain discourse is not naturally present, or remains uncultivated, in a portion of the population. If it is possible (and it is) to transmit the discourse, even using specifically crafted language, then some capability to understand must exist. This is more an argument for clarity of communication than for stratification of wisdom, but I do not deny the existence of a divide. They may not be able to appreciate them as easily, but essential truths beg to be expressed and understood.

Quote from: §Transcix
isn't it perfectly plausible to hypothesize those who are the wisest often have the least success coping with modern society and thus develop the gravest psychological ailments and appear for all intents and purposes to be some of the least wise?

That's quite a series of hypotheses! Let's see. Those who are wisest often have the least success coping with modern society: Debateable, I would question a definition of wisdom that allowed for inability to cope with society. That must be an element of wisdom.
Those who have little success in coping with society develop psychological ailments: Credible, but what do you mean by psychological ailments specifically?
People who have little success in coping with society appear to be less wise: See first.

Neither. It is a hereditary matter.

In earlier haste I neglected to respond to the meat of the post:

For example, how can it be said that some people are genetically inferior, if we do not understand the link between the state of wisdom and the state of lack of wisdom? In this regard, it cannot be. It is a gigantic leap..

Considering intellectual intelligence and all the other positive attributes I mentioned before, what combination of these qualities are necessarily required, if any, in order for the possibility of ever attaining spiritual wisdom to be honestly realistic? No idea, but certainly a combination and not any single one (even freakishly enhanced)

Is a quality of actual wisdom itself also passed on in a person's heredity, except not through their genetic heredity but their spiritual heredity (I know many posters on this forum subscribe to the notion of reincarnation)? As elements of wisdom have provable hereditary links, a base level of potential is certainly hereditary. Beyond this, the link is tenuous. Even in strictly biological terms, expression of genetic factors is often a consequence of environment. What do you mean by spiritual heredity? An essential quality passed down directly from biological ancestors or the spiritual awareness present within one's culture/heritage?

Phoenix


I don't agree with the notion expressed that "less wise" people absorb spiritual concepts very poorly. Rather, a lot of the mental "infrastructure" (in terms of learned things, experience) required to appreciate certain discourse is not naturally present, or remains uncultivated, in a portion of the population. If it is possible (and it is) to transmit the discourse, even using specifically crafted language, then some capability to understand must exist. This is more an argument for clarity of communication than for stratification of wisdom, but I do not deny the existence of a divide. They may not be able to appreciate them as easily, but essential truths beg to be expressed and understood.

Perhaps they understand it in a sense, but I find it's like that carnival game where you have a giant hammer and must hit the thing as soon as it pops up from the hole, but then immediately once you've gotten it another one pops up from another hole to take its place. Another excuse, a shift of blame, it doesn't bring any conclusive resolution. And eventually you run out of quarters.

Quote from: §Transcix
isn't it perfectly plausible to hypothesize those who are the wisest often have the least success coping with modern society and thus develop the gravest psychological ailments and appear for all intents and purposes to be some of the least wise?

That's quite a series of hypotheses! Let's see. Those who are wisest often have the least success coping with modern society: Debateable, I would question a definition of wisdom that allowed for inability to cope with society. That must be an element of wisdom.
Those who have little success in coping with society develop psychological ailments: Credible, but what do you mean by psychological ailments specifically?
People who have little success in coping with society appear to be less wise: See first.

I'm speaking in terms of the depth which one sees, the extent to which one recognizes the world around them as the wretched wasteland it truly is. If you don't see what's wrong, if you're blissfully ignorant, then it's fairly easy to bear. But with wisdom may come increased capacity for adaptability, the question is if this increase is outpaced by another increase that also comes with wisdom, the increase in clarity of vision of the surrounding world around you in all its gaping faults.

Is a quality of actual wisdom itself also passed on in a person's heredity, except not through their genetic heredity but their spiritual heredity (I know many posters on this forum subscribe to the notion of reincarnation)? As elements of wisdom have provable hereditary links, a base level of potential is certainly hereditary. Beyond this, the link is tenuous. Even in strictly biological terms, expression of genetic factors is often a consequence of environment. What do you mean by spiritual heredity? An essential quality passed down directly from biological ancestors or the spiritual awareness present within one's culture/heritage?

For what I mean here, think of supposed 'indigo children' for example. The awareness cultivated throughout previous reincarnations, or whatever their identity was when they chose to come to earth in reincarnation from wherever they were living before (other astral worlds, etc), is this a form of heredity whereby not all humans start out the same way? Some have different types of spirit, soul, energetic bodies, or whatever you want to call it. Also the question arises, do they then naturally reincarnate into a body with superior genes?

Neither. It is a hereditary matter.

Genetic heredity, or some type of non-physical heredity? I seem to recall you talking about Hinduism on this forum in the past... would that not factor in?

What neural wiring or platform one inherits. Sure, during the course of life, different programs can get loaded onto the platform (culture and education and these vary in quality as well) but the effectiveness of these extrinsic inputs would be limited by the neural platform itself. Poor breeding brings ruin.

The human nervous system exhibits plasticity, so this is not entirely credible biologically at least. It is possible to "grow" faculty. One example; a person trained in a musical instrument will develop new connections that permit him to perform the range of tasks required. Can it be said that this does not extend to other, deeper matters?

You're arguing that a retarded person, given enough years in excellent music classes, is highly likely, thanks to neural plasticity, to be the next Vivaldi? This is biologically credible?

No, that's not the point that's being made, I don't think.  The retarded person may become a great instrumentalist, but, in order to have a hope of becoming the next Vivaldi, they'd have to be given classes on "how to develop a creative idea about the world and subsequently express that idea (through the medium of Baroque music) in a sensible and enjoyable fashion".  Needless to say, nobody gives classes like that, and I personally doubt they'd be very effective if a retard were the student.

You're arguing that a retarded person, given enough years in excellent music classes, is highly likely, thanks to neural plasticity, to be the next Vivaldi? This is biologically credible?

I am not saying a retard can produce a work of genius. I find the other extreme just as silly. A person with actual mental defect would lack too much of the platform you mentioned. To become the next Vivaldi, merely excellent music classes would not suffice; but a cultivation of a similar creative spirit. There is an element of genius there as well, which could not be cultivated. Cargést expressed it well. As an aside, is it really that hard to believe some initially tin-eared dumbass could produce music of worth?

In any case, the example of music was chosen because it occured first, to illustrate the effect. The effect is fact. I don't deny that heredity plays a role, it may even play an important role, but to consider it an absolute is just flipping liberal dogma over and should be rejected. The specific point was a rejection of this statement: "the effectiveness of these extrinsic inputs would be limited by the neural platform itself." Since the platform is itself alterable, provably so, how do you resolve this? Please clarify.

Phoenix

The human nervous system exhibits plasticity, so this is not entirely credible biologically at least. It is possible to "grow" faculty. One example; a person trained in a musical instrument will develop new connections that permit him to perform the range of tasks required. Can it be said that this does not extend to other, deeper matters?

I believe Scourge is really saying that however neuroplastic the brain is, it doesn't change one's genes, therefore to forward the species we shouldn't ignore genetics and rely on neuroplasticity more and more as the gene pool suffers, rather we should ameliorate the gene pool and then still use neuroplasticity on top of that. Scourge is considering wisdom in terms of the whole species, not individuals. He's talking about the long-term generational source of wisdom.

If he truly wants to kill the weak, if he truly walks the sinister path, I wish he would just come right out with it, I would respect his stance then. But resorting to logical fallacies and internet trolling is hardly a mark of the sinister path. His cause does not offend me, but his actions on this forum do not advance his cause, and render discourse and debate sterile, this is my trouble. If he defends the evolution of the human gene pool, I defend the evolution of the human marketplace of ideas.