The idea of wisdom is generally based on the understanding of the why and how. Beliefs about it vary between different people and different cultures. Most of it comes from watching and learning from others as well as ones own life experiences. In order to make appropriate choices, one must look at perceptions and knowledge about people, things, and life itself.
It was seen as one of the virtues by ancient Greeks. It was seen along the same lines as insight. Wise decisions came from analyzing the facts of what they know rather than go on emotion. It was important to know the difference between being rational and being emotional. Choices made by way of emotion were not considered to be smart. Instead, they would cloud rational thinking.
As in most circumstances, not every piece of information is available to us when faced with making a decision. A wise choice is made by putting all of the available pieces of knowledge together. Aristotle believed that wisdom was derived from understanding the causes of why things occur or why they exist.
Freethinkers agreed with Aristotle in terms of his belief that reason and experience was the backbone of this virtue. However, they also believed that intuition played a part as well. Along with this, they thought that spirituality had a role in helping one with appropriate decision making. All of these pieces together would lead to a much more intellectual decision.
These days, it is seen as something that is taught as well. There is so much that the past can teach and together with ones own prior knowledge and life experiences, wiser decisions can be made. A person can be faced with a challenge and have several options to choose from. A smart resolution comes from looking at all of the available options and choosing the one that leads to the best resolution.
Age and being wise are usually seen as being all in the same. Typically, the longer one lives, the wiser one is. This is not necessarily true because not everyone lives the same kind of life. It needs to be considered that people live different kinds of lives and are exposed to many different things. An old man who has been sheltered may not be as wise as the young man who has experienced much of the world.
Experience, knowledge, perception, insight, and reason are the basis of wisdom. With these also comes intellect. As long as choices are made for the better of a person or a situation, they can be thought of as wise decisions.
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