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Wisdom: What really it means

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: Mangkholun Touthang
Since I was a child, and since I came to know what’s good and bad, I’ve known and heard the word “wisdom” and I know it’s a good thing for a man to possess. One of the first prayers my teachers and parents taught me was the prayer for wisdom. And from my childhood, every time I pray, I would never forget to pray for wisdom. Wisdom is something which I consider one of the greatest human’s basic needs. So I was taught about wisdom and its significance, everything good and precious about it, but I had a problem with it. My problem was me not knowing the real meaning of wisdom, what it is, and what really are its uses. Maybe I wasn’t taught very well about it but I did have some serious problems with it. Questions like, “What does it mean for someone to have wisdom?”, “What does it mean to be wise and be cautious?”, “How does a person who possesses wisdom looks like?” Questions such as these arosed and perplexed me and it wasn’t until the age of 20 that I actually came to know the real meaning of it.
One of the things that confused me about wisdom was the fact that I couldn’t tell if a person was wise or stupid. “How does a person who possesses wisdom looks like?” People often say a man who possesses wisdom is free from intoxicants, is religious, is respectful to others, goes to school regularly, and does other good things such as these. On the contrary, a man could be a drunkard, mannerless and irreligious but because of his knowledge, skills and educational qualification people also say he has wisdom. What exactly do people who have wisdom look like then? It’s true there are a lot of people who have great knowledge and skills but are really negligent and reckless. But can we really accept they possess wisdom? Can we say they’re wise only because they possess great knowledge? Can a person who is respectful and humble be considered unwise or treated like he doesn’t have wisdom only because he doesn’t have high educational qualification and great knowledge? Now, I want to present my thoughts on how a wise man or a man who possesses wisdom looks like.
In this case, to me, having wisdom means having the strength and ability to control oneself from being addicted to things that are unhealthy. A person cannot be considered wise only because he possesses great knowledge. Drinking, smoking and carelessness are the result of being unable to control oneself and hence, anybody who has these vices cannot be considered wise despite their great intelligence and skills. But a person can be considered wise even if he doesn’t have any college degree or great knowledge but is able to restrain himself from things that are unhealthy, is careful and patient. For to have wisdom means to be respectful and obedient, and living a life that is acceptable to you and people around you. Having great knowledge alone is not sufficient. For if possessing great knowledge alone be enough to be wise then could the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler be considered a wise man? Absolutely not. He started the WWII, killed millions of people out of anger and hatred, and was really impatient and arrogant. He couldn’t control himself from being violent and bloodthirsty. But he was a man who possessed great knowledge and public speaking skills. But you already know what his mere knowledge and skills did to him and to the world. Only your great mind alone won’t make you a wise man, you have to be able to control yourself from things that are unhealthy and unacceptable.
Being grown up in a Christian family, I’ve read and been taught about the stories of the wisdom of King Solomon, the wisest man on the planet according to Bible. His wisdom surpassed everybody else’s and he is a role model to everybody who values wisdom. And so, to be wise like Solomon or to have even a little amount of the wisdom that he had has become a great need for me. I prayed for it, read about his wisdom stories, and read about how his wisdom lifts him up. But I just couldn’t feel it (the wisdom), I didn’t know what it feels like to have wisdom. Does having the wisdom of Solomon mean I’d be respected by everybody, I’d be famous, or I’d be treated like a king because of the wisdom? This might sound humorous to people who are more reasonable than me, but it really disturbed and confused me. But then I realised what having wisdom means. It means having the power to stay humble in every situation and not to be arrogant, to take all things, good and bad, the right way, to learn from even little things and things such as these. These are wisdom is all about. And I’m certain if somebody has these qualities, respect and other good things would follow him all the way.
Wisdom is also knowing the right thing to do and at the same time doing it. Many people know something is bad but they do it anyway which is not wise. The fact that you don’t drink and smoke inspite of some people being addicted to alcohol and cigarette is wisdom. You know if you smoke or drink it’ll have serious negative impacts to your body. You wake up early in order to be healthy although it feels good to keep sleeping. That is wisdom. You spend more time on reading books although it feels good to play games on your phone. You go to the library in lieu of wasting your free period because you know sitting in the library enriches your knowledge. These are some of the characteristics of wisdom. In short, to have wisdom means to act and think wise.

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