Without wisdom, knowledge is either useless or destructive.

Without wisdom, knowledge is either useless or destructive.

Knowledge is defined as facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. 

As we progress through school, we are programmed to input knowledge using a host of methodologies. Reading, listening, watching, doing and reviewing. All of this ultimately leads to testing so that we may better prove both to others and to ourselves that we have absorbed the information.

Many topics provide us with knowledge of things that we feel we may never use. We can recite facts and figures, recount tales of the past, studies of others, and facts acquired by teams of people, but in a majority of cases, this knowledge has very little impact on our day to day lives. It may enrich us, stimulate us, give us cause to have greater understandings of the bigger pictures in life. But for the most part, it does not feed us, clothe us or put a roof over our heads.

Wisdom comes from deeper understandings. It is the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Wisdom gives us pause to consider. It enables us to process all of that knowledge and apply it properly so that we might discover deeper understandings from which we may provide for ourselves and our family.

As our education system in this country pressed ever harder towards knowledge-based curricula, our society turned out more fact-oriented students, who were less able to engage in the real world, because many of the lessons in wisdom had been reduced in favor of finding a one-curriculum-fits-all solution to process the masses. The casualty of such a plan is that the reasoning and logic that must be applied to the knowledge was so dramatically reduced that both inductive and deductive logic were less important to learn than the ability to recite facts and figures.

If we look at societies in which knowledge is paramount, but wisdom is essential, we observe a dynamic in the family that demonstrates that the focused discipline of maintaining a wise culture within the family will breed greater results across the board. In the cultures and households that value both education and wisdom, we find more engaged discussions at home, more concerned parents who interact appropriately with their kids and a general drive to succeed through application of “the wisdom of the ages.” In homes where this is severely lacking, we see exactly the contrary…. Higher crime, greater depression, overwhelming sadness for the quality of life that they must endure.

By the time we hit the world stage, we see the final aspect of our paradigm… knowledge without wisdom is destructive. Witness Putin. He is most probably very bright, but his wisdom is subject to scrutiny. In making the choices he is making currently, he has put hundreds of millions of people’s lives at risk, solely for a land grab that has very little importance to anyone who is not an oligarch, standing in the wings, waiting to rape and pillage the fruits of the labor of others. I know nothing about Putin or his upbringing, but I can surmise (using wisdom) that the values that his parents imparted to him as a child did not include compassion, empathy, or respect for others. Instead, he grew up being programmed with the morsels of anger, fury, judgement and entitlement that have led to him bringing the entire world to the edge of destruction, in a quest to pursue a greed-driven outcome that can only resolve in a lose/lose for humanity. Whether it is steroids that are driving him to this level of madness, or otherwise, we are all in a substantial predicament waiting to see how the world can bring this man to reckoning. 

In closing, I believe the greatest of gifts that we may give our children would have to be wisdom. One may argue that the greatest of gifts would have to be love, and perhaps that may be so, but I will still argue on behalf of wisdom. Putin, Hitler and Stalin may have felt loved by their parents, I do not know. But had their parents spent time giving them a grounded education with a foundation in humanity, compassion and an understanding of how others are thinking and working to make their lives a better place, imagine how different our world might be today.

Happy Friday! 

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Written by Brian Weiner
When I was 5 years old, I discovered that the lemon tree in the backyard + dixie cups + water and sugar and I was in business. I have been hooked on that ever since. In 1979, I borrowed $14,000 to create a brand new product... photographic greeting cards with no text on the inside, called Paradise Photography. That was the start of The Illusion Factory. Since then, The Illusion Factory has been entrusted by all of the major studios and broadcasters with the advertising and marketing of over $7 billion in filmed, live, broadcast, gaming, AR, VR and regulated gaming forms of entertainment, generating more than $100 Billion in revenue and 265 awards for creativity and technology for our clients. When I took a break from film school at UCLA to move to Hawaii, my mother did not lecture me. Instead, she took 150 of her favorite aphorisms and in her beautiful calligraphy, wrote them artistically throughout a blank journal. That is the origin of the Lessons from the Mountain series. Since then, on my journeys to the top of a mountain to watch the sunrise, I have spent countless hours contemplating words of wisdom from the sages of all races, genders and political persuasions, constantly accumulating the thoughts to guide me on my life path. I hope you enjoy my books. Please let me know your thoughts, as I highly value your feedback!