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Wisdom
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Wisdom

WISDOM 

To start with, we must differentiate between 'wisdom' and 'wise.' The former is all-encompassing: a person is said to be endowed with wisdom when he has enough experience and knowledge, usually aquired during a long stretch of time, to be able to express himself with self-assurance, impressing upon his audience the well-founded logic supporting his advice. He is said to be a sage, a word derived from Latin: to know (by experience). The same root is applied to H. sapiens, to which species we belong. A wise person, on the other hand, is one that possesses wisdom, to be sure, yet a 'wise' decision doesn't convey the impression that the person involved is endowed with general wisdom, but that his action was crowned with success. Wise persons are frequently of a mature age, being then qualified as "elders," which in Latin possesses a root applied to the Senate: consider the word "senility," meaning old age. Thus the expression, Council of the Elders. An earlier, Greek name for such a council gave origin to the name 'Sanhedrin.' Israel's Parliament is called 'Knesset' derived from 'congregate.' In the USA, the term used is 'Congress,' with the House of Representatives being called the Senate.

What characterizes people possessing wisdom? The answer is: Knowledge, so vast, that their minds are capable of analyzing a given problematic situation from several angles, finding connections with similar situations, knowing the possible pitfalls, as learned from previous failures. These people obviously are of certain advanced age, inquisitive, and interested in sharing their knowledge with younger generations. The Hebrew word for Wisdom derives from the Semitic root utilized in reference to a physician, who in earlier times was considered as the most knowledgeable person. In Arabic, the same word (Khakeem) refers to both a sage and a doctor. In fact, "doctor," in Latin, means "knowledgeable." Doctrine means authoritative teaching. Ph.D. is 'Philosophy Doctor,' a title that has no relation with philosophy, the acceptation being, "A person capacitated to teach the subject of his specialization."

The prime requisite for wisdom is knowledge, which in turn is made of a body of information, not of a transient character --lacking in applicability-- but valid for all thinking persons, constituting facts to be reckoned with. To inform --from a Latin root-- means to give form, to animate; obviously, information has to be transmitted. Transmission is usually understood as sending information from one point to another, the recipient being now able to read or see the message. The most common way to do that is from word of mouth. Yet, from a evolutionary angle, the reader is reminded that animals pass on information, and not only by means of sounds, but even by dancing. Pheromones are odoriferous signals, serving to exchange information originating from certain animals and plants. Living creatures not only exchange information; they are able to receive information from non-living sources: life depends on tropism and other ways of receiving information in the form of energy. The energy from the sun's electromagnetic radiations is captured, to be finally stored as ATP, to be dispensed as need arises. All information is composed by ordered strings of signals. Thus, signals stand at the bare bottom of what by dint of evolution will be called Wisdom, at the level of Homo sapiens.

There are artificial, man-made signals, which not necessarily will be followed by a response. Here we are interested in natural signals, which are responded to at the following levels: intra-atomic (being part of quantum mechanics signaling), atomic (allowing for the creation of molecules), molecular (giving rise to the immense corpus of complex compounds), and then to the chemical complexity that creates the biological compounds necessary for life. Thus, Wisdom is the result of an evolutionary chain starting with the first signal ever. Since the first signal was the one that started the Big Bang, no wonder sages are highly regarded by informed members of humanity.

 
Information is effective only when it serves as the basis for communication. The recipient may respond to the sender, creating an intercommunication, serving as feed-back, whether positive or negative. The feedback may be provided at a later step in the communication rank. In human terms, a dialogue is established, which ends with the absence of positive feedback. Without communication, no complex organization can be created. Yet there is another essential component: memory, which may be considered as the 'soul' of communication. Otherwise, communication would stop at an early stage, to be repeated endlessly. To start from a molecular stage of evolution, it would appear that complex proteins, most likely enzymes, were the first step in the biochemical --further on, biological-- configuration of memory imprints. Eventually, the genes became the basic repositories of cell memory. Genes respond to signals, by either increasing or decreasing the mechanism for the creation of their respective products, proteins, which will play their respective signaling role. It was much later in evolution that the specific memories of the whole individual organisms were established at the level of neurons, eventually allowing for the development of personal Wisdom.