Wisdom for Today

by on Sunday, 27 August 2006 Comments
What is wisdom? The answer might partly differ according to times, religions and cultures. But there is a core understanding of what wisdom means for humankind. Wisdom is a capacity to act in a way that respects and develops one’s nature without harming oneself nor the other. Wisdom is not a theoretical body of knowledge; it is a practice as well as a meditation on this practice. It is a set of principles and attitudes that helps one to be fully human and to live one’s life with inner peace and rectitude.

Human wisdom has been expressed in many ways throughout the ages. However, a specific moment has had a particular significance: Indian, Greek, Chinese and Jewish cultures all developed a remarkable body of texts and practices on wisdom around 2,500 years ago. This period was a turning point for all humankind. Since then, the writings and examples of the Great Sages have influenced the course of human history.

We might be at another turning point: scientific and technological developments, the acceleration of human history, the coming of globalization raise serious challenges for traditional wisdoms. They may have been relevant for traditional, agrarian societies, but do Confucius, Laozi, Socrates or the author of the Bible’s “Book of Wisdom’ have something to tell us today? We still want to live a meaningful, peaceful and humane life, but where are we going to find our inspiration and references? Are ancient examples and principles outdated, or do they just need to be understood in a new light?

The quest for wisdom is at the same time personal and collective. E-Renlai wishes its readers to find their own road towards greater wisdom…

June LEE (李禮君)

Former Managing Editor of Renlai Monthly (2004-2009). Board member of the Taipei Ricci Institute.

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