On Wisdom

I have a strong opinion on people who pronounce their wisdom.

If anyone is currently telling you they are wise or telling you that they have some wisdom on a subject for you (of their own), they are currently not being wise. I am certainly guilty of this myself as well, perhaps even now. That doesn’t mean the self-proclaimed “wisdom” people have to say isn’t valuable to you necessarily. It does mean that their definition of the world isn’t the same as mine, and I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on it:

My definition is different from any dictionary’s definition. I will specify my definition: Wisdom is more about knowing what you don’t know than it is about knowing about what you do know.

I will cite a source to back up my opinion on this matter from a perhaps fictional character (a well-known fact is that he may have never lived and been a character Plato invented) that said what I assert are many wise things: “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Socrates: (Plato’s Apology)

Hermann Göring at the Nuremberg Trials

“Of course the people don’t want war.  But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.  Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.  That is easy.  All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”

Edit:  Essentially accurate.  Some ellipses should have been included.

Orwell on Football


This is a 1984 quote about the proles. It is a fictional world.. isn’t it?
A little more context from the book may help: “Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbours, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult. A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among them, spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous; but no attempt was made to indoctrinate them with the ideology of the Party.”

Liberty & the Supreme Court

“Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.”  -Justice O’Connor, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Souter (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA. V. Casey)