The Wisdom Tradition

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The Wisdom Tradition

The Wisdom Tradition

Answer 1)

What comes to mind when thinking of wise people? Individuals might think of religious leaders, gurus, priests, medicine men, shamans, and sometimes politicians or therapists. These don't necessarily need to be famous people. On a personal level, someone might think of one's grandfather or grandmother and remember a situation in which their advice shed new light in a situation and was therefore eye opening.

What all these people have in common is a certain age. Rarely is wisdom attributed to a young woman or man. It is attributed to people in late adulthood who have had many experiences in life. This is the case in most cultures around the world. On the one hand, wisdom can be a goal of development, that is, something people strive for; on the other hand, wisdom can be the prerequisite for successful coping with life tasks during a certain life period. In any case, wisdom is something positive and admirable (Kierkegaard, 2008).

To get a better grasp of the concept, wisdom has often been discussed in the context of intelligence. Cattell distinguished between fluid and crystallized intelligence. Fluid intelligence is related to deductive reasoning, abstract thinking, heuristics for coping with new situations, and the speed of processing information. Fluid intelligence has its peak in young adulthood and declines with age. Crystallized intelligence refers to the whole body of experiences, skills, algorithms, and factual knowledge. Crystallized intelligence almost always increases with age. The increase in crystallized intelligence can make up for the loss in fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelligence can be seen as the basis of wisdom. However, there are some differences between crystallized intelligence and wisdom. First, crystallized intelligence is assessed in intelligence tests on information, vocabulary, facts, and school learning. Wisdom can hardly be measured because it is related to concrete knowledge about life experiences, including life's uncertainties and paradoxes. Second, contrary to intelligence, wisdom is less related to the current sociopolitical conditions. Wisdom encompasses a broader timeframe, learning from history, knowing the past to inform the future and to reflect on the present. Third, wisdom is more then just a body of theoretical knowledge. It has cognitive, motivational, affective, and interpersonal qualities.

Answer 2)

Tragedies are dominated by contrasts and conflicts between various entities such as; good and evil, legitimate and illegitimate, appearance and reality and so on. Another contrast is between wisdom and foolishness. If one associates foolishness with madmen and fools one will be surprised to find that in a tragedy such as King Lear this is not the case. Shakespeare portrays; the sane characters such as Kent and Cordelia as fools by virtue of loyalty, love and their willingness to speak the truth. On the otherhand, the Madman, Tom o'Bedlam and the fool are depicted as the true figures of wisdom. Moreover mirroring all this is King Lear's transition from foolish behaviour through madness achieving wisdom (May, 2007).

Cordelia and Kent may classify as sane characters but still their behaviour is ...
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