What is wisdom, education, and life-long learning?

Everything you need to know about wisdom.


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According to the Wikipedia, “Wisdom is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.”

To make it simple, wisdom is how well you understand the world and know how to do things well. Wisdom is not innate, and can only be obtained through education, learning, and experiences. Education is a more formal and deliberate process with guidance, elicited by extrinsic motivation, and usually through a teacher-student relationship. Learning is an intellectual and natural process of acquiring new skills and knowledge, through experience, study or teaching, may or may not be with guidance, elicited by intrinsic motivation, and is a life-long process.


In order to understand the world, you need to study all the important topics and knowledge that humankind accumulated over the history, which is what school, college, and university education does. You also need to learn by yourself by reading books and having experiments. There are some fields of study that you can name:


Humanities: including history, languages and linguistics, literature, performing arts, philosophy, religion and religious studies, and visual arts;


Social Sciences: including anthropology, archaeology, area studies, cultural and ethnic studies, economics, gender and sexuality studies, geography, political science, psychology, and sociology;


Natural Sciences: including chemistry, earth sciences, life sciences, physics, and space sciences;


Formal Sciences: including computer sciences, logic, mathematics, statistics, and systems science;


Applied Sciences: agriculture, architecture and design, business, divinity, education, engineering, environmental studies and forestry, family and consumer science, health sciences, human physical performance and recreation, journalism, media studies and communication, law, library and museum studies, military sciences, public administration, social work, and transportation.


So there are lots of topics you can learn, and all the fields will expand to include more contents. That’s why we need to have life-long learning. You don’t need to learn all the topics, which is nearly impossible. But you really need to learn the topics that are related to you life and work, and what you are interested in. Education is just to open the door, but you need to go into the door and explore what is inside the door, which is what life-long learning does.


In order to know how to do things well, that’s more complicated than just to understand. You have to develop strategies or best solutions for different tasks based on the knowledge you have. You need to know the details, such as prerequisites, affected factors, potential variances, and expected results etc., to apply those best solutions. It’s also necessary to have practices, so that it can become part of your life, and you don’t need to think about it.

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