What does it mean to be wise? Why are owls considered wise? Does wisdom increase with age?
In 430 BC, the oracle at Delphi, shrine of prophesies, declared Socrates wiser than any man living. Socrates decided to test the statement. He first approached the politicians, elected because of wisdom. They thought they knew everything but soon discovered they knew nothing. He decided he was wiser since he knew he knew nothing.
Then Socrates talked to the poets who wrote wise words and beguiled with their compositions. They created out of inspiration not wisdom. More like prophets, they wrote ideas and philosophies but did not know the meaning of their words. Poets thought they were wise. Socrates discounted them.
Next, Socrates searched for craftsmen who made sandals, boats and pots. They knew many details about their trade. Although their designs assisted others, their knowledge related to specific skills that did not transfer.
In conclusion, Socrates understood that the oracle meant he had an awareness of his own ignorance which did not mean he had wisdom.
Many have posted one-liners about wisdom. How would you respond?
A single conversation with a wise man during the eating of a meal, is better than ten years' mere study of books. ~Chinese Proverb
Wisdom comes by disillusionment. ~George Santayana
Some folks are wise and some are otherwise. ~Tobias Smollett
Wisdom outweighs any wealth. ~Sophocles
If wisdom and diamonds grew on the same tree we could soon tell how much men loved wisdom. ~Lemuel K. Washburn
Wisdom is like a baobab tree; no one individual can embrace it. ~East African Proverb
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. ~William James
Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit. ~Elbert Hubbard
We can be Knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom. ~Michel de Montaigne
Wisdom begins at the end. ~Daniel Webster