Many in today’s world remain quite familiar with the beauty contest, but almost no one has ever seen a wisdom contest. This blog post has the following proposal to offer: an annual, or else bi-annual wisdom contest could prove so profitable, it is unbelievable that corporations, universities and nations do not presently sponsor them.
Consider the following points, offered from the Deist perspective:
- Someone has to represent wisdom. This is inescapable, since some people are idiots, and others not quite as much. Some people — still others — seem to possess a measure of wisdom, and yet others, some more than most. This means that someone is the wisest, when considered overall, comparatively. Discerning judges and good criteria can enable the distinction necessary to the task, just as the Miss universe beauty contest always has a number 1, a number 2 and so forth.
- The wisest people represent God, since He is Himself the Wisest, and because He is better represented by this attribute than by any other.
- The wealth of the wise is their crown. Wisdom has a kind of material adequacy to it we want to call “profitability,” or as we say, “The bottom line is the bottom line.”
- With a panel of judges, carefully chosen for their wisdom, scoring the answers of the contestants, the process of quantifying each answer could easily show the winner in points, similar to game shows that ask questions of contestants and score their answers.
A Working defintion of wisdom is certainly possible. First, we will want to brainstorm to find the descriptive attributes associated with it, and study it as it is found in the natural world, including the world’s of language, logical, literary criticism, the sciences and their preconditions, rules and formulae.
For any one definition of wisdom, or description of it that runs a bit too short and pithy, a good rejoinder always awaits. Wisdom can resolve easily into its different aspects, which I take to include:
a. understanding b. discernment c. discretion d. insight e. innovation f. prudence (or “horse sense:” e.g. Patient — “Doc, It hurts when I do this.” Doctor: “Don’t do that.”) g. problem-solving h. training i. instruction (learning received tradition that profits) j. knowledge
Likely consequences of the Wisdom contest include–
the longer-term “smarting up” of society, through the hiring of very wise people (winning contestants) at the universities, corporations, as national and international leaders and advisors, and the like; broader learning by all of society through the study of the best answers given (studied perhaps later as an academic discipline called “sophiology’); better intellectual capital production in society that serves as a progressive and growing body of insights for the better improvement of civilization (and better voters and citizens); more efficient and skilled behavior in the marketplace; more interest in education — both formal and informal — generally, and a host of other residual benefits should be anticipated, whose particulars we cannot guess in advance.
The University of Chicago has a great wisdom-research web-page which aims at a more scientific understanding of the nature, scope and effects of wisdom — usually which form different important aspects of a definition. http://wisdomresearch.org/Themes/basic/Arete/ResearchGrants.aspx