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One day as we were walking with my brother in the park, something strange happened. A scared and terrified person came towards us running and asked us to protect him from a crowd that was chasing after him. They were calling him a thief. Terrified, I ran away and left my brother talking to the man. My brother needed to hear him out before deciding on whether to help him or run. To my dismay, the whole thing was a prank. They were only trying to get to know how people would react to such a scenario. I was fast at judging, but my defense was ‘I feared for my life.’ Was there any wisdom in playing the prank, for this case? If there is, how did it apply? What if the man was a thief? Intelligence can be defined as the ability to act and think through the application of acquired knowledge, understanding, insight, experience, and common sense. However, no one has exhaustively defined the meaning of wisdom, or if there is, he or she is learned or inborn. This has emerged as a topic of concern to decide whether wisdom is acquired, or innate. In the world, wisdom or the ability to act correctly differs with age such that, there is the presence of elderly persons who cannot be considered to be wise. At the same time, there are small kids, who are taken to be prudent and make considerate moves in their lives (Jane 405). For instance, in the tale “Getting common sense,” an old man was outsmarted by a small boy on the approach of carrying a bag while climbing up the tree without breaking it. In my view, wisdom contains several aspects which comprise common sense, experience, and knowledge. Thus, in this essay, I will try to explore different perspectives and views on wisdom, express how common sense is an essential aspect, describe the process of acquiring secondary intelligence and how it can be improved.

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Diverse Views on Wisdom

Different fields in the universe have tried to indicate and explore the existence of varying degrees of wisdom amongst the residents of the world. Ancient clans believed in the existence of a lineage or rather, a generation that possessed innate intelligence. They used to seek counsel from the descendants of such a group for solutions on any contradicting issues in the society. On the other hand, psychologists believe that wisdom is complicated, but can be associated with intelligence, spiritually believes, and shrewdness. According to Baltes et al., they concluded that intelligence is a structure and function that regulates a successful lifespan development (295). This evolvement gives individuals the ability to deal with various contradiction of specific situations and predict the outcome of these events correctly. The psychologists believe that wisdom is attained once an individual incorporates tolerance towards uncertainties, considering different emotional aspects, problem solving techniques, and applying consistent actions based on values and diverse ethical opinions. They believe that a wise person can be able to guide or provide counsel to situations or events of an unknown culture, and cultivate cohesion among warring groups. Religion also holds its perspective of what they believe wisdom entails. Sapience forms the basis of religious beliefs’ view on intelligence. It implies that wisdom is acquired through intuitive knowing, practical involvement or experience (Walsh 284). Christians refer to it as the ultimate gift awarded by God, to people, who He has chosen to lead his people. The wise, during the ancient Christian scriptures, acted as present judges who could solve problems or conflicts emerging in the community. For instance, King Solomon was granted the gift of Wisdom by God and provided counsel to the Israelites during his time as their king. Hence, Christians believe that wisdom is a God-given gift, which can be possessed by only the appointed or chosen individuals. Buddhism, on the other hand, trusts that a wise man is one who successfully arbitrates a case and separates it without bias. They also associate it with persons who advocate for peace, equality, righteousness, and defender of justice (Walsh 286). They believe that as long as an individual is said to promote peace and create an environment where all the residents coexist in unison, such a person is considered to be wise. Islam, on the other hand, trusts that Allah grants wisdom by his own will. They believe that these individuals come to bring togetherness and unity in the society through shunning the evil deeds, and providing the best solution for the community to follow in their living style. All this literature indicates how different culture of individuals perceive wisdom. All of them poses different definitions and views regarding a wise person, showing that this is an area that depends on an individual’s way of thinking.

Personal Opinion

Based on the analysis and research I have conducted; an individual is born with the essential wisdom which constitutes common sense. During the birth of each human being, he or she is awarded the ability to choose what to do and what not to do, they also define their personality based on the application of common sense. Since common sense is an intrinsic factor, it infers that some part of wisdom is innate. The variation between an individual’s level of intelligence and lack of intelligence depends on what these persons invested in developing their potent wisdom, from handling simple problems to manipulating complex and complicated situations in life. No individual can be said to lack wisdom entirely. The difference comes from situations which a person solves critically, and makes right decision yielding positive results. Such a situation can be demonstrated by the fact that some kids have more wit than their peers, or even the older persons, who have neither discovered nor put into practice the initial wisdom they were born with. For instance, according to Getting Common Sense tale, Anansi was overwhelmed by the amount of intelligence originating from the mouth of such a young kid. Despite the amount of wisdom, he had acquired, he could not figure out the right way to carry the bag to avoid breaking it as he climbed the tree. The young boy challenged him, which angered Anansi and he abandoned his mission to hold all the collected wisdom (Jane 405). The tale indicates the importance of innate common sense, which the kid used to challenge the man who had collected intelligence to handle all situations in the world. Hence, it shows that if one does not discover and develop his natural constituent of intelligence, he or she cannot be able to apply the acquired aspects of wisdom.

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Apart from common sense which is inborn, development of wisdom depends on the experience a person will acquire during his or her interactions with different scenarios in life. For one to be able to face a particular challenge correctly and successfully, he or she must have encountered it, or a similar case, acquired the necessary expertise to handle it., the same argument applies to wisdom. The more encounters one faces during his life, the more advanced his or her intelligence becomes. The fact that various circumstances require different approaches shows that scenarios faced by an individual widen their scope of thinking. Hence, as one advance in age, the wisdom aspect increases and can handle more complex problems and decisions which cannot be made by a child. Most of the individuals become retarded in their process of developing wisdom due to their lack of exploitative morale. They tend to stagnate in their comfort zones and not venture into new challenges, where there can learn new ways of handling different scenarios. Thus, levels of their wisdom remain undeveloped, and cannot solve simple problems in case they occur. Consequently, this brings a situation where two or more individuals have different views on a scenario or present various solutions to a problem. For instance, in the tale “What Melody is the Sweetest,” we can verify that different people judge an event according to their exposure and experiences. When the King asked his ministers to state the sweetest melody, all of them focused on the real music and gave answers based on musical tools such as the flute, harp, and violin. However, Shah decided to provide them with a practical experience or answer by proving to them that the clink of dishes in the ears of a hungry man, is the sweetest melody (Yolen 413). Through such a tale, we can learn that regardless of the position one may hold in the society, wisdom is not guaranteed to them, and only through practical experiences is one able to expand his or her wisdom capability.

Secondary Wisdom and its Development

Training and education can also be considered a source of secondary wisdom. In modern society, an individual is said to be wise if he or she is learned and has acquired the relevant knowledge and skills to handle different responsibilities in the society. For instance, leaders and lawyers are said to be wise in the current community, since they are the individuals who are used to solving misunderstandings in the society and give guidance on how contradicting rules and regulations should be applied (Jeste et al. 670). This shows that wisdom can also be acquired through education and training, such as the ones lawyers go through before they are considered fit to interpret the law of the land. The process may involve learning of the rules governing a society, where learners are introduced to various guidelines and procedures that dictate the way a community should be led and, how different types of problems should be judged. Through this knowledge, lawyers are said to have acquired wisdom, and people from the society can consult them for counsel, or to interpret the set rules and advise them accordingly on the steps to take. This makes knowledge an integral part of wisdom, and in the modern society, an individual who is considered to possess such know-how is deemed to be wise (Jeste et al. 678). In another instance, a manager or corporate consultant is considered to be prudent in the current society due to his or her possession of relevant know-how in the business management and administration processes. Hence, knowledge and training can be said to be one of the principal constituents of intelligence, and wisdom can be achieved through learning. Apart from professional training, an individual can also acquire insight through readings and guidance, especially from older people. A person who reads wide can develop his or her wisdom capabilities by examining how different situations were handled by the people affected. For instance, a person improves his or her ability to solve and manage various conditions from the knowledge attained through reading old tales, or other stories that aim at educating the society on wisdom. Like in this case, the short stories contained in the “Favorite Folktales from Around the World,” teaches us how to handle different situations such as considering the deeper meaning of questions or situations, so that we can give a correct and relevant answer (Yolen 413). This can be learned from the “What Melody is the Sweetest” tale.

Lastly, wisdom can be said to depend on the environment that a person is exposed to and the mistake one does in the process of solving problems. The challenge always gives an individual motivation to act. Through these actions, solutions are found, and the person is said to be wise. Likewise, an innovative individual who does not follow conventional ways of pursuing things is likely to develop his or her wisdom capability as compared to those that adhere to the outlined procedures (Glueck et al. 1359). The set processes have been proven to work. Hence, anyone applying them will not improve their wisdom but instead, exploit new ways and methods to solve problems and scenarios in the society and enhance his or her abilities to get new solutions. Even if one makes mistakes in the process, they should not discourage them because they have discovered the inability of the mistakes done to solve the intended problem.

In conclusion, the essay has focused on exploring different perspectives and views on wisdom, express how common sense is an intrinsic aspect, describe the process of acquiring secondary intelligence, and how it can be improved. Various societies and individuals perceive wisdom differently.  There are different definitions and views regarding a wise person given by Christians, Psychologists, Muslims, and Buddhists. Each of these categories has a different perspective on ideas of wisdom. I consider it as both inborn and acquired. Common sense constitutes an innate aspect of intelligence and the efforts put by an individual and then dictates the level of wisdom. Old men who did not aid the development of intelligence are surpassed by small children, who have faced different challenging situations and experiences that have enlightened their wisdom scale. Likewise, an adult who has explored various challenges and solved them is wise and can be approached to give counsel on contradicting matters in the society. This constitutes secondary wisdom and other approaches such as training and education, which can be used to improve it. Through extensive studies, an individual can learn new principles and attain skills and knowledge needed in various sectors of the society thus, being able to give guidance and counsel to related fields of study. This constitutes modern types of wisdom, which is based on training and education. Secondary intelligence can be improved through exposure to different environments and challenges that broaden an individual’s reasoning capacity.

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  1. Baltes, Paul B., and Ute Kunzmann. “The Two Faces of Wisdom: Wisdom as A General Theory of Knowledge and Judgment About Excellence in Mind and Virtue Vs. Wisdom As Everyday Realization In People And Products.” Human Development, vol 47, no. 5, 2004, pp. 290-299. S. Karger AG.
  2. Glueck, J. et al. “Professional Wisdom: Wisdom and Non-Wisdom Memories of Teachers and Managers.” Innovation in Aging, vol 1, no. suppl_1, 2017, pp. 1359-1359. Oxford University Press (OUP).
  3. Jeste, D. V. et al. “Expert Consensus on Characteristics of Wisdom: A Delphi Method Study.” The Gerontologist, vol 50, no. 5, 2010, pp. 668-680. Oxford University Press (OUP).
  4. Walsh, Roger. “What Is Wisdom? Cross-Cultural and Cross-Disciplinary Syntheses.” Review of General Psychology, vol 19, no. 3, 2015, pp. 278-293. American Psychological Association (APA).
  5. Yolen, Jane. Favorite Folktales from Around the World: Getting common sense. New York, Pantheon Books, 2008.
  6. Yolen, Jane. Favorite Folktales from Around the World: What Melody is the Sweetest. New York, Pantheon Books, 2008.
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