The death of wisdom. Learning from experience is a faculty we fail to practice

Bold statement. Usually not so true for positive deviants who have a tendency to suck the learning juices out of every experience.

Lets look at the facts. We no longer study history. Or those who do are kept in dusty corners of old Universities. How do I know this? There has been historical precedent to a collapsing economy, not just in the 1930’s but going back time and again from the beginning of time. There has been historical precedent for pretty much every version of war, going back to when man first sneezed. Even when we look at climate change, there is countless examples throughout history of humanity of the perils of treating nature and natural systems with disdain. Is any of the ‘expert’ voices out there referring to what history has taught us?

We do not have any eldership in our ‘modern’ day communities. Tell me how much wisdom has been passed down from your family elders in your life time? What have you learned from your grandparents, or even your parents? Where is the collective wisdom of our elders? Lost in a nursing home somewhere were we can’t ever find it. We think we are superior to our elders. That they know nothing because they didn’t have an iSomething, or connection to the internet. So we remove them from sight, and mind, failing to see the significant contribution they have to make. They know how to survive in hardship and depression, tools we may well need. What else can they teach us? What about how to grow old with dignity, how to make peace with death, how to read signs? (not the obvious ones) There is a beautiful movie, Bab’aziz, that has as its central story the gift of wisdom past from an old Sufi man to his granddaughter. What tragedy is the loss of this heritable wisdom in our culture.

We ignore wisdom of indigenous communities. We scoff in our arrogance, that they know nothing. But in their knowing nothing they survived and thrived for far longer than our little thrive moments which have been few and far between. How could anyone navigate across the vast Pacific Ocean in canoes without any instruments save for those supplied by nature? Stars, currents, wind, birds. Dumb luck, or some highly evolved navigation system that might offer us a few opportunities to learn from natural systems? What have they to teach us about paying attention to the instruments provided for freely by nature? Whole learning systems are literally dying as the elders die. Lost to us.

Our leaders of industry and politicians are far to wrapped up in the short term future to even lift a wisdom muscle that might involve considering the past. This is obvious.

But what about you? Do you take time to reflect, not just on your past, but on the past of your elders? History, ever given that a good look? Even simple reflection on the lessons you have learned from today, from your joys and pains, frustrations and humiliations? Do you use these as your school of daily wisdom?

As someone who delivers learning programs into organisations, I don’t need to see the studies on where real learning is gained. It always comes with experience. With getting our hands dirty, our hearts broken, our ego’s dented. Every day is an opportunity to learn. Even better if learning is facilitated through reflection, inquiry and some form of witnessing and reflecting back by another who holds the fullest expression of your truth as worth investing in. This is the work I mostly do that I love so. How valuable is this…better than a Harvard degree? Hell yeh. The school of the crucible of life.

Take a stand for your own wisdom. Cultivated over a lifetime, seeded by your ancestors, attended to daily. The world will thank you for it.


2:23AM Integrity is the Essence


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4 Comments on “The death of wisdom. Learning from experience is a faculty we fail to practice”

  1. This article was perfect timing! Only last night I was talking to a professional who has worldwide experience of natural disasters and is involved in getting infrastructure back up and running after floods, earthquakes etc throughout the world. He told me that nowadays people simply cannot cope because they do not have their elders knowledge and wisdom of ‘the basics of survival’. Poorer countries cope more easily because they don’t generally have the luxuries in the first place (running water, toilets etc.). Consequently, trauma and long term psychological effects are far more common in countries such as ours. The BLAME factor is more common too (complaints about councils and govts not clearing up in time, lack of fresh water etc. etc.)
    For far too long, our modern day society has been too busy and too greedy to pay attention to our elders when they tell us of how they survived ‘in their day’. We could learn so much by going back to basics, not expecting so much and passing it on to our next generations.

    1. Hi Dee,

      lovely to hear from you. Thank you for contributing to this discussion. We have raised a society built on entitlement and learned helplessness. No matter which way you cut it we need to build resilience in all areas.



  2. The essential understanding in getting the Gift in your article lies in the idea that helps us realize that the source of Wisdom is Knowledge… Creative, Wondrous, Unconditional, Abstract Knowledge. Wisdom reflects or echoes this deeper attribute associated with Gnosis or Knowing which is an out of world and out of the conditional worldly mind event. We arrive at or realize Wisdom because of this Fundamental Influence at the core of our being. Wisdom, because of its source is not time based which means that it cannot die. The learning that is reflected in the highly personal experience of Wisdom has a Deeper Causation, an Intelligence to it that can, will, and does lead to the deep and expansive Inner Resource of Self Knowledge in which all Truth is. Unquestionably, each of us can dramatically improve and accelerate the learning we refer to as Wisdom and save much unnecessary time and trouble by applying our mind, thought, feeling, and behavior to the Understanding beyond our worldly conditioning. We are generally lost in our personal and collective worldly predicament, literally obsessed and driven by our addiction to distraction. T.S. Eliot referred to humankind as ‘distracted, by distraction, from distraction’. Once we come to the point of seeing how obsessed and protective we are of our obsessive conditionality, and the paralyzing results we do to ourselves, we enter into a deeper learning curve richly rewarding and incomprehensible in it’s uncompromising and unconditional Gifts. Such is our Nature, which we are irrevocably drawn towards, albeit at an excruciatingly cautious pace! None the less, as our sensibilities and appetite shift from the mundane, habitual, obsessive, and addictive, a New yet curiously familiar experience unfolds and in our very midst, revealing a Powerful and Assuring sense of Fulfilling Presence, and quite unlike anything in our inventory of wordily references and memories which are all conditional or limited, partial and exclusive. As we become accepting of this Inner Fulfillment and then consistently identified with its Uninterruptible Presence… everything changes and to unlimited benefit. This is the ‘Game Changer’, the Occasion from which everything in our Life and Living becomes the beneficiary of the unimaginable but Perfectly True.

    This most essential experience of True and Creative Intimacy releases our learning from the sluggish inventions born of fearfulness and the shadowland of illusions, making way for Connections and Discovery literally without and beyond all limit.
    Einstein often referred to the necessity of a thoughtfulness beyond the mundane and limiting ego thought system. Now, from the Freedom and Enlivenment of the Whole or Open Mind, Wisdom surely comes yet with a traction and potency that manifests Necessary and Essential Change in the Here and Now of our living. As we brighten up and are moved by the Deep Nature of our Unconditionality, our relationships become Healed and every encounter the birthplace of New Possibility. Now we are empowered to See into and beyond the limiting assumptions associated with age and health… and from such Vision the entire framework and cultural impasse that we have been putting up with and ineffectively trying to change becomes the arena for Creative Solutions that lend themselves to every circumstance, situation, and relationship. No longer bound to our preconceived notions, we are free to partake in the Well Spring of Absolute Access and Availability which relieves us of the anxiety and burden of worry, permitting mind its Natural Purpose and Function in Co-Creation. As we depart from the withering blight of the illusory mind, we move out of scarcity and the finite thought system which tragically concluded and resulted in the survival schemes and the failings inherent in these circular patterns of thought and behavior.

    We are bound only by the limits we apply our mind to. Change our mind, and every Truly and Desirable Change will follow… and not later but in the Here and Now of our Living. Wisdom surely has much to offer and contribute… but as we turn in Understanding and Appreciation to It’s Source, we unleash a Creative Power and Capacity that is ours to share as a means for shifting the total dynamic of our personal and interactive human experience… and right on time!

    1. Pheww Jeffery, this is a deeply serious reply. Thank you for taking the time. I love the ‘distracted by distraction from distraction.’ In the work I am doing, I see this distraction as occurring between the 6th and 4th chakra, the mind and the heart, at the gate of the 5th. The will. We distract with addictions of all kinds, to slow down the speed between the head and the heart, or the knowing and the feeling.



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