Recommit to Virtue: Part 4 of 10 – Wisdom or Envy

The third societal blunder is knowledge without character.  Gandhi is one of the best know figures of the 20th century, and he is considered to be full of wisdom.  Yet, he held no title or position.  He is remembered because his life was a message of virtuous living.  Much of our existence today is embodied on empirical, rational, logical, and quantitative knowledge and information.  Knowledge, however, is not wisdom.  The virtues that build character and wisdom are often neglected in the popular pursuit of ever-changing data.  Likewise, fads and fashions promoted through the media dominate personal and business affairs.  In contrast, a business operating on virtuous intent focuses on placing products and services of value into the marketplace.

Wisdom and envy are both about thinking and reasoning.  A decision is made to engage in methodical deliberations, or to succumb to impulsive actions.  The fundamental issue between these two opposing behaviors deals with the emotional cancer of comparison.  The act of comparing personal contentment against the situation and circumstances of others is vanity, and envy is the outcome.  The very definition of envy is discontentment.  Envious people are only as satisfied as their ability to acquire the next greatest thing.  Direct comparison to others means they are never content, and in this context, contentment becomes a moving target.  Wisdom is the lack of envy.  Wise people appreciate who they are, where they are, and what they have.  This level of contentment opens them up to a sense of gratitude.  Wise people desire things for their intrinsic worth, not their social power.  Wise people control extreme emotions, and this allows rational thought to surface.

Wisdom is not a trait that is achieved, but rather a gift that is earned through the knowledge and experience gained while progressing through life.  Wisdom flourishes in the mind of the honest soul.  Freed from the anxiety associated with cognitive dissonance and the guilt connected with competing thought, integrity fosters wisdom.  Integrity removes inconsistency  and incongruity allowing wisdom to flourish.  Wisdom is a thinking pattern developed after disciplined practice and personal evaluation.  It is a deep understanding of the complex interactions of people, things, events, and situations, resulting in the individual ability to consistently choose or act in such a way as to produce optimum results.  Wisdom demands emotional control gained through delayed gratification in order to minimize personal opinion and preference so that time-proven principles, knowledge, and insights can prevail.  The comprehension of what is true or right gets coupled with the best possible judgment as to what action to take.

How much better it is to get wisdom than gold!
and to get understanding rather than silver!

Originally posted on October 5, 2011 on