Saturday, July 18, 2009


What could be a more enduring and essential question for a member of the species Homo sapiens sapiens to ask than how to grow wise?

Having already dubbed ourselves “doubly wise” (or conscious of our consciousness), we owe it to our self-esteem to develop that wisdom of which we assume we are capable, to investigate what we have meant and now mean by being wise or acting wisely, and to learn how to grow into the highest consciousness we can.

From The Wisdom of Solomon and Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” to Dante’s Divine Comedy to Shakespeare’s King Lear and Herman Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, the minds of Westerners have canvassed this question of our potential for wisdom and our penchant for folly, of our seeking for the light of higher awareness and our stumbling blindly in the dark woods of error.

Furthermore, the esoteric insights of seers and sages in more ancient and exotic cultures around the globe are now more accessible to our examination than ever before. What, then, do shamans from Central Africa, South America, or Indonesia, as well as the wisdom traditions of India, Persia, China, and Japan have to show us to enhance our sagacity today?

We are “the people of the parenthesis,” says Jean Houston, author of The Possible Human, poised, she hopes, for a major breakthrough to a higher level of collective consciousness before the impending breakdown of our endangered ecosystems collapses our hopes of advancement into a wisdom culture capable of securing and sustaining the matrix of our civilization.

What is that Wisdom Culture we might inhabit that will allow illuminated intelligence to flourish on this planet, prevailing over the dim stupidities of unenlightened minds, too sleepy to see what it means to be awake?

That is the most important question I can think to ask.