Wisdom points the way

coleridge

“Common sense” here means doing something that is obviously the right thing to do. Of course the right thing to do is often obvious because the situation is a familiar one: ‘common sense’ solutions are just the repetition of clichés. Which is not a bad thing: after all clichés only become clichés because they are good ideas the first time around, and so become imitated and hackneyed. Wise solutions are not always obvious in this way. Wisdom often requires new thinking about old problems and new ideas may seem heretical at first. Wise ideas are persuasive heresy: wisdom seems obvious because we feel that we should have thought of it. Such ideas strike us like a sudden realisation of a new truth which is destined to become accepted doctrine and end up as utterly common, clichéd, ‘common sense.’

Our ‘common sense’ is quite simple – we have been taught wisdom and the right way to live.  The ‘uncommon degree’ to which do this is what gives us the confidence to understand that nothing will stand in our way if we walk with that wisdom and when we run, we will not stumble.

The world will call what we have ‘wisdom’ when we always remember what we have learned.  Our education is our life – we need to guard it well.

 

 

 

Two Ways of Life — A Psalm of Wisdom

 

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