Education for Wisdom
Knowledge is cheap and wisdom is costly. Never pay a school for knowledge: Google knowledge, but pay any price needed for wisdom. In fact, wisdom is so great, so valuable, that anyone who has it knows that she cannot charge what it is worth.
The wise teacher will charge only what the student can pay, but no more. Wisdom can only be learned with some cost, but wisdom is too sacred to be associated with debt.
What is wisdom?
Wisdom is, at the very least, the ability to see what to do with knowledge. Science gives us powerful tools and wisdom shows us what is best to do with those powers. The Spiderman movies said “with great power comes great responsibility,” but as you might expect from a Hollywood film, this is trivial.
Of course you have responsibility. But what is it? And how do you fulfill it? With great power comes responsibility, but not necessarily the wisdom to know what to do and how to do it. We are responsible . . . now what? Wisdom has the answers.
Wisdom begins in knowing who we are. Socrates was right when he took the Delphic oracle’s statement–know thyself–and made it about finding one’s place. This is another way of talking about the fear of God, which the Bible calls the beginning of wisdom. If I know myself as I truly am, then I know my limits, my failures, my powers, and my responsibilities.
I know I stand before God wholly loved and yet wholly inadequate to the calling of being a human. The bad news is my inability, inherited with my humanity; and the good news is that total love provides a way. This is a wonderful way, the way of wonder, the Socratic dialectic.
What is this way? It starts with “bewilderment” as we learn that what we think we know is, in reality, not true. We learn the fear of God as we realize our mental confusion! The second step is to find a community and begin to rebuild. We develop ideas, we hypothesize about the world. Together in a community that loves each other we find new ideas. Some of those ideas fail and some live. Finally, we adopt a “worldview,” an explanation of reality that has come to us from our exploration and by Divine revelation.
We need God or we will fail, but God is there to lead us if we will persist in looking for His Way.
This process cannot be automated, because we are humans and not machines. This path cannot be taken in a hurry and success cannot be measured on a fill-in-the-bubble test. We learn together and the friendships we form with mentors and fellow students are part of wisdom. The wise person is never alone if he or she can help it.
True school follows this Socratic way using knowledge, books, movies, real world experiences, nature, work, and all of life. All of this might lead to despair–our ignorance is great and the world is so complicated–but Jesus came and made a Way. He showed us grace and truth and Jesus will live within us to reveal what we cannot find.
Education is the pathway to wisdom and wisdom calls out to us: Come!
I cannot wait.