Don’t let them fool ya
Or even try to school ya
We’ve got a mind of our own
So go to hell if what you’re thinking is not right
– Bob Marley
It’s interesting that the words ‘whiz’ and ‘wisdom’ sound so similar. Both terms refer to intelligence of some kind. We tend to respect people who are smart, but how we judge what makes a person smart is very subjective. There is, however, a significant difference between intelligence as defined by the ability to process complex information as opposed to intelligence as defined by the knowledge and wisdom inherent in all human beings. I believe our society has forgotten the importance of the latter.
It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the problems of the world (whatever we deem them to be) and of course by our own challenges and limitations. It’s often remarked that the media bombards us with negativity. Despite this, people still aren’t generally inclined to believe that there is a compensating amount of wonderful things happening in the world or enough people doing amazing things every day. This isn’t some accidental skewing of the public consciousness. Whatever negativity we absorb, we reflect back out to the world. And in so doing, we further convince ourselves and each other that we’re justified in our fear and confusion and most importantly in our sense of powerlessness. The constant narrative is that there’s all this horrible stuff going on and we can’t do anything about it – and that’s where the story ends. But this does not reflect reality. I’m glad I reluctantly jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. On that site alone, I’ve stumbled upon countless organizations – public and private, local and international as well as people of all statuses and backgrounds. I knew there were a lot of organizations out there who are working hard to create positive change. But wow. It really reinforced for me that we should never be swayed by those who are apathetic, pessimistic or inactive because they are not the majority. I listen to people like Noam Chomsky, Vandana Shiva, Raj Patel, Michael Ruppert and Joe Rogan and it becomes clear that there are a lot of smart people on this planet who have hope. And I mean the right kind of smart… and the right kind of hope. Because these aren’t a bunch of utopian dreamers. They’re academics, martial artists, economists and physicists who also happen to be activists, comedians, parents, farmers and people just like you and I who see the point in questioning what we’ve come to accept as truth. It’s not their accreditations or education that make them smart. It’s the fact that they use their own intuition and reasoning to live more conscious lives. That is wisdom.
Information is crucial. But what gives it meaning and usefulness is wisdom, which transcends ethnicity, education, religion, class, time, etc. Wisdom can’t be copyrighted. It’s endemic to a collective human experience which has grown from everything and everyone that precedes it. We see the proof of this in the common recurring themes and symbolism expressed through various independent civilizations throughout history. While our ingenuity has allowed us to create amazing things, we have unwittingly ascribed a superiority to this intelligence as compared to a wisdom that teaches us to live consciously, always question, embrace change, trust ourselves and honour our connection to everything.
It may seem that the problems we’re facing on a global scale are insurmountable and that we’d be foolish and naive to believe that the solution (which obviously must be profound and earth-shattering) is actually incredibly simple. But it is, because it requires us to do only what is within our power: to be the change we wish to see in the world. Forget about everything else. Take Gandhi, for example – originally a lawyer who one day embraced a transcendental wisdom that altered the course of history. Is it really so impossible, then, that any one of us can be agents of change? Don Miguel Ruiz, a Toltec master and author, is the ultimate example of a human being who embodies a wisdom that is at the same time self-evident, simple and mind-blowing: