Wisdom and Knowledge

I asked the question, “What could be wisdom?” last post. Indeed, it is quite elusive. FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com mentioned common sense, and how her parents and grandparents have them.

So, old people come to mind when wisdom is mentioned?
Then, is wisdom simply old age?

Though, that still does not answer what wisdom is. Old age is also not it because there are many unwise old people. It’s just that they are more likely to be wiser than their young counterpart.

I find in eastern culture (not the eastern culture now), the people have more emphasis to wisdom due to the influence of Buddhism and Taoism. There were a bunch of people who were in search of being enlightened. Just look at the existing methodologies and techniques — meditation, yoga, reciting mantra, zazen, physical isolation, etc. The ones who become enlightened thus become masters and seem to have answers to everything in life. But some of them get there in a day. Some of them take several decades. Some died before.

Now, let me quote FB’s one sentence, “Wisdom is also common sense worked in with logic/rationality. Wisdom seems to be this part of us that works along side our rational mind.”

So wisdom is not so much information. Nor a skill that could be learned through discipline. But as said when I talked about eastern culture, wisdom seems to somehow needs invoking. Yet, it cannot be taught. What is it?

I can offer no definite answer either :P It seems to be the knowing of the known and unknown. Thus, it’s our full being that knows that we know what knowledge we know (logical mind) and ALSO knows that which is indescribable through the logical mind.

Wisdom then becomes the knowing, the understanding, the realization of our full being.

Thus, if knowledge, learned through intelligence of the logical mind, are puzzle pieces, wisdom is the one to put them together for the “optimal” result in life.

Taking that further, I would even say that if knowledge is the car, the wisdom is the driver. Thus, given 500 horsepower of knowledge, there needs to be a driver who can handle a 500 HP car. When a driver, who is only capable of driving 100-200 HP (normal) car, drives 500 HP of knowledge, we WILL have tragedy. That is definite.

Let me give another example, if you give the famous katana Mursame to a child to wield, it is with certainty that he’s going to lose a limp or two if not kill himself. So someone with great swordsmanship should wield it. But also, if fallen in the wrong hands, many people could be killed.

What about someone with a ton of wisdom but almost no knowledge? I don’t know, can we still call this person wise?

Jokes aside… Too much knowledge, not enough wisdom. I observe that is the state of affair our world is in.

A balanced person, a balanced world is when wisdom and knowledge are in proportion.

Wisdom being the knowing of our full being. When we accept and embrace our full being (if you let yourself into what it means), perhaps you can find wisdom there.

I think until then, we have to live in a world driven by knowledge, or rather, people who are drunk on knowledge that will continue to be more and more chaotic until we become wiser. In this sense, for future as humanity as a whole, economy and politics become “small problems” until we resolve this. This making philosophy more important than ever.

If knowledge is power and with power, comes responsibility, what does that tell us now?

The responsibility is not just how we are going to use the power (knowledge). More importantly, the responsibility is also knowing when to use the power and when NOT to use the power.

Of course, drunk people would not listen to this kind of crap.

Originally posted 2009-11-05 00:37:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Getting to the Basics and the Heart of Things

Success is my topic on this blog. Success is not simply one thing and definitely not about money.

That is why I have a tendency to write more about concepts in personal development and less about personal finance. I write much less about in specifics and details in what to do with your money. Besides the fact that there are plenty of info and references on the internet already, the truth is that if you can master the basics, success in life (and therefore personal financial life) will soon follow. Kinda like martial arts practice – the ability to a more advanced move comes from the mastery and understanding of doing a more basic move.

How do I mean? What are the basics? These qualities quicly come to my mind:

You may be thinking, “Compassion? Wha…?” Don’t laugh because compassion IS a basic and requirement in success in life.

Use the “Search” on the right to locate my posts on these topics.

Originally posted 2008-01-30 23:45:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Pain – You Don’t Want to Forget

Phew, Bush Junior finally stepped down today. This marks the end of (uh-hmm, I’ll be nice) a not-so-nice period for the U.S., even though I know there are plenty of people who think otherwise, and let us not count those people’s votes from now on… oh wait, I forgot to be nice. Oh well.

Now, Obama has charisma and does seem an intelligent individual. He also carries a lot of positive motivation for the people. However, I still see him as sort of a stock option where you can win a lot but also lose alot because with the current landscape, we simply do not know that whatever he does will, and by how much, improve the situation. We shall see.

This brings me to my topic on pain. Pain. It can be physical, mental, emotional, as abstract as could be. Most of us don’t like pain. But I think it would do us well to always remember the pain we have experienced. I say this because I observe that people are predisposed to forget about pain quickly.

I noticed on the highway that people average 70+ MPH now vs only 60+ MPH couple months ago and that more SUVs and Hummers once again roam the roads. How quickly people have forgotten about the energy crisis. It shows that people only care about the short-term expense of gas vs. understanding that our energy resources are not infinite.

Start naked truth — As of now, most people do not know nor truly care about preserving resources and not be wasteful for both the planet and the generations to come, yet. They may like talking about it. They may like being enthusiasts. But that is that.

On a personal level, I observed my parents’ tendency to seek a lot of space when searching for housing, even though we used to live in some 400 sq ft. apartment back in Hong Kong. Back in the days, we just make do, and honestly, we don’t really NEED all that space.

It is important to remember painful experience because it will guide your action in the future. Pain teaches good lessons. When you learn from painful experience, you will get that much wiser. When you forget about pain, it is much easier for to make mistakes, and to repeat mistakes.

I remember the pain from relocating and starting brand new twice. I know to cherish the people I do get to spend time with while I can, and simultaneously, holding on to people is futile.

I remember the pain when I could not speak English properly and fluently. It helps me to be kind and considerate with strangers.

I remember the pain when I got stuck between a clash of two cultures and generations that almost no one can understand. I know that no one can fully understand each other and that makes it even more important for us to make an effort to empathize, to be compassionate, to be present in the moment.

I remember the pain when a good friend my age passed away suddenly who is a most kind person. It provoked me to pull myself together and figure myself out. From there, I learn to live in the moment.

I remember the pain when I got hit by a car on a bicycle. Life is not to be taken for granted.

I remember the pain from watching my grandpa who became half-paralyzed on the right after a stroke. The most painful part is that he’s a poet and calligrapher who could no longer enjoy those things. We do not have as much time as we think to do what we want. Hence, I do what I can most when I can now.

I remember the pain from breaking up with girlfriends. Sometimes no matter what you do, be it timing, place, or person, it does not turn out alright. It is all the more important that one gives their best, and that in relationship, it will do well for us to help each other grow. Even if broken up, we will have learn and grow because of each other. That will surely allow a smile on the face.

I know the pain from not being understood from some of the closest people in life. I strive not to do the same to the people I most care about. I must listen, without presumptions, without ego.

I remember the pain from not having a stable income, yet having large amount of expenses when I was attending graduate school, and to get by, I would pass up meal on campus until I get home and do whatever else to preserve money. I understand most of what I do and have now are basically luxury which I could do without, and I do my best to manage my money now. It is never too early. It is never too late.

I remember the pain I have caused to others and myself from when I let emotions took over. It does me well to understand myself and be consistently aware of my thoughts and emotions now.

I remember the pain I went through to learn all that I did, though painful yet necessary. It is vital for us to be considerate to not take away others’ opportunities and responsibilities to feel pain, no matter how eager we are to present them with a solution.

Pain also presents itself as disease and illness in terms of our body. We need to take heed when they happen because the body is telling us that we must take care of it. I find it sad that for years people would not do that and rely on medication to cover up pain (remove the symptoms) and think they are “cured”, only to be hit with a much more deadly or incurable condition later. By the time, it’s already late. You wonder why are medical cost is going up like crazy. It is hugely because people do not listen and neglect their body for years and decades, thinking that medication and technology will “fix” them when something happens.

Stark naked truth — As of now, people do not truly care about the health of their body, and for proof, you just need to look around yourself. How many of those people look healthy? And there’s a difference between that and looking pretty.

In the end, let me say that pain does not only teach, it is also a way to connect us all. When we remember our pain, we can also be compassionate.

One thing is for certain. It will do us well to remember pain. As a nation…especially the last eight years’.

Originally posted 2009-01-21 00:28:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Poverty Business

“The Poverty Business” is the title of an article from the May 21, 2007 issue of BusinessWeek. An excerpt from the article:

In 1989, households earning $30,000 or less a year paid an average annual interest rate on auto loans that was 16.8% higher than what households earning more than $90,000 a year paid. By 2004, the discrepancy had soared to 56.1%. Roughly the same happened with mortgage loans: a leap from 6.4% gap to one of 25.5%.

Does this help explain why the gap between the wealth and poor is expanding rapidly in the past years? Not only are these people making less, they also have to pay more. It’s a double whammy!

Another thing is, the poverty business, which includes service like pay-day loan, subprime mortgage, etc., use procedures and strategy that entice the poor or make use of their ignorance to use their service and then hit them with outrageous interest+fee (BlueHippo?). It is always my insistence that we are the results of our own action. Based on that principle, these people should educate themselves financially and know they are getting themselves into, otherwise, it’s their own fault. However at the same time, it’s also problematic that these business are exploiting these folks who are already making less. That’s just adding trouble to misery, kicking them when they’re down, and get them stuck in a vicious poverty cycle.

Who is responsible for this “poverty problem”? The business? Or the people themselves? What do you think?

Either way, this raises another point – there is a need in our society to better educate people on personal finance and raise their financial awareness.

Originally posted 2007-05-20 23:24:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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