Wisdom, sapience, or sagacity is the ability to contemplate and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight.[1] Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment,[2] and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.[3]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines wisdom as “Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, esp. in practical affairs: opp. to folly;” also “Knowledge (esp. of a high or abstruse kind); enlightenment, learning, erudition.”[8] Charles Haddon Spurgeon defined wisdom as “the right use of knowledge

.[9] Robert I. Sutton and Andrew Hargadon defined the “attitude of wisdom” as “acting with knowledge while doubting what one knows”. In social and psychological sciences, several distinct approaches to wisdom exist,[3] with major advances made in the last two decades with respect to operationalization[2] and measurement[7] of wisdom as a psychological construct. Wisdom is the capacity to have foreknowledge of something, to know the consequences (both positive and negative) of all the available course of actions, and to yield or take the options with the most advantage either for present or future implication.[10]

Mythological and philosophical perspectives[edit]

The ancient Greeks considered wisdom to be an important virtue, personified as the goddesses Metis and Athena. Metis was the first wife of Zeus, who, according to Hesiod‘s Theogony, had devoured her pregnant; Zeus earned the title of Mêtieta (“The Wise Counselor”) after that, as Metis was the embodiment of wisdom, and he gave birth to Athena, who is said to have sprung from his head.[11]

[12] Athena was portrayed as strong, fair, merciful, and chaste.

[13] Apollo was also considered a god of wisdom, designated as the conductor of the Muses (Musagetes)

,[14] who were personifications of the sciences and of the inspired and poetic arts; According to Plato in his Cratylus, the name of Apollo could also mean “Ballon” (archer) and “Omopoulon” (unifier of poles [divine and earthly]), since this god was responsible for divine and true inspirations, thus considered an archer who was always right in healing and oracles: “he is an ever-darting archer”

.[15] Apollo was considered the god who prophesied through the priestesses (Pythia) in the Temple of Apollo (Delphi), where the aphorism “know thyself” (gnōthi seauton)[a] was inscribed (part of the wisdom of the Delphic maxims)

.[16] He was contrasted with Hermes, who was related to the sciences and technical wisdom, and, in the first centuries after Christ, was associated with Thoth in an Egyptian syncretism, under the name Hermes Trimegistus.[17] Greek tradition recorded the earliest introducers of wisdom in the Seven Sages of Greece.