Wisdom refers to a quality of character or mind.  Wisdom is being able to apply knowledge, theory, and experience with insight and good judgment.  Wisdom, a deep knowledge of what is right, can be about truth or goodness.  Wisdom can also refer to the body of knowledge and experience passed on from previous generations within a culture, or across cultures, that equips one to make wise choices and live a good life.

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Simple shifts in points of view can open doors to expansions of consciousness as easily as rigid dispositions can close hearts and minds to such elevated awareness. It generally depends on whether you allow fear and violence to rule your actions or whether you give wisdom, courage, and compassion the authority to do so.

— Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

— Abraham Lincoln

I am approached with the most opposite opinions and advice, and that by religious men, who are equally certain that they represent the Divine will. I am sure that either the one or the other is mistaken in that belief, and perhaps in some respects both. I hope it will not be irreverent for me to say that if it is probable that God would reveal his will to others, on a point so connected with my duty, it might be supposed he would reveal it directly to me; for, unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is, I will do it! These are not, however, the days of miracles, and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation. I must study the plain, physical facts of the case, ascertain what is possible and learn what appears to be wise and right.

— Abraham Lincoln

I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

— Abraham Lincoln

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

— Albert Einstein

Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.

— Albert Einstein

If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.

— Alex Noble

Many men have been capable of doing a wise thing, more a cunning thing, but very few a generous thing.

— Alexander Pope

No one should be ashamed to admit they are wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that they are wiser today than they were yesterday.

— Alexander Pope

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

One doesn’t have to be religious to lead a moral life or attain wisdom.

— Allan Lokos

Experience is the only prophecy of wise men.

— Alphonse de Lamartine

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.

— Andre Gide

Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.

— Anne Bradstreet

Wisdom, after all, is not a station you arrive at but a manner of traveling. If you travel too fast, you will miss the scenery.

— Anthony de Mello, The Heart of the Enlightened

I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.

— Antonio Gramsci

The life of theoretical philosophy is the best and happiest a man can lead. Few men are capable of it and then only intermittently. For the rest there is a second-best way of life, that of moral virtue and practical wisdom.

— Aristotle

A wise person decides slowly but abides by these decisions.

— Arthur Ashe

Guts are important. Your guts are what digest things. But it is your brains that tell you which things to swallow and which not to swallow.

— Austin Dacey

Ideally, we would rise to the occasion and transform the adversity into an opportunity for greater happiness. We would use the adversity to deepen our own wisdom and compassion, and transform it into something we can embrace. We would chew it up, swallow, and digest it, and be closer to enlightenment as a result. That’s the ideal, as the Tibetans say: transform adversity into spiritual growth.

— B. Alan Wallace

Without courage, wisdom bears no fruit.

— Baltasar Gracian

A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

— Baltasar Gracian

Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

— Benjamin Franklin

The world is full of fools and faint hearts; and yet everyone has courage enough to bear the misfortunes, and wisdom enough to manage the affairs, of his neighbor.

— Benjamin Franklin

Life’s Tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

— Benjamin Franklin

I think the essence of wisdom is emancipation, as far as possible, from the tyranny of the here and now.

— Bertrand Russell

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

— Bible, Proverbs 17:28

The cause of all our personal problems and nearly all the problems of the world can be summed up in a single sentence: Human life is very deep, and our modern dominant lifestyle is not.

— Bo Lozoff

The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don’t have to gain, develop, or attain them. We’re like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don’t need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are — as soon as we quit pretending we’re small or unholy.

— Bo Lozoff

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When people really listen to each other in a quiet, fascinated attention, the creative fountain inside each of us begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected wisdom.

— Brenda Ueland

Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow you, as the wheels of the oxcart follow the footsteps of the ox. Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a pure mind, happiness will follow you, as a shadow clings to a form.

— Buddha

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.

— Buddha

Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.

— Buddha

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

— Buddha

Now, Kalamas, don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, ‘This contemplative is our teacher.’ When you know for yourselves that, ‘These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness’ — then you should enter & remain in them.

(Sometimes translated: Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. )

— Buddha

Holy places are dark places. It is life and strength, not knowledge and words, that we get in them. Wisdom is not clear and thin like water, but thick and dark like blood.

— C. S. Lewis

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.

— Charles Dickens

I think I’ve discovered the secret of life — you just hang around until you get used to it.

— Charles Schultz

For there is one thing I can safely say: that those bound by love must obey each other if they are to keep company long. Love will not be constrained by mastery; when mastery comes, the God of love at once beats his wings, and farewell — he is gone. Love is a thing as free as any spirit; women naturally desire liberty, and not to be constrained like slaves; and so do men, if I shall tell the truth.

See who is the most patient in love; he has the greatest advantage. Patience is surely a great virtue, for it vanquished, as these scholars say, things that rigor would never manage. One cannot scold or complain at every word. Learn to endure patiently, or else, as I live and breathe, you shall learn it whether you want or not. For certainly there is no one in the world who doesn’t do or say something amiss. Anger, sickness, or planetary influences, wine, sorrow, or changing of disposition often causes one to do or speak amiss. One cannot be avenged for every wrong; according to the occasion, everyone who knows how, must use temperance. And therefore a wise man, in order to live in comfort, promises his lady forbearance, and she wisely gives her promise to him.

— Chaucer, ‘The Franklin’s Tale’

The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil.

— Cicero

The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.

— Clarence Darrow

I have always felt that doubt was the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of God was the end of wisdom.

— Clarence Darrow

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.

— Confucius

They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom.

— Confucius

In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.

— David Hume

A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence.

— David Hume

Wisdom is knowing what to do next; Skill is knowing how to do it, and Virtue is doing it.

— David Starr Jordan

We are now at a point in time when the ability to receive, utilize, store, transform and trasmit data — the lowest cognitive form — has expanded literally beyond comprehension. Understanding and wisdom are largely forgotten as we struggle under an avalanche of data and information.

— Dee Hock

To understand reality is not the same as to know about outward events. It is to perceive the essential nature of things. The best-informed man is not necessarily the wisest. Indeed there is a danger that precisely in the multiplicity of his knowledge he will lose sight of what is essential. But on the other hand, knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things. And so the wise man will seek to acquire the best possible knowledge about events, but always without becoming dependent upon this knowledge. To recognize the significant in the factual is wisdom.

— Dietrich Bonhoeffer

It is no longer enough to be smart — all the technological tools in the world add meaning and value only if they enhance our core values, the deepest part of our heart. Acquiring knowledge is no guarantee of practical, useful application. Wisdom implies a mature integration of appropriate knowledge, a seasoned ability to filter the inessential from the essential.

— Doc Childre and Deborah Rozman
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