We Have Lost the Notion of Wisdom

We Have Lost the Notion of Wisdom
Icon of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom by Lorenzo Monaco (1370-1425 A.D.)

If there is something lacking in modern society, it is wisdom, which can be defined as knowing the highest cause of things.

German philosopher Josef Pieper takes this definition one step further by declaring: “‘To know the highest cause,’ then, does not mean to know the cause of some particular thing, but to know the cause of everything and of all things: it means to know the ‘whither’ and the ‘whence,’ the origin and the end, the plan and the structure, the frame work and the meaning of reality.”1

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He has a point. We live in a hyper-specialized world where everyone knows more and more about less and less. That is why the specialist is not necessarily a wise man; he often lacks a vision of the whole. We have lost the notion of that whole framework of a Christian order that explains the meaning of life together in society. We no longer follow that order of the universe that serves as the map to get us to our final goal of salvation which is why we are here in the first place.

1 Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, (New York: The New American Library, 1963), p. 110.

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