Best-Of Advice

On wisdom

Where/how did you get so wise? I don’t mean that ironically. In concrete terms, please.

Well, it sure as fuck wasn’t in church.

I’m not quite sure how to answer this really, because accepting the premise of the question makes me kind of a douche. Not that I’m one for false humility. I’ll admit that my IQ is probably higher than my credit score, but wisdom and intelligence aren’t the same thing.

Part of my charm comes from the fact that I grew up ugly and poor in the dirty south and now I’m cute as a fucking button on the west side of paradise. That contrast alone keeps me sharp. Plus, unlike the 85% of Americans who don’t even have a passport, I’ve seen a bit of the world.

But that’s the cheap answer. The real one is a bit more fucked up.

Whatever genuine wisdom I have comes from having faced my own mortality at an age when all my friends were preoccupied with sorority rush. I was forced to contemplate the very real likelihood of my own death without the benefit of having lived a full life, and I had to acknowledge some cold, sticky truths about the meaning of it all.

At first, all I did was freak myself out. Peering into an infinite regression is some scary stuff. Eventually though, I grew comfortable with my utter insignificance in an unimaginably vast universe, and I found that I had no need or desire to supplicate myself to a higher power. We are tiny specks of talking meat on a wet little ball in the middle of nowhere, and I’m perfectly okay with that. The pursuit of happiness is enough.

It’s a difficult concept to communicate, but all the athiest soldiers and godless cancer patients out there already know what I’m talking about. There is a freedom that comes from letting go, after you’re forced to completely jettison your ego. You can’t fake it, and if you’re lucky enough to live, it always stays with you.

All right, enough heavy shit. I’m off to the pool.

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2 thoughts on “On wisdom

  1. Chris says:

    I have reached the beginning, covering over 6 years in a few weeks – well worth my employer’s time.

    If we meet and you see me first, give me the secret code signal so I know it’s you. I’ll reply with my secret code in reply and we’ll have some laughs, and then look forward to the next time.

  2. L says:

    It is my belief that wisdom stems from personal experience. The more you go through in your lifetime that you have learned from, the wiser you may become. Wisdom is a collective of knowing the ways of the world. You can be a textbook illiterate, yet be much more wise than a college valedictorian. It all comes from allowing your experiences shape you in a positive light while knowing that there are things to learn from every harsh experience you go through. I’m not saying you have to be a significant age to be wise, you just have to survive the hard times without asking yourself “why me?” A better question in those times is how did this happen, and how do I get through it should this happen again? Sadly, I can’t speak so we’ll for myself, because in my life, I have allowed myself to suffer for my hard times, and I’ve learned from them, but I end up playing the victim more than I really should. This is just my thoughts though.

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