The Nature Of Wisdom
From 'Role Of Morality' part of 'A Study Of Our Decline' by P Atkinson (22/2/2014)

"Rejoicing and loving and hating aright."—Aristotle's definition of virtue.

Knowledge Is The Realm Of Science
Discovering cause and effect is the result of experience, and the memory of this experience is knowledge, which is used to reveal truth from falsity and is the realm of science.

Knowledge Lacks Meaning
Knowledge does not supply meaning, for while it reveals that seeing a man lose his head is seeing a man die, it does not reveal the meaning of this death. Deciding if this death was right or wrong is a function of the observer's understanding, and this meaning only exists within that understanding.

Meaning Is Created By Morality
By applying his moral code to what he observes, a man can judge if he is observing a crime or justice or an accident. It is the man's moral code that supplies meaning.

Every Man Has A Religion
The moral code that a man uses to create meaning by recognising right from wrong, is the fixed foundation of the man's understanding and so controls the man. That is, every man is a disciple of his morality, which is his religion, so every man has a religion.

Feelings Are The Religion Of The Selfish
A selfish man worships himself, which is why the God of the selfish allows them to do as they feel, for their feelings are their God.

An Unselfish Moral Code Is The Religion Of The Unselfish
The God of the unselfish is their unselfish moral code, which demands they control their feelings and condemns failure to resist feelings as sin.

The Shared Unselfish Moral Code Is The Realm Of The Church
As a community is the shared understanding founded upon the shared unselfish moral code, the community requires an agency to uphold and maintain this code; and this is the church. Hence the realm of the church is to judge what is right (virtue) and what is wrong (sin).

The Teachings Of The Church SHOULD Be Unvarying
As a moral code is the essential and permanent foundation of an understanding, the recognition of sin should be constant and the claims of Revelations should endure; unlike scientific theories which must vary in the light of new discoveries. Although scientific advancements may obscure the truth and require refinement in Church teachings, such changes are only to the interpretation of, not changes to, the axioms of morality. Nevertheless, as the Church is made up of citizens, and as the character of the community decays from unselfish to selfish, then the teachings of the church will become corrupted; but by then the tradition that the church's teachings are sacrosanct will also have been discarded, and the church's voice will be irrelevant.

The Realms Of Religion And Science
It is not, and never should be, the role of religion to decide truth or falsity. If knowledge appears to contradict Revelations, then the interpretation of Revelations has strayed into the realm of science and should therefore be modified. Hence it was a failure of duty of the Church when it interfered with Galileo's investigation into the earth's orbit. It was wrong for the Church to interpret Revelations to mean the earth was the actual centre of the universe, and the sun had to orbit the earth, for this is the realm of science; which is why the teachings of the Church then produced a temporary denial of truth: an absurdity, which rightfully cast doubt upon the character of Church officials, but inevitably raised doubt about religion as a whole.

Wisdom Is The Use Of Science Directed By Religion
Religion supplies meaning so bestowing purpose, while Science reveals how this purpose may be realised; so wisdom is the understanding directed by an unselfish moral code (religion) and informed by the knowledge of cause an effect revealed by experience (science). It cannot be wisdom if the knowledge is unscientific, for example when the church dictates truth from falsity, as in Galileo's case; nor can it be wisdom if the direction is not that of a traditional unselfish moral code, as is the case with Australian law in 2010.

Wisdom Reveals Good From Evil
By supplying purpose wisdom is revealing what is good and what is evil, for Good must be the striving to meet the purpose revealed by religion, and Evil must be frustrating that purpose.

Limitations Of Wisdom
The greater the experience, the more extensive the lessons and the better the decisions must become. Hence the older an understanding the larger the experience to draw upon and the wiser the decisions that will result, subject to some crucial limitations:

1. Not Absolute Different understandings—different founding values — form different, and often incompatible, beliefs (wisdom). What is wise to one community may be foolish to another. So while knowledge is universal, wisdom is specific to a community.

2. Subject To Senility The chance of dementia, which is loss of the ability to think clearly, increases with age. When an understanding becomes senile its decisions are corrupted by dementia making them valueless, and communities as well as individuals are afflicted by this disease.

3. Constantly Needs Refining The world constantly changes so that previous decisions must be regularly modified in the light of new experience. The communal response is traditionally via the law, which in our community is through common law. Particular instances are put to the courts for them to rule, and so continually refine the existing communal wisdom.

4. Needs A Sane Understanding Wisdom can only be accumulated if the understanding is sane, for an understanding can be sane or insane.

« NEXT » « The Role Of Morality » « Philosophy Defined » « A Study Of Our Decline »