B. A. RusseU
I think the essence of wisdom is emancipation, as far as possible, from the tyranny of the here and the now. We cannot help the egoism of our senses. Sight and sound and touch are bound up with our own bodies and cannot be made impersonal. Our emotions start similarly from ourselves. An infant feels hunger or distress, and is unaffected except by his own physical condition. Gradually with the years, his horizon widens, and, in proportion as his thoughts and feelings become less personal and less concerned with his own physical states, he achieves growing wisdom. This is of course a matter of degree. No one can view the world with complete justice, and if anyone could, he would hardly be able to remain alive. But it is possible to make a continual approach towards justice, on the one hand, by knowing things somewhat remote in time or space, and, on the other hand,by giving to such things their due weight in our feelings. It is this approach towards justice that constitutes growth in wisdom.
Can wisdom be taught? And, if it can, should the teaching of it be one of the aims of education? I should answer both these questions in the affirmative. I do not think that knowledge and morals ought to be too much separated. Even the best technicians should also be good citizens: and when I say "citizens," I mean citizens of the world and not of this or that sect or nation. With every increase of knowledge and skill,wisdom becomes more necessary, for every such increase strengthens our capacity of realizing our purposes, and therefore strengthens our capacity for evil, if our purposes are unwise. The world needs wisdom as it has never needed it before: and if knowledge continues to increase, the world will need wisdom in the future even more than it does now.