On Philosophy
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On Philosophy

On Wisdom

The “Sour Grapes” Variety and the True Variety

Reality is the state of the universe; it is what is. Desire is our wish to change reality. Hell is a situation where reality and desires don’t match; and heaven is when they do.

Note, both hell and heaven exist in degrees. A hell where “I want to each chocolate, but none is available” is very different to a hell where “I want to live comfortably, but this terrorist, dentist or violinist is torturing me.”

The belief in will is the belief that we can influence reality to satisfy our desires.

For example, “I desire chocolate, and I can satisfy this desire by going to the supermarket, buying a bar or three, and then eating some.”

Will is one of two ways in which we connect desire and reality. The other way is wisdom. If will is changing reality to fit our desires, wisdom is changing our desires to fit reality.

For example, if we turn up at the supermarket and find that they are out of chocolate, one might be wise and reason that “This is indeed a good thing. I won’t be putting on any extra weight this week, and my long-suffering pancreas will be ever so grateful.”

I (and likely you) have been “wise” in this way many a time.

But every time I’ve been “wise” in this way, I’ve also felt an ever-so-small pang of regret. While the healthy-eating argument is ever-so rational, the original sin of desiring chocolate never really, completely goes away.

But why is that?

One could argue the regret is due to a lack of honesty. We might be pretending not to want chocolate purely because none is available — a sort of “Sour Grapes” wisdom.

Interestingly, both “will” and this wisdom of the “sour grapes” variety have one thing in common: a dependence on time.

We will to eat chocolate before we go to the supermarket to see if any are available. Similarly, we decide to be wise after we go to the supermarket and find out that none is.

And the accusation of sour grapes arises because we change our minds; depending on reality. Or in other words, our desires depend on reality.

Is this a problem?

We might consider it a problem when we consider that this dependency might be unnecessary.

For example, suppose you are “wise” enough (of the “sour-grapes” variety) to reason yourself out of any hypothetical misfortune after it happens. If so, you should be able to reason yourself out of any potential misfortune before the fact.

This state of mind is equivalent to one where one can be content with any reality: A reality where bad things don’t happen; Or, more accurately, where neither bad things nor good things happen, because there are is no bad or good.

In other words, one where one has true wisdom.

Photo Credit: UnSplash

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Articles on Philosophy by Nuwan I. Senaratna

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Nuwan I. Senaratna

Nuwan I. Senaratna

I am a Computer Scientist and Musician by training. A writer with interests in Philosophy, Economics, Technology, Politics, Business, the Arts and Fiction.

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