“Blessed is the man/woman who finds wisdom, the man/woman who gains understanding…. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.” [Inclusive edit mine] (Proverbs 3:13,17 )
In recent years the wisdom of the world has been organized, categorized and recorded. In order to find that wisdom, a new device has been created; the “search engine.” In order to get a handle on this term I looked at each word component. Search, meaning ‘to seek, to look for or look over; to examine; to explore or probe.’ Engine, meaning ‘a machine that turns energy to mechanical motion; a locomotive; (most notably) any agent, instrument or means of accomplishment.’ There is, if you have not noted it, great irony in these definitions. Through cyber quality of the internet we have created a device that will examine, explore or probe anything we want it to. The limits are set only by the vastness of the human imagination, and the limits on storing information on all computer systems in existence. To illustrate the scope of the collected wisdom, in .26 seconds I found 298,000,000 hits for the word “wisdom.”As a comparison, in .83 seconds I found 35,100,000,000 hits for the letter “a”. It boggles the mind.
Many people in this world search for wisdom. Some seek for wisdom in books, ancient manuscripts, secret writings of people who have long ago departed from this world. Others look for wisdom in the present world around them, using various scientific methods, measurements, and calculation. Still others seek for wisdom through understanding and so study in various and diverse disciplines. Regardless of where, how, and when they seek it, the search for wisdom is usually an activity that much time and energy is devoted to. But real wisdom, true wisdom, lasting wisdom is found by taking seriously verse seventeen. Wisdom is pleasant and peaceful.
Wisdom is not the mad search for knowledge, understanding, or even truth. Wisdom is not constructed in the brain, but felt in the soul and spirit. Wisdom, like shalom, has many facets and levels. That wisdom is personified as a woman I feel alludes to the natures of both true wisdom and false wisdom. A woman can be nurturing and healing, calming and reassuring. But a woman can also be tempting and seductive, leading fools to peril. In this passage and in other places in the book of Proverbs the character and nature of true wisdom is illustrated. Too often humanity confuses wisdom with the false allure of knowledge, power, and authority.
May you, gentle reader, be wise seeking the true path of wisdom that leads to peace. Selah!