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Sleep and Wisdom

  1. Jan 19, 2004 #1
    I'm combining two things into one here:

    (1) How does over-sleep and lack of sleep affect the mind? Concerning lack of sleep I'm sort of wondering if the conscious mind and subconscious can work together so to speak? The reason being is one day I was doing notes in class. I was taking notes and then all of a sudden I sort of half fell asleep. I was thinking about things as if I wasnt doing anything else and then all of a sudden I kind of woke up and looked up and my notes were almost finished.

    (2) Wisdom is a character trait that works with intelligence and allows one to utilize its full potential. I see people with skills in math and other subjects that are amazing. Yet they throw them away like nothing. However there are people with lower abilities that try and do better. I'm just wondering is wisdom an acquired trait from experience. Or is it rather based on intelligence itself and when someone is seemingly smarter the wiser person in reality has a higher capacity of learning and such.

    Also thanks to the people on this forum. It's a gold-mine of knowledge for a curious person like myself. :wink:
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  3. Jan 19, 2004 #2


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    I don't think intelligence and experience alone account for wisdom. Otherwise there wouldn't be any old, foolish geniuses, and there are. And if you have much experience of the human race, you can remember meeting mentally challenged wise people. Genuinely wise and genuinely challenged.

    Wisdom must be a talent, like music or math, that is honed through years of experience. Intelligence helps but isn't completely necessary.
  4. Feb 6, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    What is wisdom?

    There is a definition given but it runs a little too quickly for me. In fact the more I think about the question, the less I know where to begin. It seems that any interpretation of this question can be challenged. In business I can be wise, but I might be seen as ruthless. Is a lack of gullibility wisdom, or is it just a lack of gullibility; i.e. is wisdom a general or specific trait? I would think that many kinds of wisdom are found; with each of us lacking some and possessing others.

    For example, someone may seem to throw away an inherent talent, but perhaps a career in this respect would make them unhappy. Which is the wiser choice: happiness, or the maximum utilization of one’s talents?
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2004
  5. Feb 8, 2004 #4


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    To me, wisdom is not just intelligence or experience but having the intelligence to reflect upon and learn from one's experiences. Further, I don't see it as having anything to do with being skillful, talented or knowledgeable about a specific subject area. Rather, wisdom is more about drawing upon one's experiences to solve new problems...I think more synonymous with insight than knowledge.
  6. Feb 9, 2004 #5


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    That first question of yours has to be more specific. It really matters what kind of tired you are talking about. On days where I have to be in class at 7AM and I've only had 4 hours of sleep, I can't function at all and the simplest ideas become extremely difficult such as solving for 2 simultaneous equations (simple ones).
    On the other hand, end of the day type of tired makes me very productive and able to think of several complicated things at once - which is why I study after midnight.

    People throw away intelligence mostly because it leads to something they don't want (just like Ivan said).
  7. Feb 9, 2004 #6
    I think wisdom and intelligence are at opposing sides of the classical yin and yang balance.

    Not only will too much wisdom and not enough intelligence (and vice versa) be an imbalanced detriment, but the amount of one directly affects the amount of the other.

    I know it seems to go against "conventional wisdom", but I think that knowledge comes from experience in your surroundings, and that knowledge should be balanced with the wisdom that you were born with.

    I think the only true path to wisdom is to follow the Buddhist tennet: "Kill your parents, kill your teacher, kill your god".

    Wisdom, is inherent in our inherited instincts, and must be used to temper the knowledge we acquire throughout our experiences.

    If you focus solely (or too much) on knowledge, that knowledge tends to blur the wisdom required to use the knowledge effectively.

    I have no set beliefs in spiritual things, but I'd like to believe that the Hindus are right in their belief in reincarnation and that basically the soul retains the wisdom of our past lives, but not the knowledge.
    That would explain young people that people refer to as having "old souls".
    It would also neatly explain so many older morons.

    As to your other question:
    It seems to me that the brain forces us into a state of altered consciousness when the conscious mind is tired and needs rest.
    If one could find an ideal state of consciousness, in which the conscious and sub-conscious mind are working in harmony, and perhaps meditate in an effective way to allow the conscious mind its required rest, then that person may not need any sleep at all (or at least much less sleep).
    I haven't proven this yet, but I am going to try.
  8. Apr 27, 2004 #7
    Wisdom, it seems, goes further than simple knowledge. It seems to be an understanding of how and why a truth is working and how to take in to account the consequences of that truth (also implying an understanding of the world, the frame of reference for a truth). Similarly, a wise act is called such because the person that is responsible for it understands the consequences in the larger frame. So even if it appears to be a foolish act, it turns out to be wise in the end.
  9. Apr 27, 2004 #8
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