Proverbs and Wisdom.
What a Proverb is and how it works:
There are rules that govern the Universe. These rules will be referred to here as Universal Truths. A proverb is either a way to express one or more of these rules and to teach a lesson that is learned with wisdom. The saying may be witty, short, pointed or eclectic but irregardless of how it is presented, to be a proverb the explanation should denote one of the Universal Truths.
This definition may be challenged because, of course, not every proverb or maxim is a direct reference to a Universal Truth, but to be a proverb it must point to a truth. However, for the purpose of this work, I am referencing the proverbs collected in the book of Proverbs, by King David, King Solomon or their Courts. Each of these should be thought of as pathways to finding Universal Truths. It should also be noted that there are also short stories told in the Proverbs passages. These stories are used to teach a lesson or expose a human condition that a simple sentence would not convey. You may find it odd that some times when there is a story introduced it will be countered with an opposing view and then be followed by giving a ruling. This is done, most likely, as a way of re-teaching the lesson as it was taught. It is quite likely that Solomon learned this truth by watching a story unfold as he or his father encountered a situation in Court or in life and the story was recorded as such because its lesson was profound.
It is this Author’s opinion that Proverbs was written for the Youth and Ecclesiastes was written for the Aged of Solomon’s Family, Court and Kingdom. He greatly valued wisdom, even saying that its price is far above rubies. He called wisdom the, “Principal Thing,” meaning it is the Chief, head or most important thing. He was trying to give those around him the secrets to life, which he tells us in Ecclesiastes, he spent much of his life finding, learning and testing these secrets. He wrote it down so that he could remember it and so that others, that wanted to know the “secrets to life”, could find their answers here, hidden in plain sight and explained simply, as if to a child.
It should be noted that not everyone believes that Solomon was as great and wise as purported. Some even question if he ever existed at all; the reality of his existence being grouped with other famous possible fables such as King Arthur or Sun Tzu. We will not be arguing for or against these points of view because the argument itself would be… foolish. If a Rose by any other name still smells sweet then these writings, regardless of who penned them, are still pathways to Universal Truths. It seems logical that any man or group that could write with this acuity for the human condition must be regarded as real enough to be listened to. As an aside, It should be noted that leaders often have a habit of collecting their thoughts. Many leaders have built a collection of memoirs. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the Roman Emperor that guided that civilization through a great plague, penned a collection of thoughts. He titled the work, “Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, To Himself.” It is not inconceivable that Solomon, supposedly the wisest man to ever live, would have done something similar.
This work is not built to be an argument for King Solomon or even the Bible for that matter, although you will see that both are highly regarded as they are the foundation upon which it is based. The work is designed to be a project that utilizes the Proverbs of King Solomon, as mentioned above, to be pathways to finding Universal Truths. Sun Tzu may be as being a singular man and King Arthur may never have actually existed. However, the truths that they tout and the greatness they inspire should be, like Solomons Proverbs, a staple in every heart that wants to make life worth living.
How are they used? Great question!
Since we have already likened a proverb to a pathway to finding Universal Truths, then their use would be like that of any other pathway. Once it is found, explore it and follow it to the destination. That is the wonderful living beauty of a proverb; it is more than a singular truth and it is more than a pathway to a singular truth.
Life has many facets or layers. There is always more than one meaning or one lesson to be learned from a situation. Proverbs was written in such a way that it allows the “Words of the Wise and their dark sayings,” to flow through life and enrich your soul, your mind, your life, your attitude, your present needs, your future needs and so much more, with just a simple phrase or illustration. This book of Proverbs truly is a work performed with mastery level genius and it could only be accomplished by someone that was granted wisdom from Heaven. I am giving this accolade as a seasoned Researcher that has studied many of the great works and I find the works of Solomon to be so specifically broad as well as deep and his words and phrases so uniquely placed that they have no contemporary. Take this example for instance:
Proverbs chapter 26 verse 4 states:
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Yet, the very next verse reads:
Answer a fool according to his folly lest he be wise in his own conceit.
How can 2 consecutive proverbs be so blatantly contradictory? I have actually seen this set of verses used by more than one College Professor in lectures as proof that the Bible is a fallacy. From the surface, to an untrained eye, it appears that this passage certainly does seem to be contradictory; therefore using these passages to denounce the validity of the Bible is a reasonable assumption. However, I happened to have been privy to some information that these College Professors had obviously overlooked, Solomon was wise. Wise men often present information in such a way that it confounds the intelligence of the Simple, chafes the Fool and is disdained by the Scorner. This knowledge is paramount to understanding Proverbs! The TRUTH is the truth whether you like it or not. Since in this case, both passages are written such that they are not contradictory, they are actually complimentary. They are both pathways to a Universal Truth? Universal Truths, by definition, cannot be in opposition of each other. Allow me to present a case that shows that these very knowledgable College Professors, by denouncing this passage, were actually showing how unwise they actually were:
First, no one said those verses were actually consecutive proverbs. Just because they have a different reference number does not mean the two are separated. Solomon’s book of Proverbs, like the rest of the Bible, was not written in a chapter and verse outline. That format was added much later as a way to simplify locating passages. Read the passage for what it says as it was intended by the Author.
Next, always keep in mind that Proverbs was written to be true on multiple levels. Read the passage and discern. Is it possible that verse 4 is telling you that if you are working with or for a fool, then DO NOT tell the person they are a fool. Doing so would be extremely foolish. You have no responsibility to correct the person.
Verse 5, in contrast, is telling you that if you are in charge and have a fool working for you it is your prerogative to put them in their place.
This is a great expose on the levels that make up Proverbs
To expound further, let us feature a Child and a Parent listening to a person tell a story that is not completely accurate. The Child looks at the Mother and ask, “Is that real?” Mom is now tasked with a dilemma. Does she smile and brush it off with a parental remark like, “I’ll explain it when you are older,” or does she indignantly fire back at the Story Teller by calling them out as a liar?
It depends on the level. Is the Story Teller a Simpleton that is parroting something they heard from somewhere else or are they a Shyster attempting to deceive for sport or profit?
These too, are levels and there are many more. Therefore, in an attempt to cover as many levels as possible, Solomon admonishes us to practice discernment and apply the correct proverb to the correct level. Most of the time, discernment is THE point of the proverb. Discernment is the lens through which we view each level and the longer we live and the more experience we accrue the deeper the levels go. Hence the admonition in Proverbs 1:6 “To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.”
Permit me to give a personal story that illustrates another level that Proverbs 26:4&5 illuminates:
Some time ago, I was running a service based business. I had a Client that moved on to another service provider. The following year, it was obvious that the new service provider was not servicing the property and had not done so in several months. The property looked atrocious and was an eye sore in the community. I serviced the property as a courtesy to my existing Clients (this properties neighbors). I advised the Owner that their property had been neglected and sent them a small bill for the work performed. I received a correspondence from the Owner of the property stating that they would assume that I had billed them in error since they had not approved for me to do the work. They were certain that I had done the job as a courtesy.
My reply to them was simple. I stated that the bill was no error. The work had been done as a courtesy, to my existing Clients and to them. I then explained that there was nothing to worry about, we would not make the mistake of helping them again in the future.
Their correspondence continued stating how they had been wronged by my good nature, and so on and so forth. But I never responded again.
You see, I have spent months haggling with folks over payment. I finally realized that if they owed me for work performed and did not want to pay me then I had to take them to court and force them to pay or place a lien on their property. There was no use in arguing. If they were crooked and disrespectful people that refuse to return kindness when someone does them a good turn then I will leave them to their own misery.
I answered the fool once so they would not be wise in their own conceit.
I never answered them again lest I play the fool as well.
Now that we have seen the intricacy of Proverbs and how they are built to teach multiple truths consider the following:
Each proverb is a path ascending through a multitude of levels. The path is lighted by experience, research, discernment and most of all, by God-given wisdom. Which is why Proverbs declares in Chapter 4 verse 7- Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. You must know that this book should be in your thoughts and heart at all times. It should be the yardstick that you utilize as the standard by which you judge everything in your life. Only then will you see and understand the Universal Truths and only then will you see life for what it truly is.
If your heart yearns to live, read on.
Words and Ideas
Words express ideas. Ideas are power: In simple, words are magic because they have the power of the idea they express behind them. In a simple yet effective case to make my point, I refer to my childhood. My Parents were loving, wonderful people and they both loved me dearly. I soon learned that when my Mother called me by my first and last name that I was in trouble. When she used my full name, I was in a great deal of trouble. As I grew older I came to realize that my name was my favorite sound in the world to me. When a cute girl at school called me by name I was enamored, “She knows my name!” Once while I was in college I met a very prominent person in the community and he called me by name, once again, it made me feel VERY special. I realized that my name was a recognition of me. To tell the truth, even when my name was mispronounced it made me feel good just to get some kind of recognition. I remember distinctly my Junior year in High School I was playing a football game and the Public Announcer finally pronounced my last name correctly when I made a play. I was almost shocked. I had been playing for 3 years at that school and the Announcer alway mis-pronounced my last name. After the game was over I mentioned it to my family on the way home. There was a quiet hush in the vehicle and then my Brother admitted he had gone to the Announcer and complained. We all had a good laugh, but it just goes to show that some recognition is better than no recognition.
In the same way that our names are sacred to us, so to should words be. How you speak. What you say. How you say it. When you say it. Whom you say it to. Where you say it. These are all major factors in how well you have evolved through your education process and therefore is a major determining factor in how people perceive you. For most of my life it has been said that we should not judge other people. I can tell you with certainty that how you utilize words directly correlates to how people perceive you. If you speak like an Imbecile then you will be treated as such. If you speak as though you respect yourself and others then you will be treated with respect by everyone except the Imbecile.
In short, this entire work can be summed up in this statement, “I must learn to master the ideas that words represent and then deploy the words correctly.”
Wisdom: the acknowledgment and proper use of Universal Truths
Understanding: to have knowledge that extends beyond application to the point of adaptation
Justice: utilizing rules to make a judgement
Judgement: a decision
Equity: the foundation that keeps decisions upright
Subtility: softness. quiet and coy observation, perception and action
Simple: newcomer that is unexperienced or anyone that is unprepared
Knowledge: the mental grasp of what is
Discretion: the application or halting of force or will, usually accompanies timing.
Wise man: a human that is looking for truth and is willing to bend what they want around the truth instead of bending the truth around what they want
The fear of the LORD: positioning oneself to allow Universal Truth guide you by having respect for the rules and developing character to align with them.
Fool, Fools, Foolish: a person that disregards the rules and Universal Truth and instead chooses to follow their own path.
Law: the rules of Nature and the Universe. Also, it is wise to adhere as closely as possible to the Laws of your governing body in accordance with Universal Truth.
Way (the): there is a path for you to follow. It is yours alone, follow it. Do not be drawn into another way that is not yours neither pull someone into your path as both will be frustrating and unfruitful.
Evil: doing wrong or harm to another for self serving or ill intentions
Vain, Vanity: emptiness. If, in the end, there is only emptiness then it is vanity.
Definitions and Explanations:
Wise / Wisdom:
The right use of exercise of knowledge; The selection of laudable ends, and of the best means to accomplish them. This is wisdom in act, effect or practice. if wisdom is to be considered as a faculty of the mind, it is the faculty of discerning or judging what is most just, proper and useful, and if it is to be considered as an acquirement, it is the knowledge and use of what is best, most just, most proper , most conducive to the prosperity or happiness.
Wisdom in the first sense, or practical wisdom, is nearly synonymous with discretion. It differs somewhat form prudence, in this respect; Prudence is the exercise of sound judgement in avoiding evils; Wisdom is the exercise of sound judgement either in avoiding evils or attempting good.
*Adapted from Websters 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
A common definition of Wise or Wisdom is that of knowing. It is remarkable to note that the root word stems from a root which also means to see. I see no reason to challenge Mr. Webster on his choice of definition as he clearly states that Wise is to know or hold. I would add that in a broader sense of the word Wisdom is seeing the world for what it really is, holding the universal truths that govern the world in your mind and heart and knowing how to use or maneuver the world or things in it accordingly.
Wisdom, then would be standing in the place or being apportioned to use the “Wiseness” you have earned.
In actuality, Wisdom is more than something we aim to possess or use. If we ONLY see wisdom as a possession or something to attain then we have missed the major part of it. When we read Proverbs chapter 8 we find that Wisdom is alive. Chapter 8, in its entirety, is Wisdom telling us who and what it really is. The story is truly mind altering. Wisdom has a gender, Proverbs 8:1-3 tells us several times that wisdom (and understanding, which seem to be separate parts of the same being) is Female. She starts chapter 8 by calling to mankind to listen to her. As the chapter progresses She is making a case for how valuable she is and what benefits she can bring to the ones that seek her; verse 17: “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”
She tells us why we should listen to Her. She was with God before he built the Universe; Verse 22: “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” Verse 27: “When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth…” This Woman is legitimately the “lifelong” friend of God; verse 30: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;”
To be honest, it appears from these verses that Wisdom is saying that She is either God’s best friend or his Wife depending on how you look at it,
(For those of you that are reading this and balk at the thought of God being married, thinking that the Church is the Bride of Christ, please understand that I am not making a claim that God is married or discussing the Trinity and how it relates to God being 3 in 1; People have been arguing and killing each other over such issues since before the Council of Nicaea. That is an entirely different discussion. THIS work is dedicated to Proverbs and how we can use it’s truths, not religion.)
and She says that her delights are with us, the sons of men; Verse 31. She then admonishes us again to listen to her; Verse 35, “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.”
When we read this chapter, we may consider perhaps Solomon was personifying Wisdom to make her more real, more desirable so as to endear her to our hearts. It is also possible Solomon attempted to tell us how to approach Wisdom, as a woman. She needs to be loved and appreciated. She needs to be noticed, She needs to be valued. Solomon may have been telling us that if we treat Wisdom correctly She will pour out her affection and take care of us. Those are possibilities; but it is also just as possible that the man that was purported to be the “Wisest Man to ever live” actually found that he could have a personal relationship with Wisdom; He walked with her and talked with her and she with him. I suggest that we not consider this chapter as Solomons employment of Poetic License, rather as an insight into what really may be available to us… if we seek Her perhaps we truly can find Her.
A simpleton is someone that is new or unlearned. They are often figured as being young but I can attest that un-tenured is probably a better term as I have encountered many children with “street smarts” that could far surpass an unwitting adult. Typically, a Simpleton then would be a novice and that can happen at any age. The goal for the Simple person would be to become educated as quickly as possible without paying too high a price for the education. For example, a classical education would do you very little good if you were in a plane crash in the Alps. In that situation finding someone with pertinent survival skills would be your first order of business, if at all possible. That brings us to our next definition…
This is where the Simple start their journey. The type of instruction they receive and how they learn it can have a great bearing on where they end up. However, THE MOST important factor of instruction for any one is HOW THEY CHOOSE to receive it.
It has been said many times that the people you spend the most time with will influence you the most. It has also been noted that what you allow to influence you WILL influence you. Meaning what you read, listen to, watch, participate in, or in any other way sift through your mind and heart will influence you. Which is why Proverbs admonishes us to, “Guard your heart, for out of it are the issues of life.”
In plain english, this means that what you take into your mind and heart literally works to shape your mind and hearts processes. It is therefore of the utmost importance that you check, double check and then recheck your thoughts BEFORE making a decision making process. An example. Let us feature a garden of freshly tilled earth, this is the blank canvas upon which the Gardener will grow her garden. She is a good and experienced gardener so She takes care to choose certain plants and prepare the soil according to the needs of those plants. The seeds or seedlings are sown with care according to plan and a watchful eye is employed to meet the plants needs. There are systems put into play that keep the weeds to a minimum so they soils nutrients are absorbed by the chosen plants. Other systems are employed to deter or eradicate pests that would rob the garden of its purpose. This is how we should guard our heart. The plants that we allow and cultivate will determine the success of the garden.
Here is where the external transmutes to the internal. Understanding is taking knowledge from an exterior source and employing it in different ways. For instance, take an automobile engine sitting in a wrecked vehicle. The car itself is unsalvageable but in the hands of Mechanic, someone that UNDERSTANDS, the engine is removed and placed into another vehicle that needed an engine. The Mechanic then took two useless vehicles and made something useful out of them by leveraging understanding.
In a similar way, we should be constantly learning as humans to, “perfect our craft” and make ourselves better. In this way we are truly making the world a better place because we are making ourselves better by understanding who we are and doing something about it.
The virtue which consists in giving to everyone what is due; practical conformity to the laws and to principles of rectitude in the dealings of mankind with each other; Honesty; Integrity in commerce or mutual intercourse.
Justice is distributive or commutative. Distributive justice belongs to magistrates or rulers and consists in distributing to every one that right or equity which the laws and the principles of equity require; or in deciding controversies according to the laws and to the principles of equity.
Commutative justice consists in fair dealing in trade or mutual connection.
Impartiality; equal distribution of right in expressing opinions; fair representation of facts respecting merit or demerit.
*Adapted from Websters 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
Justice is often referred to as blind. This is not because she cannot see but because she chooses not to let who she sees affect her decision, she is only concerned with the facts.
In Proverbs, Justice is a major player in the decision making process. Truth is coveted above all else. So much so that it says in Chapter 4 verse 18: “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
The Just follow the way of Justice. Justice is what truly makes us different from the beasts. We do not hold true that the bigger and stronger get to do whatever they want simply because they can. On the contrary, we build systems that protect the weak and the feeble. We find the abuse of power disgusting. In our heart of hearts we all want to be the, “POTENTATE OF OUR OWN STATE” and in some ways we are. Justice however, demands that we act justly and show respect for others. Our system of Justice is not perfect, but how can it be as long as there are realities such as human emotions, natural disasters, power hungry factions and self serving derelicts? It is therefore the duty of each and every person to uphold their own Justice internally by turning a blind eye to the derelicts and the despots and let your light shine more and more unto the perfect day. This is by no means a suggestion for ignoring the evil in the world. It is, rather a behest to be just. Stand for what is true and just and right. Shed the light on the brighter side of improvement. As you will see over and over again in this work, the ONLY way to better the world is by making yourself better.
The act or process of the mind in comparing its ideas, to find their agreement or disagreement, and to ascertain truth; or the process of examining facts and arguments, to ascertain propriety and justice, or the process of examining the relations between one proposition and another.
A mental determination formed from comparing the relations of ideas or the comparison of facts and arguments.
The right or power of passing sentence.
*Adapted from Websters 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
In a literal sense, Judgement is- Using judgement to have judgement to make a judgement if you are in the position to stand in judgement.
Basically, Judgement is either a portion of a decision making process or a decision. To be direct, decisions should be made by the person responsible for the situation that requires the decision. This process, by its very nature is tied directly to Authority. In fact, Judgement is most easily understood by explaining how Authority works. Do not misunderstand, Authority and Judgement are two separate ideas and things and are therefore not to be confused with each other. Authority grants the right to make a Judgement and Judgement rights are usually only reserved for those in Authority. Permit me then to explain Authority so we can better understand Judgement.
Authority can be described simply as a sphere which houses a specific area, think of a bubble. Anything encompassed by the bubble is encompassed by the authority of that bubble. By saying this, it is meant that a sphere of authority contains everything inside of it and nothing outside. There are, however, millions of bubbles floating around bumping into each other, some larger bubbles encase smaller bubbles and so on and so forth. Each bubble is governed by the rules that are set up in that bubble and by any other rules that are set forth by any bubble which encompasses it.
To make this more simple let us look at laws and rules that are used by the United States of America. Each Adult is in essence their own bubble. They have rules that they live by whether they identify them or not. Let us say that a family is formed and becomes its own bubble. There are household rules that apply and everyone that lives in the household is responsible to keep the rules and laws set forth.
That household is usually set in a governing province, a City or County or both that tell the inhabitants what is expected of them and does its best to keep their larger bubble in order, those Cities and Counties are clumped together in a State that has a governing body that tells the Cities and Counties and inhabitants what is expected of them and does its best to keep their larger bubble in order. The States are clumped together in a Union (Country) that tell their inhabitants what is expected of them and does its best to keep their larger bubble in order.
These Spheres of Influence are set forth so that there are many levels of Authority at varying degrees which help us stay civil.
Let us say for instance that one household bubble infringes on its neighbor and steals the property of another bubble. Since the household sphere of influence does not extend to the neighbor that stole the property, the single household calls on the Authority of the next larger bubble (City or County) to investigate and pass judgement on the offending household. Authority does not rest on the offended household to make judgement on another household, judgement can only be correctly handed down by an Authority that encompasses both parties (typically).
It should be noted that this does not in any way make the City or County responsible for the correct running of either household. It is their job (Authority) to govern between households not govern EACH household. The City is not responsible for paying the mortgage or food bill or clothing bill or medical bill or vehicle note or utility bill for each household in its sphere. Each household should set its own budget, choose its own investments and work independently. That Authority is granted to the Persons in charge of each household. Why? because Authority is only granted to the Person that is responsible for the judgement for that decision. Meaning that you are responsible to make the decisions to which only you can RESPOND… see the word correlation between response and responsible, I told you words are magic!
If each household does what it is responsible for then typically there is no intervention from the City or County or State or Country, Why? Because it is being well governed and no additional Authority is needed because there is nothing that needs responding to, no judgement to be made. However, just because a household falls under the Authority of a City in ONE aspect does not mean that it does so in EVERY aspect. If your City is overstepping its Authority and passing judgments that you see as unjust, you have the ability to challenge them on their Judgement and Authority over the situation. You can even take them to a higher court if they do not listen to you.
As you can see, the Sphere of Authority or Judgement carries a great deal of complexity. Most everyone can plainly see that there are Spheres of Authority in Political terms but what about in personal terms. How does this apply to us, individually?
Who decides where you work? Who decides what clothes you can wear? Who decides what food you eat? Who decides what you do with your time? Who decides where you live? Who decides what you do with your life?
In all honesty, at different stages of life each answer can be different. But for practical intents and purposes the answer to each of these questions should be YOU if you are in your own bubble. If you are in the position of being in charge of your bubble and the answer to these questions (and more) is not yourself, then, my friend, you have given that Authority to someone else. If you have simply not taken charge of your life then you have no right to grieve or bemoan your predicament. The world is not going to hand you what you want just because you want it. you are going to have to make some tough decisions to get where you want to go. HOWEVER!
Maybe you have chosen to give someone else a certain level of Authority over you as a trade off for future freedoms. For instance, you may have chosen a career in the Military. In that case you will only have a certain amount of say over where you live and what you do because you work for an Organization that is vast and ever changing to meet the needs of your Country. They tell you what to wear, where to go, what to do and so on; but you are serving a greater good and that brings certain sacrifices but also certain privileges.
It could be that you have chosen to work for a large company and they can move you to a new location at will. This Authority they have over you also brings a freedom because once you have invested enough time in the company you can request a transfer to your dream destination and they may even pay you more to go there. Life is full of trade-offs. Judge wisely!
Getting back to the topic, Judgement, as you can see, has a great many meanings and applications. We have explored Judgement and Authority as they pertain to political divisions, now let us delve into the mirky deep of Judgement and Authority in interpersonal relationships. For simplicity sake, we will explore some of the complexities that exist with Judgement and Authority between a Mother and Child. Particularly My Mother and Myself, as I can speak with some expertise on the matter.
When I was born I was completely dependent upon my Mother. She fed me, bathed me, clothed me and so forth. Everywhere I went I was either taken by or sent by my Mother. Let me take a moment to say that I have a WONDERFUL Mother! She loves me and cares for me and I love her dearly. So when I say that She had complete Authority over me I am not complaining in the least! Someone had to use Judgement for me because I had no way of using it for myself. I grew older and more independent. In doing so I earned the right to use more of my own Judgement. I, however, desired more independence than I deserved, this brought about a great deal fo squabbling over who had the Authority over a certain situation. I felt that I was more than capable to make the decision for myself and so I forced my Mother to argue about some really stupid things.
I remember the first time that this Sphere of Authority and Judgement actually presented itself to me. I was a young man but still living at home, most likely just about to finish High School. I had done something REALLY dumb and the punishment was that I had been kicked out of school and had to attend the local Alternative Learning Center. I know this embarrassed my Parents but to my knowledge neither of them ever said anything about it. I remember asking my Dad and he simply shrugged it off saying it was a matter I would have to deal with myself. He was right. My Mom had no say in the matter. He had no say in the matter. I was on my own. I did my best to rectify the situation and after my punishment was administered I moved on, a little wiser and I certainly used a little more Judgement in the future.
In this story, My Mother’s Bubble was shrinking around me as my own grew. Today my Mother has very little Authority over me, but a great deal of influence. We sit and discuss things and I enjoy learning what she knows instead of arguing about my selfish insignificant trivialities.
Modern dictionaries define equity as fairness. In a sensible and simple manner this is an accurate definition.
Equity is, in its essence, more than fairness. It is the foundation, it is the bedrock of any and every quality decision making process. Equity is truth enacted, truth used properly, truth in action.
Equity does not see good and bad or right and wrong; it only sees truth and untruth. More than just seeing the truth, it is literally disseminating truth from untruth; sifting it out, if you will.
Equity is equal, level, even. It is the impartial distribution of justice. It is engaging self and others with the laws that God, nature, man and reason dictate
Finesse. The art of inspecting, perceiving and approaching a situation with a quiet understanding and addressing the situation with stealth and intelligence. Specifically, Subtility is how you do something as opposed to what you do. Meaning, the actions that you choose should be employed using Subtility.
On a personal note, when I was young it was pounded into my heart and head that honesty was always the best policy. As I have aged I have found this cornerstone of my upbringing to be extremely helpful. There have been many times that my honesty in the face of trouble has saved me, leaving me to wish I had only been more honest. One thing I did not learn early on, even though my Parents tried very hard to transfer the knowledge, was that being honest did not necessarily mean that I had to be blunt or blatant. It has taken me many years to discover that a word unsaid or a thought kept to myself could keep me from burning a bridge that did not need to be burned. Shame on me for all the times I said things that were honest but should not have been said.
Make no mistake, I am not promoting half truth or withholding truth, those are just a lie dressed in a different coat; no, the point is that subtility is the finesse that marks a step above the crudeness and piety which is often the course that brings about our blunt truth.
The simple person or Simpleton is any one at any age that is unlearned in a subject. Typically, when Proverbs describes the Simple they are young and impressionable but as study unwraps the layers it becomes obvious that any one can be Simple on a given subject. Why is it important to note this? So that we all realize where we stand. We will return to this thought shortly.
The Simple is best described as a blank page that is ready to be written upon. What the Simple one allows to be written down determines what the page becomes. This is why it is of the utmost importance that each of us guard our hearts and minds by being VERY selective who and what we allow to make impressions on us.
It has been said that each and every person will be the same 10 years from now except for the people we meet and the books that we read. I make the claim that the media we consume will also contribute to our evolution. In short, this statement means that each life will bear the marks of the impressions made upon the mind and heart. This is why education is so vitally important. We must choose very carefully Who and What we allow to educate us. Education that focuses on the head and neglects the heart ceases to be education. Education is not the transfer of facts, it is the transfer of truth.
A short story to illustrate. When I started out in business I made the mistake of trying to compete for money based upon price. The theory was simple, undercut the competitors price and I would make money. At the end of the first year I sat down and looked at our finances. I realized that I had worked from April through December and grossed a total of just over $9,800. Yes, you read that correctly, GROSS under $10,000. I had literally worked myself silly for less than 10 grand!
That night I was ordering some supplies online and the company where I placed my order had a phrase posted on their site: “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”- Aldo Gucci.
Oddly enough, I realized that I was paying more on this website for the products than I could find them elsewhere… But I was paying their price BECAUSE their customer service, warranty and return policy were excellent. I was paying more by choice because there were factors that superseded a simple dollar amount.
I realized that I needed some help learning how to run my business so I hired a Coach, and not just any Coach, This guy had built a business and sold it and was building more. He had been in the trenches and fought the battles… he had experience and experience was what I needed desperately!
So, as was referenced above, being Simple is actually not a bad thing, it just means that you need experience. And as we all know, Experience is what we needed two weeks ago but still do not have. You can gain experience by means other than getting your butt kicked. You can buy it, you can read it, you can have it rubbed off on you, you can even pick it up just by asking the right questions to the right people but all of these the ways you get experience come down to one thing… You have to go experience hunting, you must be looking for it. Why do I say this? Here is the best way I have ever heard it described:
A young man goes to work telling all of his coworkers that he had just gotten engaged. He asks everyone at work what the trick is to a happy marriage. As you can imagine he gets all kinds of advice, some good, some less than good and much of it was contradictory. The young man is sitting at the lunch table reviewing his notes bewildered at the inconsistencies when he spies the Boss seated across the room sitting alone. He approaches the Boss and tosses the note pad onto the table with a tone of dejection, “I can’t make heads or tails of this mess. Why is this so confusing?”
The old man scans the information and softly suggests,”Junk, there is too much junk there clouding the truth.”
The young Lover blurts out, “Whatever do you mean, Junk? Almost everyone I asked has about 20 years of Marital experience; how can their advice be worthless!”
The seasoned man reaches out a leathery hand and flicks the pad back over to the owner, “20 years of experience, eh? Looks more like 1 year of experience 20 times over.”
Henry Ford said,” the only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
There is a big difference between 20 years of experience and 1 year of experience 20 times.
This is where the line is drawn between the Simple and the Wise.
A clear and certain perception of that which exists of truth and fact; the perception of the connection and agreement, or disagreement and repugnancy of our ideas.
*Adapted from Websters 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
It has been said that knowledge is power. I find it hard to disagree with that statement since the lack of knowledge almost always causes the transfer of power elsewhere. But to simply think that knowledge is power is a cheapening of knowledge because it is so much more. In Proverbs, knowledge is a prerequisite. Without knowledge how can you possibly discern Equity, Judgement, Justice and Wisdom. Remember the aforementioned decision making paradigm:
- Know the Rules
- Follow the Rules
- Read the Signs
First you have to put the work in to KNOW the rules, that is knowledge.
Unfortunately, so much emphasis has been placed on knowledge that it has become more than the prerequisite, it is now touted as the finished product. This is a dark spot on our society and a blot on our education philosophy. Education that focuses simply on knowledge is heady, high minded and ultimately useless. It has become evident that the best way to keep someone ignorant is to convince them that they are educated. Facts, you see, are only tools to be used in a higher process known as thinking. Thinking has many facets and is actually a discipline in itself, taking on several forms and functions.
To prove the point, if knowledge were power then it would stand to reason that the Librarian should be the most powerful person in the school system. It is their job to monitor the majority of knowledge. Following the same reasoning, the I.T. department should make all of the decisions for a company since they control the Internet and other computer systems. They control the knowledge should they not be the most powerful. Alas, that power, those duties, are relegated to the School Board and the Board of Directors respectively. Knowledge is power, but not as a possession, it is an application of knowledge which wields the power.
1. Prudence, or knowledge and prudence; that discernment which enables a person to judge critically of what is correct and proper, united with caution; nice discernment and judgement, directed by circumspection, and primarily regarding one’s own conduct
2. Liberty or power of actin without other control than one’s own judgement
*Adapted from Websters 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language
Discretion, the root word is Latin “discretio” which means a separating, can be a partner to judgement. In fact, discretion is most often the application of judgement. What sets discretion apart is that it is more than just a thing, it is the use of the thing that it is. The beauty of discretion is that if it is not being used then it is not real discretion.
Proverbs 9:9 teaches, “Give Instruction to a wise man and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
This is the person that has chosen to look for the answers to their questions. they are seeking truth and value it higher than fleeting reward or trivialities. This person is setting priorities based on lifelong values that are based in Universal Truth. This is in contrast to what Proverbs calls the Fool or even the Educated Fool which is referred to as a Scorner. The key difference between the Wise Man and the counterparts, Fool and Scorner, is how they adapt to Truth. The Wise bend their mind and their will to conform to Truth and therefore have a solid foundation to stand on when their decisions are made. The Fool and especially the Scorner in contrast will bend truth to fit their mind and will. Attempting to bend Truth to suit your needs is vanity and sooner or later Truth will destroy the Fool and the Scorner; not out of spite, but just because they built their life on a lie and a lie cannot stand the test of time. Truth is the foundation upon which this realm is built anything else is a cheap copy that cannot survive. Look at Proverbs 9:8 as it contrast the difference between the Scorner and the Wise: “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
The Fear of the LORD:
Proverbs 9:10-11 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.”
After doing much research on the subject, it became clear that the phrase, “the fear of the LORD,” has a direct correlation to self control and being held accountable. In other words, in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The admonition is that to be able to learn the truths that are being laid out in the book; Wisdom is attempting to give you specific instructions to guide your life and decision making process. However, receiving the instruction and using the wisdom is not enough, as we may choose to selfishly interject our own version of justice, judgement or equity momentarily or when it suits us. This is why the fear of the LORD becomes, “the beginning of knowledge.” It is the accountability of knowing that the LORD sees all and will judge all, which holds us to a high level of self control. In short, the fear of the LORD is knowing that the LORD knows all and sees all and will hold you accountable. This thought process is the foundation for all other decision making processes. Holding yourself accountable, even if the only reason is that you know The Judge is watching, is THE KEY that opens the gate to the straight and narrow path.
Fool, Fools, Foolish:
There is a difference between a Fool and someone that acts foolishly. Anyone can play the fool or act foolishly, it is as simple as disregarding or not knowing how to act in a certain situation. Being a Fool, on the other hand, is CHOOSING a lifestyle that rejects Universal Truth. The most complete way to explain a Fool is someone that chooses to bend Truth around their will as opposed to bending their will around Truth.
I remember the situation that enlightened me as to this phenomena. As a young person looking forward to getting my drivers license, I was reading the manual and taking practice tests to better acclimate myself to the world of driving. The closer I got to the test date the more I could smell the freedom! One of my Dad’s friends had a Son that was just a little older than I. The Boy had been given a Jeep for his birthday and was burning the tires off of it. One evening the Boy was driving his Jeep around town and had a run in with the local Police Department. Instead of pulling over and taking the ticket the youth attempted to outrun the Law. 15 minutes later the Jeep was on its side, completely totaled and they were dragging the young man out and loading him into an Ambulance. As they were removing him from the Jeep he was adamant that he was in the right. In his own words, he told me that he was screaming, “You can’t do this to me, I have my rights!” After the Judge handed down the penalty for the transgressions the Driver finally realized that his rights did not supersede the Law. His attitude changed and he became penitent. He explained to me that he made the mistake of thinking he could do whatever he wanted and the world would just have to live with it when the TRUTH of the matter was he could do whatever he wanted but HE would have to live with the consequences.
When we fool ourselves into thinking we are the ultimate authority, we are fooled… no pun intended.
The rules of Nature and the Universe. Also, it is wise to adhere as closely as possible to the Laws of your governing bodies.
The Law is an extension of Authority. It is used as a tool to govern by setting up rules that will keep the peace, hence Blind Justice is used as a personification of law to show that She sees and seeks only the truth. Throughout history law, truth, justice, judgement and equity have been somewhat complicated to master. This is because human nature has a way of obscuring what is right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust; mainly due to the fact that none of us is actually completely right or totally wrong, all good or all bad; therefore, finding fault is easy and proving innocence is impossible. On top of this we add in factors of humanity that when used against us we find despicable but when in our favor we accept. Proverbs 17:23 calls out one of these instances, “ A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgement.” meaning bad people can circumvent the law by buying a jury or a judgement. This is why the justice system we currently employ has Advocates. Persons that know the intricacies of the Laws and can help the Citizen navigate the legal system. We generally call them Lawyers. They get a bad reputation because they use their knowledge of the Law to finagle around the Laws. Most civilized persons see this as dishonest and find it despicable, unless it works in our favor; and that is what makes the Law so complicated.
To be perfectly clear, Laws are set up in order to help us govern ourselves. If you have spent any time in or around correction facilities you will know that there are several justice systems. For several years I worked as a Chaplain at a Juvenile Detention Center. I went in every week and held a service for the inmates as well as providing some counseling. It took me a while to catch on but the realization set in that inside the correction facility there was another justice system at work enforced by the inmates.
An example. After holding a service one evening we held a question and answer session. One young man asked why the system was stacked against him. He said that before he was sent in, he had owned a fancy automobile, wore expensive clothes and shoes and was quite a Ladies Man. He argued that the alternative was to get a minimum wage job at a fast food restaurant. “I cannot live a life like that,” he exclaimed.
One of the other young men piped up, “How do you like that orange jumpsuit and those fancy slippers you get to wear now? That is the risk you take living in the fast lane. You did not earn that life, you cheated and got all the stuff you wanted without working for it, now you are paying for it.” The first young man sat down and did not say another word.
Wow! It is truly amazing to see the human need for balancing out the truth. We all want everyone else to be honest and just but we want to get what we want the easy way. That is why we have Law.