Consider ‘wisdom’

Consider ‘wisdom’. Most of us would regard wisdom as a quality much to be prized in our fellow humans, and particularly in those whom we allow to hold political authority. Some would argue that life under a wise monarch might be better for most people than life in a representative democracy, even one that was working perfectly.

What is wisdom? Or to give this question more bite, try the following thought-experiment: suppose that your society has decided that it would prefer monarchy, and has made you the chair of the Royal Search Committee, charged with finding a wise monarch.

Let me suggest considering three attributes that contribute to wisdom: Compassion, Intelligence, and Cultivation. We should find a monarch who is at least in the top quartile in compassion and intelligence, and who has cultivated both those qualities by acquiring education and training. Education has to do with knowledge, and should include both breadth and depth. Training has to do with habits of mind, and might well include practice in meditation, and practice in applying logic and the skills of Emotional Intelligence in making decisions. The candidate need not be among the very smartest humans, so long as they are smart enough (and humble enough) to know when to consult those who are even smarter, or who have special knowledge that should influence policy.

Think about this, and think about the quality of the rulers we actually have.