Bertrand Russel, the British logician and philosopher said,
"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) Swiss political philosopher and essayist said,
"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"
Socrates (BC 469-BC 399) Greek philosopher of Athens expounded,
"True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us."
Some of the greatest minds have explored this subject.
Here is my (clumsy) attempt to explore the subject.
Does wisdom come from books?
"...seek ye out of the best books, words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith" (D&C 88:118)
Does wisdom come with age?
"...learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God." (Alma 37:35)
Indeed, wisdom is many things.
And manifest in many ways.
I recently read a book where a mother contiplated the wisdom she had gained through suffering and trials - through experience and sacrifice and learning. She thought of Eve and her choice made in Eden - that we must all pass through sorrow that we may know the good from the evil.
I think wisdom is truly gained through the experience of trials, and not merely experiencing them, but choosing to put your hand in God's while experiencing them. To sit at his feet and be tutored by him in the midst of suffering. Wisdom is gained when we emerge from a trial a new person - a wiser one - one who has learned something and can use that new knowledge as a tool in future experiences; as well as to help, understand, and love others. It is to have gained a greater understanding of life, and of God.A friend of mine once said, God gives us the necessary experiences to learn as much as we can as fast as we can in this life.
As we pass through life experiences, always allowing God to tutor us, we begin to learn - to see things the way He sees them.
This is wisdom.
And, of course, the more we live learn and experience, the more realize how little we know.
This is wisdom as well.
I think of Solomon. He was thought of as a man with great wisdom. His wisdom was manifest in his ability to discern right from wrong, to understand people, and to judge righteously. His wisdom was acquired through a close and strong relationship with God and his desire to follow God.
I think of the "three wisemen." Who were these men and why were they so wise? We don't know much about them, but that they spent their time searching, literally, for the Messiah.
Wise men, indeed.
Wisdom is also understanding truth. Truly understanding truth. And with that understanding comes the ability to apply truth to life. Applying certain truths at certain times in certain circumstances. Being able to do this, is wisdom.
There are people who are knowledgeable - people who know a lot. But knowledge and wisdom are not always companions. Someone who is knowledgeable is not necessarily wise.
A professor is a facilitator of learning. Being tutored by a good professor, a student can gain knowledge.
Being tutored by God, a person can gain wisdom.
It is through tutorials with God that we gain wisdom. This requires experience. Experience with God and his teachings. Often the crowning experience of learning wisdom is a test - just as a professor may give a test for you to apply your knowledge. God's test is an experience or trial where we learn to apply truth. This is true wisdom - to see and understand how the truths apply. Understanding and applying truth. This is why we are here on earth. We had the priveledge of living with our Father in Heaven and gaining wisdom at his feet. But what is wisdom acquired unless it is understood, applied, tested? Thus, here we are, experiencing the ultimate of tests.
My dad, before he passed away, wrote an article in the New Era called Spiritual Strength: A Planned Process. I think spiritual strength and wisdom go hand in hand. He spoke of our ability to work for more frequent spiritual experiences. If we plan, study, work, and sanctify ourselves, we can have more frequent communion with God. The more we "visit" God, the more tutorials we can receive, the more wisdom we store up. And the more prepared we are for the tests. And through tests we also gain increased wisdom as it becomes more clear to us how truths are applied in real life situations - when they are so crucial. We gain understanding. Understanding that we can use in the future of our lives, and build upon.
I had personally come to the conclusion that wisdom comes with age. However, I've realized wisdom comes with experience. Particularly experience with God. Thus, David was a young boy wise beyond his years, as well as Mormon, Joseph Smith, and many others. There are those who are young who are wiser than most - because they have spent many of their young years learning truth from the Ultimate source....
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)