What is wisdom? But first, what are the conditions that render it desirable, if not necessary, and what is its essential purpose?
Life is a desire to live, and better still a desire to live happily. As we strive to satisfy this desire, we encounter obstacles that complicate or frustrate our efforts. This complication or frustration amounts to suffering because it stands in the way of satisfaction.
Wisdom is designed to help us cope with this suffering. It is an adaptive product of reason in the face of tough circumstances. Thanks to it, happiness is conceivable and achievable in spite of everything. It is therefore the supreme good.
Actually, religion is a good that many rank equally high, since it serves the same purpose as wisdom, if differently. The difference lies in the way religion and wisdom portray suffering and define the meaning of life.
From the perspective of religion, suffering betrays a state of worldly imperfection that is in contradiction with the human desire for perfect happiness. Consequently, life here below where humans are doomed to suffer is absurd in itself. Or rather, life is meaningful strictly in terms of means to a...