Embodied wisdom (which is distinct from mere knowledge) is an invaluable resource for the flourishing of society.
However, various factors–including the erosion of extended family, mobility of labor and resources, and the atomization of communities–have contributed to a situation in which embodied wisdom is less accessible.
Therefore, we urge: 1) individuals to make sacrifices which would enable more embodied wisdom to be shared; and 2) communities to facilitate and encourage these types of sacrifices.
The prevalence of our modern access to information has helped some to see the vivid distinction between knowledge and wisdom. It seems increasingly apparent that unfettered access to almost limitless information (i.e. the internet, libraries of print media, and/or the broadcast of visual media) will not stand as a viable substitute for regular in-person encounters with individuals who excel in sharing wisdom. Like myself, many people find it increasingly challenging to find not only wise but also available/accessible sources of mentoring. I was extremely blessed to have had two parents who have lead me and taught me throughout my life thus far. But as I've moved further from my childhood home, in the past several years, to pursue my career and independence for my wife and me, I've grown to miss the regular access to the embodied wisdom of my previous mentors. As with many things, [sadly] we often only realize the vital nature of these important relationships once they've been stripped away. Of course technology allows most of us to maintain a certain level of connection to these previous sources of embodied wisdom, but without a local wellspring some will feel stranded and frantic. One is hard-pressed to imagine a disembodied substitute for the personal, present, and precise wisdom of a relational local mentor. However, regardless of the apparent importance of this fundamental tenet of a healthy society, embodied wisdom seems to be a rather illusive commodity for many. Often, those who are qualified and comfortable with sharing their wisdom simply do not have the requisite time or availability to do so. Recently, I asked a leading member of my community whether he knew of any older gentlemen or couples who would be available to have dinner maybe once or twice a month - looking for men who might agree to fulfill a mentoring roll. Unfortunately his response was that while there are many who are qualified, few have made or will make the practice of mentoring a priority. Many have simply prioritized other aspects of their day-to-day lives. Some feel that one-on-one meetings, through which they might share their embodied wisdom, are simply not efficient enough to prioritize. I believe that some individuals are deterred from procuring individual dedicated mentees because of a desire to accrete broader influence. Whether these priorities are well-intentioned or not, I believe there needs to be a heavier priority placed upon the practice of sharing embodied wisdom within the setting of small groups or personal relationships. It is my hope that, in coming generations, men and women (as well as their communities) will facilitate and strive for social flourishing by adopting a more prioritized approach to passing the torches of their embodied wisdom.