Wisdom is the ability to think and act with the use of experience, common sense,
knowledge, and insight to solve the problems that people face in society. Wisdom I associated
with some important attributes such as compassion, unbiased judgment, non-attachment, self-
transcendence as well as experiential self-knowledge. Wisdom is important in people’s life
because it enables them to deal with some problems that normal people in society will face.
Throughout the semester, we have met many wise men Socrates the Athenian Gadfly, Achilles
the separator of body and souls, and Haemon, the patient son of Creon. These men are wise in
their regard and display such wisdom in different ways.
Socratic wisdom refers to the understanding that he had about the limits of his
knowledge. He was only aware of what he was aware of and did not assume that he knows more
or less. The philosophers understand Socrates' wisdom by going through the readings that he
wrote and the opinions that he held about some issues in society. It, therefore, means that In the
Apology, Plato describes the life and trials that enable the people to have a deeper understanding
of Socratic wisdom. According to Socrates, we can only be as wise as we are aware of our
ignorance. The famous quote, "I know that I know nothing" is what allows Socrates to be so
wise. Once you know everything, what else is there to learn, but if you know nothing, you will
die learning the deeper meaning of things like beauty and friendship.
In the apology, Socrates uses his wisdom not to save his own life but, more importantly,
to protect and conserve his way of life. Socrates displays wisdom in several ways. First, he uses
plain language to address the men of Athens. By doing this, he is trying to appeal to them,
coming off like any other Athenian.
The Wisdom of Achilles
The opening lines of the Iliad describe Achilles as “Rage. Black and murderous that cost
the Greeks incalculable pain pitched countless souls of heroes …” (Iliad 1) Achilles' Hero of The
Iliad one of the main characters and the fiercest warrior in Homer’s epic. Achilles is portrayed as
a rageful, hot-headed person who could separate a man from his soul with no effort. How could a
hot-headed, stubborn, and violent man be considered wise in the same text as Hector and King
Priam; it is because Achille’s wisdom like himself is complexed. He warns Agamemnon that no
Greek warrior would follow a man like himself into battle because of the way he conducts
himself. He also instills the importance of “Timé” to his King, albeit this is a major infraction of
a soldier Achilles, however, is no regular soldier, and he understands his importance to the cause
and uses it as leverage to make a fool of a righteous bully for taking away his prized possession
at the moment Briseis.
Achilles' wisdom lies in his ability to teach lessons often grave lessons that destroy his
identity but also in a subtle manner. When Patroclus comes to Achilles weeping to tell him to
return to battle to though angry response in a beautiful way, he tells Patroclus he takes it hard
when someone in power uses his authority to rob his equal. This again is not how we would
typically view wisdom, but Achilles is wise in understanding men like Agamemnon take joy in
depriving men that are greater than he is. Agamemnon mentions Big Ajax and Odysseus when
claiming he can take what and whomever he wants as his prize. Two very esteemed and feared
warriors could have something taken from them by another man; this alone, to me, is the reason
Achilles is as wise as he is rageful.
Achilles teaches a valuable lesson even okay to the people in the world today who do not
know the things that they are supposed to prioritize as they live their lives. Agamemnon
represents to me the current affairs we are facing in this country, and the only way to achieve the
necessary change is to discontinue their practices. Achilles represents the hideous nature of a
revolution; people will be confined and some will die but the result will be an end to men with
power taking from those that are just as equal.
The wisdom of Haemon in Antigone
No one wants to be caught in an argument especially in the case where it involves the
people that one loves and cares about most. One of the challenges that Haemon in faces a family
drama where he is in a dilemma whether to side with his Creon who is his father or to side with
Antigone whom he is about to marry. Creon (his father) wants to take absolute control of the
people. Haemon confronts his father who gives him a speech on how women come and go but
the family bond will remain, which is ironical because he is condemning Antigone for having
Creon who is the king has given Antigone a death sentence which puts Haemon in an
awkward situation where he wonders how he will obey his father and at the same time, save
Antigone from the death sentence. Haemon uses his wisdom to deal with the situation. He comes
up with two metaphors to deal with his father’s stubborn nature. “In flood time, you can see how
some trees bend, and because they bend, even their twigs are safe, while stubborn trees are torn
up, roots and all.” With this, he was telling his father that at times, it is necessary to accept some
issue when the pressure is too high because if someone becomes more stubborn in such a way
that he does not want to allow some things to happen as they rightfully should and stands in the
way of the force that causes them to happen he or she may be harmed in the process. In the
second metaphor, Haemon says, “and the same thing happens in sailing: make your sheet fast,
never slacken, and you go, head over keels and under: and there is your voyage.
One other notable thing that Haemon does is that he presents himself as one of his
father’s subjects as a way of making the father see that he is in control then he presents his issues
to him. He is aware of the fact that his father loves to be in control hence, he uses the same thing
to bring him to order which is a brilliant display of wisdom. Haemon, therefore, appeals to his
father’s authority in an attempt to save Antigone’s life although he is not successful. This is an
example of wisdom in practice. That is the way the people use wisdom to solve the challenges
that they face in their lives, even if the desired outcome is not realized. Haemon teaches the
people that they are supposed to do all that they can to establish relationships.
Based on the importance of wisdom, Haemon is the first one on the list because he uses his
wisdom to try and save his fiancé’s life. The fact that he used wisdom to save one’s life makes
him take the first position in this ranking. The second person in the ranking with regards to the
importance of wisdom is Socrates because he used wisdom as a way of finding solutions about
several things that are noted in nature. Through his wisdom, he was able to answer any questions
and provide solutions to many problems. The third rank is Achilles because there is no record
that he used wisdom as a tool to save the life of an individual.
It should be noted that the wisdom by Socrates was applied by a real person, whereas the other
two are fictional cases. The other two cases were aimed at educating the people on how they are
supposed to live. It is important to educate the people in the society because that is the only way
they will learn to have good relationships with the others and learn how to care for the other
people in the society.
Haemon’s wisdom appeals to me, and I can relate to it because of the experiences that I have
faced in life. I have found myself in a dilemma where it is hard to choose one side because all the
concerned parties are important. For instance, a major conflict ensues between my two older
brothers, of course, we want to resolve the manner with no physical acts of violence. In such a
case, wisdom used by Haemon to deal with his father’s stubbornness is preferred because it will
help in dealing with the problems that the people face in the society and not to strain the
relationships. Although things may not go as planned (sorry Antigone) the true wisdom lies in
the ability to distinguish important relationships that under no circumstances should be damaged.
With this understanding, the prolonged effects on our family are not worth the exchange of
hurtful words or gestures; this is wisdom.