Journal of Critical Issues in Educational Practice

Article Title

Why Wisdom?


Gnosis, Episteme, Mysticism, Wisdom, Enlightenment


To be wise I think it is important for educators to at least have some conceptualization of the roles both gnosis and episteme have played in human history and further consider a wisdom context broad enough to contain both. Current definitions of wisdom range from advanced practical “know how” (Sternberg, 1990) to “cosmic enlightenment” (Alexander & Langer, 1990). I suggest that to have a deep understanding of “wisdom” (or for that matter, any field of study) it is “wise” to define the “space” bracketed by its contrastingly extreme positions. This dialectic process could establish a context within which wisdom might reside. Applying this process then, can a definition of wisdom be inclusive enough for the “down-to-earth” as well as the lofty extremes of meanings people have assigned to this term? Also, what is the relevance of such a potential definition to education?

Author Statement

Dr. Ashccroft taught for 25 years at CSUSB, and during that time published and taught courses ranging from Special Education, to Research, Foundations, and Communication in the Graduate program. When not focusing on the content of those academic topics, he is interested in Prehistory, the Evolution of Communication, and the History and Prehistory of Spirituality.