Truth & I
Wisdom is how Truth and I are related. It is simple. Know what Truth is, and what I is, and how they relate to each other: right there wisdom enters the picture.
Oh, but some dull person will immediately blurt out, "But Truth is an arrogant concept. No one in their right mind considers such a thing to exist. There is no such thing as Truth. We only have personal beliefs or "useful truths", or scientific laws of Nature. Truth is only for dogmatists and religious fundamentalists."
A more cunning person will have slightly more wit about them, and respond musingly, "Truth can be defined in many ways. If I say there is no Truth, then is that Truth? But did I contradict myself, or not? Perhaps I will accept as a temporary possibility: 'Truth is possibly uncertain. Truth is a paradox that cannot be solved.' " There are many such crafty minds, who turn to Goedel's Theorem of Incompleteness, or the Quantum Theorists' Law of Uncertainty, or the notion of statistical probability. They see that phenomena are always changing, but are so entranced with the details that they conclude that Truth seems wrongly final and too complete to be true, so they say: "Truth is infinitely variable and cannot be fixed". And to that, they stick fast.
Many more (initially) idealistic, intellectual individuals are strongly attracted to the traditional koans of Zen Buddhism. They're fed up with irrational, self-contradictory, self-important dogma, and they like the cool, hard-nosed, introspective style of the Zennist's discipline. On that basis, they interpret koans to mean, do not hold to any idea, or concept created by thought, but go with the flow. This is in actuality a cunning switch-back, using reason to make distance from reason. So, they do indeed go with the flow ... of emotion. This pleases them psychologically, for it liberates them from the responsibility of having to make any sense. They feel free! Like a naughty child whose crime has not been detected for many days, there is a great excitement and daring hope. From then on, it is all down-hill for them: whenever they encounter a problem for reason, they turn to their authoritative law of disdain for reason, and point to their own (inevitable) errors as proof of the "metaphysical law" that reason and logic are abnormal and unnatural.
What desperately irrational minds.
So, what about knowledge of the I? Since it seems something most people are deeply interested in, then surely most people would be experts on the I. Shouldn't we see a higher quality of reason used to understand and know what the self is? But no, the situation is just as needlessly absurd.
Many parents would agree wisdom is created by self-knowledge. But they would smilingly add, "Every child already knows what the I is: it's the thing more important to them than anything else in the world. So knowing the I is not enough. It's learning to overcome selfishness that is the key to wisdom." By this they mean, learning to cooperate with others. For them, wisdom is moderating one's instinctive animal selfishness, and making mutually-agreeable exchanges of selfishness. Thus, they conclude that a wise life is about service to others, moderating selfishness to a large extent, and being: "altruistic". Consequently, that boogey "egotism" must be the reverse: not serving others. It doesn't matter to them that one's service is always for selfish reasons! Basically, individuality and solitude is for them egotistical. (And why is that not a surprising conclusion? Because in solitude one hears one's thinking more easily. Parents coupled-up, and had children in the first place, to drown thought.)
Another believes that if the self is always present, then everyone is always egotistical. They follow Descartes. They also find it convenient to make "self", "I", and "ego" synonymous. Why do they not consider that there is a qualitative difference between the simple form or label of self, like the simple form or label of thing, and the egotistical attitude that assumes oneself to be intrinsically more valuable than anything else? Because it prevents them from taking home the responsibility of dismantling the latter.
Wisdom's simplicity is beyond reach for so many, only because of lack of thinking and lack of courage. Truly, only with a few minutes of thinking are these questions resolved.
Truth is indeed real, and exists. It is that which is, unchangably and reliably, while yet never stuck fast into any form. It is essentially ungraspable by mind, and yet it is ever-present. It isn't apart from any thing, whether it be one person's consciousness, or a phenomenon, noumenon, truth or lie, like countless persons suppose is the nature of a God in Heaven. It is in all things, and is all things. It's there whether perceptions occur or they don't. There is nothing mysterious, and yet nothing could be revealed. Knowing Truth is not only possible, but is a certainty if you're willing to know.
In the same simple way one can know what I is. I is just a thing, like any other. It is the label, or form, given to oneself. So, the trick is then to relate oneself to Truth. Someone said it is like a salt doll walks into the ocean and is dissolved. But the salt doll is already in the ocean, at the exact same molarity as the ocean. Where is the doll, then? But then, where is the ocean?
On Wise Society
A sound and reliable wisdom requires: a perfect intellectual understanding of Reality; and, then, dismantling all delusional habits of thought and behaviour. The latter process by necessity also includes assisting everyone else to immerse themselves also in Reality, after attaining a perfect intellectual understanding; a person who tries to enlighten only himself will eventually realise his mistake, as wisdom is precisely of that which has no boundaries.
But consider what is required in the wise individual's task. Namely, dismantling all delusional habits of thought and behaviour. This means: examining the truthfulness of every thought, intuition, belief, feeling, and even the subtlest mental fragment. Consider the reality of such a task. What does it demand? Extreme sensitivity of consciousness, to detect any attachment or clinging or other false conception. Extreme commitment, every waking moment, over one's entire lifetime, putting aside without regret or apology the demands of bodily needs, society or friends or students. Is there any full-time job among humans that takes up every single waking moment? But a wise individual must be on call always, even while asleep. Dreams leave residues for the waker.
Now consider, the society we all consider to developed and progressive. Specialists in all fields start their careers young, and over a life-time, they develop enough experience to be considered reliable pillars of the building of useful human knowledge. There are scientists, technicians, practitioners, professors and other academics, professional tradespersons, skilled labourers, servers, and so forth, all at their various levels of pillar-ness in society. To get them to that level of reliability, they all require a day-by-day dedication and awareness of their task.
So there is an immediate conflict here. How is it possible to have a wise society, and at the same time a scientifically-advanced society?
The answer is: the more delusions are embedded in the society's education, the more foolish each member, the greater the task for anyone to become wise owing to the massive knots and rots in his psyche that must be dismantled, and the fewer of its members will be tolerated undertaking such a deviant pathway. It is a vicious cycle. The wiser each member in a society, the more quickly each member can be enlightened, and the more members can engage in the task.
The danger of making a scientifically-advanced society the foremost priority of a society, is twofold: science is about repeatable demonstration to others of tests based on observations of phenomena. That is, it is a consensus-based knowledge, and, it supposes a close intimate knowledge of reality. The twofold danger evolves in which (i) consensus overrides individual perception and reason: any member who does not kowtow to the consensus is regarded as foolish, and (ii) the consensus is that such knowledge is the closest point of contact with reality that is possible. In other words, an enlightened individual who recognises and declares the falsity in the latter claim is classed ignorant and socially destructive, whereas in actuality he is offering a true statement that is of great value. Moreover, if all members of a soceity are encouraged first of all to become educated in the scientific approach to knowledge, then the more foolish and cut-off from reality that society becomes.