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In its minimalist sense, wisdom is simply the ability and inclination to make choices that stand the sense of time. To say that a choice was wise implies that the action or inaction was strategically correct when judged by some set of values. In this sense, if a decision was, in retrospect, very smart, it was wise.

Another formulation along these lines is that wisdom is "Making the best use of available knowledge."

However, in a deeper sense, wisdom connotes an enlightened perspective and/or effective support for the long-term common good.

Insights and acts that are widely considered wise tend to:

Because of its expanded perspective, wisdom is also often associated with humility, compassion, composure, humor, and a tolerance for dissonance, paradox, nuance, ambiguity, uncertainty, etc.

In its most universal and useful forms, wisdom tends to sense, work with and align people to the intrinsic wholeness and interconnectedness of life.

As with all decisions, a wise decision is made from incomplete information. But in a wise decision the chooser possesses a sense of the way that situations usually turn out and, in its deeper forms, a desire for the outcome to be broadly beneficial.

Classically, wisdom is considered to come with age. In some religions, wisdom is considered a gift granted by God.

A wise person is often called a "sage."

See also