Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

Socrates: Her immortality is demonstrated by the previous argument, and there are many other proofs; but to see her as she really is, not as we now behold her, marred by communion with the body and other miseries, you must contemplate her with the eye of reason, in her original purity; and then her beauty will be revealed, and justice and injustice and all the things which we have described will be manifested more clearly. Thus far, we have spoken the truth concerning her as she appears at present, but we must remember also that we have seen her only in a condition which may be compared to that of the sea-god Glaucus, whose original image can hardly be discerned because his natural members are broken off and crushed and damaged by the waves in all sorts of ways, and incrustations have grown over them of seaweed and shells and stones, so that he is more like some monster than he is to his own natural form. And the soul which we behold is in a similar condition, disfigured by ten thousand ills. But not there, Glaucon, not there must we look. 

Glaucon: Where then?

Socrates: At her love of wisdom. Let us see whom she affects, and what society and converse she seeks in virtue of her near kindred with the immortal and eternal and divine; also how different she would become if wholly following this superior principle, and borne by a divine impulse out of the ocean in which she now is, and disengaged from the stones and shells and things of earth and rock which in wild variety spring up around her because she feeds upon earth, and is overgrown by the good things of this life as they are termed: then you would see her as she is, and know whether she has one shape only or many, or what her nature is. Of her affections and of the forms which she takes in this present life I think that we have now said enough. 

Glaucon: True, he replied.

Socrates: And thus, I said, we have fulfilled the conditions of the argument; we have not introduced the rewards and glories of justice, which, as you were saying, are to be found in Homer and Hesiod; but justice in her own nature has been shown to be best for the soul in her own nature. Let a man do what is just, whether he have the ring of Gyges or not, and even if in addition to the ring of Gyges he put on the helmet of Hades.

Plato’s Republic X

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Wisdom is a wild bird, once caged, now free.
Wisdom is an owl that sees in the dark. 

Wisdom is a dancing girl
who reads late at night. 

Wisdom is a runner,
fleet-of-foot on the sand.

Wisdom makes fear a servant
and takes counsel with Joy. 

Wisdom walks with God
and makes necessary sacrifices. 

Wisdom does not give up.

Wisdom builds with a hammer and chisel.
Wisdom waters and weeds, digs and dungs. 

Wisdom refines with fire
and sings with a clear voice.

Wisdom nurses the young
with milk from her own breast. 

Wisdom kisses the foreheads of her children—
and where her lips have touched them, 

a star shines out

Jane Beal



“We walk by faith and not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7

“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word.”
Romans 10:17



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Sunday night, five of us were driving back from “Kung Fu Panda.”  Gemma was at the wheel, I was riding shot-gun, and TJ, Wendy, and Lana were piled in the back.  We talked about our favorite parts of the movie … mine was the Peach Tree of Wisdom.  This reminded Lana of a story!

The last time we all went to the movies, Gemma introduced us (via CD) to an inspirational, African-American preacher who told us about his peach tree of wisdom. Lana had been listening, and this is what she recalled.

Basically, when this preacher was young, he ate a peach one afternoon, and his father told him that if he planted the seed, it would grow into a tree.  So he planted it.  The next day, bursting with expectation, the young preacher-to-be ran out into the backyard to see the tree.  But there wasn’t one.  There was nothing. The ground, in which he had planted the seed, gave not even the slightest hint of the promised peach tree.

When he came to check the next day, matters were exactly the same.  So it was the next day and the next day and the next.  On the fifth day, the youngster’s father found him in the backyard crying.

“Why are you crying?”  his father asked him.

The young man explained himself. His father had promised that a peach tree would grow from the seed if he planted it.  He had planted it, but days later there was nothing!

The father might have been tempted to laugh, but he didn’t.  Instead, he got down on his knees and explained to his son that peach trees take four to five years to grow and produce fruit. 

Years later, the disappointed boy who became a preacher had a point to make about that peach tree. His own father had promised that a peach tree would grow from the seed he planted, which was true, but not immediately obvious.

In a similar way, God the Father gives us promises.  They are true promises, and they will come to pass.  But we often expect them in five days instead of five years.  

When I got back home from the movies, meditating on what Lana had recalled, I decided to read a little bit about peach trees. It turns out that, yes, they flourish in Georgia, but otherwise, they can be notoriously difficult to cultivate.  They won’t tolerate excessive moisture; their roots need proper drainage.  They must have “chill hours,” that is, 200-450 hours of 32-45 degree cold weather that somehow helps produce fruit.  To get good fruit, the gardener has to protect the tree from bugs and worms and brown-rot.  To get full fruit, the gardener has to prune diligently, getting rid of tons of tiny peaches when they’re just dime-sized.  Some peach tree varieties produce peaches as early as May 1st while, on the other hand, the MidPeach doesn’t bear until around July 4th.  And like the preacher’s daddy told him, peach trees grown from the seed don’t usually produce at all until they’re about four or five years old. (Questions on Peaches)

All these facts put me in mind of the biblical parable of the fig tree.  According to this parable recorded in the gospel of Luke, a man plants a fig tree, but in the third year, it still hasn’t produced any figs.  He complains to the gardener and orders him to cut it down.  But the gardener asks for one more year to dig and dung: that is, to cultivate the unproductive tree. The gardener says that if, in the fourth year, there is no fruit, he will cut the tree down himself.  The man agrees.

With this parable in mind, I decided to look up some information about fig trees, too.  I concluded that the man who planted the fig had every right to be frustrated.  

Fig trees usually take one year to produce fruit, two at the most.  Certain varieties of fig produce twice a year, in June and September!  Figs need a lot of water in their first year, but the fig is a hardy tree that can survive drought conditions.  It’s roots are shallow, not deep. (Carpe ficus) In other words, the fig tree is nothing like the peach tree.

This prompted a thought in my mind.  When I examine the promises God has made me, I might well ask, “Is this a peachy promise or a figgy one?”

I think figgy promises are the kind that are made and then quickly fulfilled.  Within a year of hearing them, we are already eating the fruit of the figgy promise!  But peachy promises are different.  

Time and even effort may be required to see these latter kind of promises come to pass. Five years would not be a long time to wait for a peachy promise to be fulfilled. No, four or five years would actually be the necessary amount of time for a peach tree to produce fruit.  

I believe this is worth bearing mind.

From “The House Of Dust: Part 02: 07: Two Lovers: Overtones”

“‘I brought you this . . . ‘ the soft words float like stars

Down the smooth heaven of her memory.

She stands again by a garden wall.

The peach tree is in bloom, pink blossoms fall,

Water sings from an opened tap, the bees

Glisten and murmur among the trees.

Someone calls from the house.  She does not answer.

Backward she leans her head,

And dreamily smiles at the peach-tree leaves, wherethrough

She sees an infinite May sky spread

A vault profoundly blue.”

Conrad Aiken


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