Dare to be Wise

So what is the deal with the title of this blog-Sapere Aude? My connection to this saying is quite personal on several levels. One day in college I decided to look up my last name on Google and see if there was any history concerning Oldham. I was interested in the history because Oldham seemed like a really weird last name which is extremely easy to make fun of. I thought, “who the heck would pick this as a last name?” The search, to my surprise, led me to a legit coat of arms, and a city in England with my last name that still exists. The fact that there is an Oldham, England was pretty sweet and I saw that there was a coat of arms associated with the surname. The animal on the coat of arms is an owl and the latin phrase underneath reads “Sapere Aude.” I soon learned that Oldham was once pronounced less like the deli meat and more like “Owl-duhm.” The prononciation led to the owl on the coat of arms and the “Sapere Ow-de” phrase. The owl is also an animal associated with wisdom so the whole thing is a nice little package of cool for a last name that today is the butt of jokes. What really resonated with me was the translation of Sapere Aude which as you guessed it is-Dare to be Wise. That is freaking sweet because I never associated wisdom with a dare. Daring someone to do something always seems to result in an unwise outcome: “I dare you to go run around the dorm naked,” “I dare you to eat the mold off that bread,” “I dare you to fart in the elevator.” I never heard someone dare me to read a book, think critically about the world, or seek knowledge.

My connection to this phrase reached me not only on a historical level but also on a personal level. My whole life I loved to help people and try to give insight into issues they may be experiencing. I wasn’t a nosey fricker but I just seemed to enjoy having one-on-one conversations from a young age with my Momma and eventually with my friends. I was fascinated by philosophy and many times my friends would say that I was “wise.” In high school I began to question what wisdom truly was. Is wisdom being good at giving advice? Is wisdom being smart? Is wisdom knowing the answers to life? I had no idea and honestly I never felt wise because I was a fat kid for most of my life who watched cartoons and hung out with my parents. In college I still was pondering the question of wisdom when I fell upon my family crest’s motto-Sapere Aude. What the frick! Is that a coincidence that I was interested in wisdom, fairly alone in caring about the topic, and this was my surname’s motto. I didn’t think much more of wisdom until I graduated and regained my desire to learn. I began to ponder what wisdom was and how I could live the motto “Dare to be Wise.” I took the dare and that is why I made my goal of mastering the subjects of history, psychology/sociology, and philosophy. I believe that wisdom is not a simple thing or a one word phrase that you put on a cat poster in your office. I beleive wisdom is a lifestyle and requires a incredibily deep knowledge of our world. Wisdom is also something that you can not just learn from reading a crap ton of books. It takes a combination of research, life experiences, and human interaction to truly be wise. My current infantile view of being wise means that you understand the outcome of a decision without making the decision.  This is abstract but one example would be that I know that a big house will not make me happy even without me having to buy the big house (makes sense I hope). So there you go, my journey and purpose in mastery is taking up the challenge to be wise, fullfilling some weird family duty, and seeking a goal that I think is more rewarding then any other goal I can think of. In the end, if I obtain wisdom I hope to help people live better lives. Period.

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