(About a 2 minute read)
The notion that we have been placed here to learn spiritual lessons progressively leading to ever greater wisdom is a curious one — just as ancient and widespread as it is unquestioned and unexamined.
But is it true?
Ultimately, of course, there is no way to be certain that anything has placed us here to learn wisdom. That’s a matter of mere metaphysical speculations. So I ask the question in a practical spirit, rather than in a metaphysical one.
That is, what would it mean in practice to say that we can learn wisdom?
At first blush, that would seem to he a heady question, just as difficult to approach as it sometimes is to define “wisdom” itself. But perhaps this approach will work here: We can ask whether the wisdom we learn intellectually could possibly be the sort of wisdom that might either endure the death of our mind, or to transform us on any profoundly fundamental level.
By “intellectual wisdom”, I mean the sort of wisdom that might be learned from the close study of holy scriptures, from a clergy person or spiritual teacher, even from our culture in general (such as in the from of wise sayings), or from the observation of others.
It seems obvious to me that many people think that kind of wisdom can transform us so profoundly that it is capable of surviving the death of our minds. But is that true?
Perhaps the single most telling fact is that anything learned intellectually can be forgotten, and often is. For instance, suppose after much questioning and research you come to the conclusion that Jesus is Christ, your lord and savior. Although it seems improbable you would normally forget that, it is easily conceivable that you would experience some trauma or injury that caused you to forget it.
But what then? If that’s what is meant by learning a spiritual lesson or wisdom, then you are back to the start. It’s just as if you have learned nothing at all.
Which brings us to a second possibility. Suppose the wisdom in this case is not the kind that’s learned intellectually, but rather that is learned on the subconscious level? Would it make any difference?
I’m afraid not. Again, a brain injury could wipe it out.
But what if the wisdom you learn is somehow transferred from your mind to your soul or to your karma? Wouldn’t that solve the problem? Would not they be immune from a brain injury?
Perhaps, but now we are back to metaphysical speculations.
So I don’t think we can conclusive assert that we are put here on this earth in order to learn anything. Of course, it could still be possible because we have no way of knowing any relevant metaphysical truths here.