or: “Yeah guys, full day on the floor today. We’ve got a friend in distress so I need all advice pertaining to ‘overcoming a break-up’ on the dock by 11.”
It may seem disingenuous to some, but in my scant, half-breath of 26 years I think I have amassed a large swath of life experience. I am what my mother loved to call “an old soul” or others may term “beyond my years.” This strikes me as a convenient way of explaining I am not a daft 20-something as port-less as my ship of life seems to be from the outside. For all intents and purposes I should be a lost wanderer with nothing to give to the social construct outside taxes from a part-time job, but many have seen in me, as I do, something more than the sum of my experiences. I possess, as many people do, from every demographic and walk of life, a outlook that is tinted golden by not the amount of experience; but the value squeezed from events, tribulations, and elation, that comes from living life. This is more commonly known as “wisdom,” a thing not able to be taught, but only imparted, though a series of quips and nuggets we all know as advice; a commodity often undervalued and misunderstood.
“Words of wisdom.” We have all heard the phrase, and know what often follows is an unsolicited phrase like “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” or “look before you leap.” This is not advice, though. These are idioms and colloquialisms of a cloakative and cliched nature. These ideas are rightly dismissed with an all-too-obvious roll of eyes on par with a seizure, over beers with a friend who seems to find himself on a phantom stump after three marriages and more alimony than income; “bitches ain’t nothing but trouble.” “Gee, Tim, thanks for that. The next round is on you.”
The phrase “words of wisdom” can be dissected to determine what a true source of wisdom by proxy can be. “Of” could, and quite possibly should, be replaced with “from” or “for.” The idea that these words belong to wisdom, with the use of “of,” seems to term that the words themselves aren’t wise, but the source of them, is where the wisdom comes from. From a strictly analytical view, the words being used are that of a wiser person than you, so the “from” makes more sense, and the purpose of the words is to impart learned wisdom earned though experience to those that have not been there, so “for” makes sense as well, more so than “of.”
Think of it like this, life is a factory, a 24-hour a day corporate creation pumping out a widget, the widget of “wisdom.” Through experience of years in this mortal coil and through the highs and lows of life, the factory pumps out a thousand different kinds of wisdom. For some people’s factories, their product is limited, and for even more, the product is sub-par quality; far below the industry standard. Thankfully, Life, Inc. is a free market that encourages competition, so even though not all wisdom is created equal, not everyone gets the same product from the same experience, there is always a better product out there for you to patronize. What you consume outside your own factory is not the wisdom, but the possibly invaluable byproduct of this ever churning factory, advice.
Advice is the repackaged product that is left over from the constant production of wisdom; the slag you skim off of the molten steel of your own cold-forged wisdom. Though you can only have your own wisdom, you are able to indulge in the advice of others. You cannot take someone else’s wisdom. You cannot, in one cute little quoted cliche, suddenly have their life’s experience, like some modern day highlander. What someone is passing on to you in a conversation on how to tackle a problem they may have faced down before, like a divorce or a death in the family, you are able to take their words “from” wisdom and possibly improve the packaging process of your own widget…