Wisdom is one of those substances that everyone agrees is of great value. Wisdom is something to be treasured and cultivated. You don’t often walk down the street and overhear, “Wisdom, Bah! I’ve had more wisdom than you have had hot dinners, and it is worthless.”
Wisdom is a trait that can be developed with care and dedication, but it is not the same as book learning or intelligence. As a person who grew up as an avid role player, in a game (Dungeons and Dragons) that used character stats that included both intelligence and wisdom, I would like to use the example we gamers loved to have on hand to explain these traits to new comers to the game. Intelligence tells you all the facts of why it is raining, but wisdom is the ability to know to get out of it before you get hit by lighting, or catch your death. Wisdom is the ability to take intellect and apply it towards insight into the world and people.
The basis for all self improvement, as well as most other virtues, starts with wisdom. It is that special insight that tells us that to harm others ultimately harms ourselves . This is the beginning for compassion, and from there, hospitality. Wisdom informs us that to over do any action is a path to pain and suffering; thus wisdom is the beginning of moderation. Courage to stand firm comes from the wisdom of knowing if what we are doing is right and good, for courage is not an absence of fear, but instead the doing of what is right and correct in the face of fear.
For me, Wisdom is captured in the Greek Goddess Metis. Her insight into what will impress Zeus allows her to prepare her daughter Athena for the day in which she will be released. Metis crafts for her daughter a full suit of amour as well as weapons. The dazzling display of the sunlight hitting this amour captures Zeus's heart and Athena becomes one of the 12 Olympians and easily takes up her mother’s mantle as a Goddess of Wisdom in her own right. Metis is also the mother of Poros, who is the personification of abundance, which is easy to obtained through forethought and the wisdom that comes with it.