Wisdom (智)

Another piece of calligraphy written from my little calligraphy pen!

This means wisdom. The full word for it is 智慧. I love wisdom – so much so that I am therefore studying philosophy (love of wisdom).


The etymology is quite cool too.

智 has evolved from the following words:

  • 知 (to have knowledge), which is made up of:
    • 矢 (arrow)
    • 口 (mouth)
  • 白 (white, clear)
  • 亏 (fortunate)

I can’t seem to find what it means on the internet, but my guess is this:

To have wisdom is to possess knowledge (知), but not just any kind of knowledge – it is knowledge of survival, which in this case is to have the knowledge on how to use the arrow (矢) for food (口).

But it’s not just about knowing, it is also to understand it so clearly (白). And indeed, to possess such knowledge is to be most fortunate (亏) indeed.

Over the centuries, it has evolved to look like two words stacked above each other: 知 (knowledge) and 日 (sun).

In a very poetic way, wisdom is to have the kind of knowledge (知) that surpasses even the sun (日).

So, in short, wisdom (智) is to be fortunately (blessedly) endowed with a clear understanding of the necessary knowledge for survival in the world.