Guest Blogger: Scott Merryman
Prudence: . the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. 2. caution or circumspection as to danger or risk.
These days, it is becoming easier and easier to get what we want quickly. All one has to do is log onto Amazon and resources are merely a key stroke and a two-day delivery away. If we are hungry, we can order online and the food arrives soon enough. If we are bored, we can select from thousands of videos to saturate our senses immediately. While this ability is a supposed sign of progress, it works to bolster instant gratification. We are far more capable of acting on impulse than ever before. Wish for it, and access it immediately… as if the internet were a magic lamp.
At the same time, our social language is becoming curiously devoid of the virtue of prudence. Our decision-making is performed by searching online for information, instead of asking the sage advice of an elder or listening to our inner voice of reason. We no longer need to house wisdom in our memory, since it can be accessed spontaneously on any number of devices. But this is not wisdom, nor is it prudent.
We trust the internet as if it were the sage elder of years passed. Surely, it contains an unimaginable amount of human knowledge. But that does not mean that such information is always accurate and skillful. True prudence is the outward manifestation of discernment. When we take the time to see circumstances and ponder them, to allow the ability of reason to do its intricate work, to consult the experience of elders… then we are actualizing prudence.
There are certainly situations that demand immediate action. But if we are not in the habit of cultivating prudence when possible, we will fail to meet such urgency in skillful ways. Remember the key ideas from the definition above: self-governance, self-discipline, reason, caution, circumspection. The mind that consumes its every whim will become fat and lazy. The mind that consumes prudently, however, will be fit and ready for the trials and tribulations of life.
Meet the Author: Scott Merryman is completing his Masters in Social Psychology at Walden University. Scott specializes in coaching and counseling men in the Judicial System, helping them to explore their belief system and behaviors. You can contact Scott at email@example.com
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