Wisdom: The Art of Finesse

Today is the second day of October. In Five Percenter lingo, today’s Supreme Mathematics is Wisdom. Gaining Knowledge is one thing. Wisdom, meaning how that knowledge is applied, is another. Wisdom requires finesse in order for us to succeed. What do I mean by finesse? I don’t mean Bruno Mars and Cari B., although they have a nice song (and video) by the same title. Here, finesse means the skill of applying what we know to handle a situation in a righteous, subtle or delicate manner.

Our Wisdom can be an objective manifestation (through our words and actions), or a subjective manifestation (through our thoughts, ideas, and even feelings). In a world of mixed beliefs and views, Five Percenters must have finesse in applying their Wisdom. Finesse can mean different things to different people. For some, it could mean having good judgment, more patience, more creativity, or a better choice of words. This is vital for three reasons: 1) we want to be firm in our knowledge; 2) effectively teach what we know to others; and 3) to be understood. Let’s take each one of these points apart and then bring it all together.

We want to be firm in our knowledge. Do you know anyone who does something but doesn’t really know why they do what they do? What about someone who celebrates a holiday without even truly knowing why they are celebrating it? What if you found out that favorite food of yours that you’ve been eating for years leads to cancer? What if you found out that a hygiene product you and your family have used for years has a chemical that’s detrimental to your hair or skin?

With Freedom Comes Great Responsibility

Although we have the freedom to do as we please and buy what we want, that does not mean we should blindly live life without any knowledge. This, of course, would make you and your family unwitting targets to be taken advantage of. So, we want to be sure, that is, having knowledge to a substantial certainty, that we are on point. We also want to be firm in our knowledge to be able to exercise our freedom to enter into fair agreements that advance our own purposes. We want to be firm in our knowledge to properly give our consent, and to make informed decisions about how we spend our money. Makes sense, right?

We want to effectively teach what we know to others. Whether we know or it not, or whether we like it or not, we teach by example. People learn by looking, listening, and observing. They also learn by remembering, analyzing, comparing, and contrasting. When I began pursuing the Knowledge of Self, I wanted to share all that I was learning with my family and friends. But I learned, often through many arguments, that not all my family and friends wanted to hear what I was sharing. There I was, trying to persuade and convince my loved ones that my information was right and exact. But they refused to listen to my righteous assertions. Oh well, I simply presented my proof and they just had to figure the truth out for themselves – if they ever became ready to face the reality I had presented to them.

What I learned from this is that people do a great deal of following. There are far more followers in society and too few leaders. In fact, some of the leaders are followers themselves. People tend to consciously or subconsciously follow what they believe is correct. People have shared stories, news, and information since they developed the ability to communicate. In turn, people became informed, inspired, motivated, enlightened, or moved in some way by a story, news, and information. But people are not always interested in learning what others share all the time. So, it makes sense for us today to have a degree of finesse when we are trying to teach (or “show and prove” to) others. In today’s tech-dependent and mobile device-driven world, this can be somewhat challenging.

The Impact of social (“Me”)-dia

We want to be understood. In America, people spend an average of about an hour a day on Facebook. Some of us spend even more time than that on TikTok, Instagram, and other apps combined. We want to share our photos, our stories, our news, and our knowledge. This obviously creates an endless stream of communication and connection between people. This changes the way we receive information which, depending on our social media habits, can either benefit or harm our mental health (more is discussed about this topic in The Righteous Way: Infinity Edition).

Receiving “Likes,” heart emojis, shares, and reposts does something to us mentally and emotionally. Just think about how you might feel if someone doesn’t “Like” or share your post. Of course, there are valid reasons for that like they may not have seen your post, or they were too busy with life offline to connect on social media. But these days, people can take that so seriously that they contemplate suicide over social media reactions. Friendships can be gained and lost based on social media reactions. In some extreme instances, some people are willing to go to war over something said or not said on social media. You might ask why do people do this? In the words of Ralph G. Nichols:

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and to be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”

People engage and react to social media posts because of the need to be understood and to let others know that they understand them. This is how we connect as humans. This “meeting of the minds” is at the root of why we do what we do. As Five Percenters, we want to be effective in reaching an understanding or a mutual agreement with others about the importance of Knowledge of Self, the usefulness of mathematics, and the value of our history and contribution to civilization. Without finesse, this would be a challenging feat.

As Ralph G. Nichols pointed out, the best way to understand people is to listen to them. I would go a step further and say we should also look at and observe others as well. Social media allows us to do all three simultaneously simply by checking out someone’s social media content or going to their bio. As it applies to social media, we should learn to develop our Wisdom into an art of finesse (don’t get me wrong, I do not mean finessing others, that is a misinterpretation of the concept). To have finesse means first to take care of your health and personal well-being. People listen to others who look healthy and appear clean and orderly.

Do To Others

The art of finesse requires applying what we actually know in the right manner. This is manifested in our daily lives offline and online. To have finesse means to be able to effectively communicate to others what we think and how we feel. In the social media community, as well as in our daily lives, this means having a generally positive attitude. We must be mindful that online communication lacks the nuance of facial expression and tone of voice which accompany face-to-face or verbal communications. Thus, sarcasm is unwise and often unclear online.

In this particular situation, we should take a respectful, professional, or collegial attitude in responding to posts, especially when disagreeing with another’s position. Take a moment to think before you respond. The time that it takes you to give a thoughtful response to someone’s post is invaluable. Be brief in your responses since you (or other readers) may not have the time to engage in a discussion that a face-to-face conversation would allow. The longest response is not always the wisest. Take the time to ensure that your response is free of grammatical, spelling, or structural errors (which leads many to misunderstandings).

What’s the point? We want to avoid confusion at all costs. Confusion should be cleared by addressing the question, problem, or situation presented in a way that brings clarity and understanding. The more people understand, the more we are understood. This helps us accomplish what we build at home and abroad. This is important because Five Percenters have a duty to teach what we know to those who do not know or who are under false beliefs that lead to erroneous conclusions and improper behavior.

People do not listen to others without a good reason. We should, therefore, think before we speak. Choose words carefully. Show and prove, but allow others to weigh what you’ve given them and decide for themselves. Wisdom is giving a person a glass of water to drink when they’re thirsty, but finesse is allowing the person to drink the water when they’re ready to. PEACE!

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