Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cowboy Wisdom part 2

Cowboy Wisdom part 2
In the Biblical sense, wisdom is the "ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on knowledge and understanding" (Lockyer).

Were you to do a search on the internet to define wisdom, you would get a whole heap of returns that give only a definition. Wisdom, doesn’t just sound right, it works in the storm. Many people attribute education to wisdom when in fact it has little to do with wisdom. Why? Because education prepares you for life and living but it doesn’t guarantee that it will be used in a wise way.

I like these definitions:
• Accumulated knowledge or erudition or enlightenment
• The trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight
• The quality of being prudent and sensible

Years ago, part of my University studies included business management. Our lecturer had officially filed for bankruptcy three times. (Today we politely call it “going into receivership or liquidation”) and had overseen the closure of all three businesses he managed. He held an MBA and a majour in accountancy with a business law degree. Whilst his education prepared him for life, I wouldn’t say it was applied with wisdom, although one could argue he is better equipped today, having experienced these failures.

Life is like that, we learn wisdom more from our experiences than we do from an education devoid of application. As a food lecturer, I understand that a recipe has two key components, and without the skill of appropriation, they are equally useless. The keys are:

1. A list of ingredients
2. A method of application

Wisdom similarly, requires the same approach.

1. The situation to hand
2. The appropriate application or method of action.

Now every recipe book I have ever read, (or written), makes the fundamental assumption that you understand your ingredients! Fact is, there are many fundamental errors that can result in a failed recipe. Experience tells us as professional chefs that “a working knowledge” of kitchen etiquette is the hidden factor for success. That comes about by pitting our education (taught skills), against our learned skills (experience) this is applied knowledge or wisdom. The hidden factor for success in either cooking or wisdom is timing and that comes by a life lived.

More Gems from the men in hats:

* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Generally, you ain't learnin' nothing when your mouth's a-jawin'.
* Tellin' a man to git lost and makin' himdo it are two entirely different propositions.
* If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there with ya.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.
* When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back.
* Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's sure crucial to know what it was.
* The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.
* You can't tell how good a man or a watermelon is 'til they get thumped.(Character shows up best when tested.)
* Never miss a good chance to shut up.
* If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen are defrocked, shouldn't it follow that cowboys would be deranged?
*There never was a horse that couldn't be rode; Never was a cowboy who couldn't be throwed.

Perhaps the last word should come from the headstone of the Duke himself:

"Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learnt something from yesterday."