Vision

Hello all!  Today is the next ADF virtue I want to talk about, Vision!  This one is an interesting one and something I see lacking in most of modern society. We have lost or abandoned the idea that we can shape the future. This is very sad and a bit disturbing. We don’t seem to think that we can make the future better than the present. I think this is because we don’t practice the first step of making things better, imaging what better looks like.

So, what do Monsieurs Merriam and Webster have to say about vision?

  1. a :  something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy; especially :  a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation; b :  a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination; c :  a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial
  2. a :  the act or power of imagination; b (1) :  mode of seeing or conceiving (2) :  unusual discernment or foresight; c :  direct mystical awareness of the supernatural usually in visible form
  3. a :  the act or power of seeing; b :  the special sense by which the qualities of an object (as color, luminosity, shape, and size) constituting its appearance are perceived through a process in which light rays entering the eye are transformed by the retina into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the optic nerve
  4. a :  something seen; b :  a lovely or charming sight

Wow, that’s a lot of words for one little word!  To make things a little easier, I’m only going to look at 1 and 2 here. The last two don’t apply to the kind of vision that will be discussed.

Vision is a thought, an idea, and foresight. It’s the ability to look at a situation and see how it can turn out. It lets us get idea of what the future holds. And, what the future can be. Vision is also needed for us to create. Without knowing how we want something to turn out, it becomes mighty hard to make it be what we want.

This virtue is tied closely to wisdom. Wisdom guides how you envision the future. Vision also guides wisdom. Vision tells you how to get that result that you used to wisdom to determine. They feed on each other and strengthen each other. Vision also helps you to see the many possible outcomes and wisdom lets you choose which outcome is the best. For things to work properly, they must work together, something that will come up again and again throughout these virtues.

Anyway, what do I see as vision?  It’s the ability to see what can be, what may be, and what must be. Vision is the tool we use to determine how to get what we want and what we want. It is imagination used to better our lives and the lives of those around us. It is our wants and desires and so much more. Used well, vision makes the world a much better place.

The Nine Virtues of the ADF

A ways back, I promised to write about these and how they fit into my Christianity. The ADF, Ár nDraíocht Féin or a Druid Fellowship, is a Pagan religious organization. What could a Christian learn from a bunch of Pagans?  Quite a bit, actually. The ADF encourages their members to do good, solid research, to think and write about what their faith means to them, and to reach out and get different perspectives. Sadly, much of modern Christianity has lost that desire to learn and understand its own faith.

So, today will be the first of the Nine Virtues as currently used by the ADF. Yes, they have changed them, twice so far. They listen to their members and use wisdom and judgement to determine if a Virtue needs to be changed. I have a great respect for self-correcting processes like this.

The first Virtue I’ll cover is wisdom. Wisdom is one of my favorite ones. Ok, ok, I really do like them all, even if fertility can be a bit problematic.

So, what is wisdom?  According to Monsieurs  Merriam and Webster,

  • a :  accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : b :  ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : c :  good sense : d :  generally accepted belief

  •  a wise attitude, belief, or course of action

  •  the teachings of the ancient wise men

Ok, so to have wisdom is to be wise, so let’s see what they say what wise means.

  1. a :  characterized by wisdom :  marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment : b :  exercising or showing sound judgment

  2. a :  evidencing or hinting at the possession of inside information :  b :  possessing inside information : c :  crafty, shrewd : d :  aware of or informed about a particular matter

Ah, now we are getting somewhere!  Although 1a doesn’t start off too helpful. So, wisdom is all about having knowledge and using it well. It means judgement, and not the horrifying being judgmental. Wisdom is important because, quite frankly, you need to be more than an information sponge. Not that I’m in any way disparaging being an information sponge; I am one myself. Information must become knowledge before it can be used as a basis for wisdom.

What is knowledge?  I once wrote a paper on that subject, sadly, I remember little of it. Had something to do with justified true belief and the four criteria to determine whether something is knowledge or not. I’m going to simply it for our purposes here; knowledge is information plus understanding. Quick example to show the difference, let’s say you memorize 2+2=4, but don’t know what it really means. Later, you come across 2+4= and you are lost. If you understood what 2, +, 4, and = meant, you’d have some idea what 2+4= meant as well. That is wisdom, being able to apply your knowledge to a new situation.

I promised you a bit about how this applies to Christianity as I practice it. I am reading through the Bible very slowly. I do need to pick it up again. It’s important for me to know what is in it. It is also important for me to understand the culture at the time and how the current culture affects my religion on both a personal and an institutional level. Also, different interpretations are vital to my understanding the Bible and it’s message. It is so very important to  see things through as many different lens as you can. Look at it from different angles. Come to know and understand something before you try to use it.