Argument From Authority Fallacy and the Terms “Wisdom” and “Folk Wisdom”

(Five short paragraphs plus endnotes, copyleft 5-16-2016 by Peter Voluntaryistic Walker)13256051_10201686917970686_3745049815105062263_n
Introduction: I observe *wisdom* is a word commonly used but meaning different things to different people and often, as in my former case, without a personal examination of what it means before one speaks it. When I was religious, I accepted the youth pastor’s definition of “Looking at things from God’s point of view”; but my former religiosity was based on childhood indoctrination — my false rather than true self. I now see the word *wisdom* as a fossil word left over from the superstitious phase of evolution we as a species are evolving out of if it doesn’t first cause us to go extinct. But fossil or not, it’s here and to get past the argument-from-authority fallacy, I and probably you need to take a closer look a wisdom’s meaning.
1. Wisdom: lists 32 dictionaries defining it. Of these, each has five or ten meanings depending on variables such as context. Of these 50 or 100 differently worded definitions, the one making the most sense to me is “The ability to make a decision based on the combination of knowledge, experience, and intuitive understanding” (
2. Folk Wisdom: lists one dictionary and one encyclopedia defining *folk wisdom*, but the encyclopedia changes the term to “folklore”; to me not the same meaning. Collins ( says “wisdom or beliefs associated with or traditional to the common people of a country”; but I partially disagree, preferring to say “specific group” rather than “country”, because a specific group could mean in a country, but could also mean other specified groups such as a religion or a social movement.
2.a. Folk wisdom is extremely common worldwide, but is in some places being reduced in quantity due to the rise of critical thinking enabled by the Internet; that is, traditional cultures widely discourage/hide critical thinking among their so-called “common people”, while the Internet makes it increasingly available.
2.b. I sometimes blend critical thinking with folk wisdom because there’s not enough time to think-out everything from scratch, and I thus find *some* folk wisdom to be the result of well performed trial-and-error. An example is the folk wisdom acronym HALTS common among addiction recovery groups, meaning “Don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, or Stressed”. Looking back on my personal history of chronic relapsing (mainstream cultures are the parent addiction and others are really subaddictions), everytime I did it was one or more of the HALTS warnings — but not exactly. Anger wasn’t the only emotion triggering me, so I remember HALTS because that’s what I first learned, but to me it’s HELTS internally. Also, to me the “L” and “S” mean not meeting with people successful in recovery, because all my relapses have had a lack of these meetings; i.e., it’s the quality not quantity of people I have around me.
Title and Introduction – “Wisdom” – I often use two asterisks (*…*) to show italics because I prefer to publish in plain text whenever possible; I also sometimes use quotation marks rather than asterisks in cases such as a title.
Paragraph 1. – “…intuitive understanding.” – “Opinions are substitutes for conclusions; sometimes for healthy reasons but more often for unhealthy reasons. A textbook case of a good reason is a military radar operator needing to determine whether a set of blips are friendly or foe, and not having enough time to think-out a conclusion. This occurred in the Gulf War of the 1990s and the operator decided the blips were foe based on his gut feeling. It turned out they were missiles and he was a hero for having them shot down; but if they would have been friendly fighter planes he probably would’ve been court-martialed for the rest of his life. He was well aware of this when making his decision. Afterwards the US Navy thoroughly investigated his decision and came to the conclusion that the operator’s subconscious detected a difference between the blip patterns of missiles and fighter planes that his conscious couldn’t because the subconscious operates approximately seven thousand times faster than the conscious. Professional opinions such as those from doctors and lawyers are called opinions because of the role their gut plays combined with their knowledge and information resources. A textbook case of a bad opinion is to echo what someone else says because the opinion holder is emotionally/mentally lazy or inadequate. Thus the definition of a nonemergency/nonprofessional opinion is a decision based not on thinking or information, but on emotional/mental processing of concepts according to indoctrination. I’m presently not a professional anything and therefore only have opinions in emergencies.” – My Mini-Essay aka
Paragraph 2.b.:
– “…mainstream cultures are the parent addiction…” – aka
– “…Stressed” –
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