The Quest for Practical Wisdom

Phronesis Apparel, LLC.

That was the original name for Glamour Owl Apparel. I loved this name because it represented everything I wanted Glamour Owl to be. Well, everything except accessible that is. Sometimes a name just isn’t quite right even though it seems so at first.

My son, who will be 19 years-old at the end of this month was named Jeremy for the first 30 hours of life. His birth certificate, hospital tags and baby bracelet all bore the name Jeremy. But after gazing into his eyes and bringing his little soft body close, after meditating on who he was and would be, Jeremy just didn’t fit. So we changed his name to Joshua and that is who he has been and will be for eternity.

This same thing happened with Glamour Owl. Phronēsis (Greek: φρόνησις) is an Ancient Greek word for wisdom or intelligence which is a common topic of discussion in philosophy. It is pronounced fro-knee-sis. Nobody I know outside of my beloved geeky philosophy circle has ever heard of the word, but I want to share it because it is a really good word that represents a concept that is potentially life changing.

Phronesis means practical wisdom.

In ancient Greece there are several types of wisdom. Sophia is the highest wisdom, theoretical wisdom. It involves reasoning concerning universal truth. It is a combination of both scientific teachable knowledge and a particular ability to discern reality. But in order  to have sophia, one must have first have phronesis.

Phronesis is the practical wisdom that comes from a consistent aim of living well. It is the pursuit of wisdom and happiness that requires maturation. It is concerned with how we behave in particular situations. For example, we know that honesty is a virtue but when confronted with a difficult situation in which our honesty instinct is tested, our phronesis grows proportionally to how quickly we are able to rationally choose honesty. It is only when we have practical wisdom that we are truly able to live well, to thrive and to flourish as human beings.

How does one discover their unique purpose in the cosmos and establish a sense of significance through who they are and their impact on the world?  How does one find a niche profession or calling in which to excel?  How does one seek out ways to become good, better, or the best amidst daunting amounts of knowledge in our information-loaded culture?  And ultimately, how does one find happiness?

The answers are found by determining our values, our virtues, our conception of practical wisdom. If we can do this we have a compass by which to live life well. Think of your own definition of phronesis, and when you see the glamour owl, know that the owl represents phronesis. This is the Glamour Owl quest.

GO with love

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