"Wisdom does not loom large in the modern psyche. It has been replaced by knowledge, which does not pretend to emotive value; in its least appealing forms, it even eschews such associations. It is strictly about things and the manipulation of them; and, unsurprisingly, it’s directed outwardly, towards the technologies of life and not their meanings. So we have many people who, externally speaking, are able but not wise; active but not prudent.

And perhaps this defines our society and our age as much as any other set of words: activity without prudence, or, imprudent doing.

To have prudence is to have foresight, to attend to. But attention is born from within, not from outward circumstances; and in the great esoteric traditions, as well as the traditional religions, attention is of a divine origin, not a worldly one.”

–Lee van Laer, on “Inner Wisdom,” from the latest issue, Spring, 2014

Read the full article here.

Photography Credit: St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City photographed by Toyohiro Yamada, Getty Images

“Magic Scene with Self-Portrait” Pieter Bodding van Laer (Christened 14 December 1599 – c. 1642).
The painting is an unusual twist to the association of canons and learnedness. A sorcerer receives more than he bargained for, yelling in terror as the devil he has conjured approaches from just outside the picture frame. The three-voice canon prominently displayed in the foreground bears the text Il diavolo non burla, non burla? “the devil doesn’t jest, doesn’t jest.”

These are my bees, says the Lord
I will make them to rise up
Out of the darkness, and into the morning sun
They will, unerringly,
Find every flower and the goodness I have put in it,
The tastes and colors of the soul,
Gather that sweetness,
And bring it home.

–Lee van Laer, Parabola's Poetry Editor