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Knowledge and Wisdom (Essay) Exercise: Class 12 English

Bertrand Russell Essay: Knowledge and Wisdom Exercise Question Answer Solution note, Class 12 English Essay Section Chapter 3 Exercise note.
Knowledge and Wisdom Exercise: Class 12 English | Essay

Knowledge and Wisdom Exercise

Bertrand Russell Essay: Knowledge and Wisdom Exercise Question Answer Solution note, Class 12 English Essay Section Chapter 3 Exercise note.

Understanding The Text.

Answer the following questions.

a. What are the factors that contribute to wisdom?

Answer➡ Russell has mentioned some important factors in the essay that contribute to wisdom are as follows:

1. A sense of proportion.

2. An awareness of the ends of human life.

3. Emancipation from personal prejudice.

4. Impartiality 

5. Intellectual element

b. What message does the writer try to convey with the examples of technicians?

Answer➡ Russell has provided several examples of technicians to illustrate the dangers of relying only on technical expertise. They're unable to see how their expertise in one subject may be detrimental in another. As an example, population expansion and food shortages may result from the discovery of a treatment that lowers newborn mortality. Atomic physics may be abused in the same way to create atomic weapons.

c. Which leaders does Russell say were able to mix knowledge and wisdom soundly?

Answer➡ Russell says the leaders such as Queen Elizabeth I of England, Henry IV of France, and Abraham Lincoln were able to successfully mix knowledge and wisdom. Both Queen Elizabeth I and Henry IV remained clear of their time’s faults, and by doing so, they were both benevolent and surely not unsuccessful. Similarly, Abraham Lincoln led a tremendous battle while never deviating from the path of wisdom.

d. Why is the wisdom needed not only in public ways but in private life equally?

Answer➡ Wisdom is not only needed in public ways but also used in private life equally. It is needed in the choice of ends to be pursued and in emancipation from personal prejudice. In the lack of wisdom, we may fail in choosing the target of our life and getting success in life.

e. What, according to Russell, is the true aim of education?

Answer➡ According to Russel, the ultimate aim of education is welfare of students and it is a process of self-development.

f. Can wisdom be taught? If so, how?

Answer➡ Yes, wisdom can be taught. The teaching of wisdom should have a larger intellectual element than moral instruction. The disastrous results of hatred and narrow-mindedness to those who feel them can be pointed out incidentally in the course of giving knowledge. For example, while teaching the composition of an atom, the disastrous results of it must be taught to eliminate its misuse such as making an atomic bomb.

g. Why does the world need more wisdom in the future?

Answer➡ When we observe the growth of knowledge in various sectors in the present time, it is obvious that there will be even more development of knowledge in the future. In the absence of wisdom, most people are misusing knowledge bringing several negative impacts and this reality will continue in the future too if knowledge is not mixed with wisdom. It is only wisdom, that makes people use the acquired knowledge wisely. For a better future, more wisdom is needed.

Reference to the Context.

a. According to Russel, “The pursuit of knowledge may become harmful unless it is combined with wisdom.” Justify this statement.


Humans are inquisitive creatures who are eager to learn new things. The majority of people have spent their entire lives in search of knowledge. Some pieces of knowledge are noble and beneficial to humans, while others are harmful. Knowledge combined with wisdom is beneficial to us because it addresses all of humanity's needs. Because it is used to make bombs, knowledge of atomic composition has become harmful to mankind. Similarly, Hegel, despite his extensive knowledge of history, persuaded the Germans that they were a superior race. It resulted in massively destructive wars. As a result, knowledge must be combined with a sense of humanity. We require an event to determine our life's purpose. It liberates us from our prejudices. In the absence of wisdom, even noble things are used in injudicious ways.

b. What, according to Russell, is the essence of wisdom? And how can one acquire the very essence?


According to Russell, the essence of wisdom is emancipation from the tyranny of being partiality. It makes our thoughts and feeling less personal and less concerned with our physical states. It is wisdom that makes us care and love the entire human race, it takes us into the higher stage of spirituality. It makes us be able to make the right decision, install a broad vision and unbiasedness in our minds. We can acquire the very essence by breaking the chain of the egoism of our sense, understanding the ends of human life, applying our knowledge wisely for the benefit of humans, finding noble and attainable goals of our life, controlling our sensory perceptions, being impartial gradually and loving others.

Reference beyond the text.

a. Why is wisdom necessary in education? Discuss.


Wisdom is what makes our minds open and unbiased. Our thoughts and feelings grow less personal as we gain wisdom. It encourages us to make appropriate use of our knowledge. It enables us to put our knowledge to good use for humanity. We love even our enemies when we have wisdom, we have no ego, and we don’t have any prejudices. Wisdom is an element of human life that complements education/knowledge. If one balances these two aspects correctly, he or she becomes a perfect being. 

Education’s objective is to not only convey knowledge but also to produce excellent citizens. People who lack wisdom may misuse their gained information, and wisdom does not come naturally; it must be taught. Developing wisdom in students has to be one of the educational goals, and it has to be taught in schools. With practical examples, it must be planted and nurtured in one’s mind.

b. How can you become wise? Do you think what you are doing in college contributes to wisdom?


Wisdom is something that’s hard to define and yet somehow we know it when we see it. The wise people stay calm in a crisis. They recognize the limits of their own knowledge, consider alternative perspectives, and remember that the world is always changing.

Becoming wiser is not a matter of night. Patience and discipline are the key to become wiser. Wise reasoning is associated with a whole lot of positives: higher life satisfaction, fewer negative feelings, better relationships and less depressive rumination. A wise man commits mistakes. You learn by your own mistakes. It’s necessary to remember that the more you commit mistakes the more you learn and the more you improve. Staying happy is also a step to become wiser. No matter what happens in your life, just be happy, keep the faith and solve the problems calmly. A wise man is never afraid of any situations. He/she work peacefully to solve the problem. I think this are the certain ways to become wise.

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Iswori Rimal is the author of, a popular education platform in Nepal. Iswori helps students in their SEE, Class 11 and Class 12 studies with Complete Notes, important questions and other study materials.

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