A Warrior Virtue
Ed Chapman and Norma Hoffman (as in Oak Leaves Autumn 2006, Issue
quick spontaneous decison-making, the gift of gab, the ability to bullshit,
a sharp tongue, a ready bon-mot, the eloquence to talk ones self
out of a situation-- this is a warrior virtue.
Wit is wisdom in running shoes. Wisdom can be a great, but passive, virtue.
Wit is what gets wisdom out into the world. Wit allows you to get your
thoughts out of your mouth and into your actions in ways that people will
pay attention to.
We all need wit to some degree-- at work, at a party, while giving a lecture,
or while discussing, arguing, or explaining. Druids love to argue-- um,
discuss-- and without wit, our arguments would be pretty dull. Wit is
also the ability to make people laugh, and to laugh at ones self,
and in doing so to point out absurdity, inconsistency, and hypocrisy.
With wit, our wisdom has a point.
Every Druid should be able to hold his or her own in a conversation about
which they know absolutely nothing. (Its clear, from our experience,
that most of us can do this.)
We should be able to speak extemporaneously at every occasion were
called upon to. We should be able to speak up at town council meetings,
and with newspaper and television reporters. We should be able to converse
intelligently and reasonably with police officers, and get their respect,
even though were dressed in funny robes and burning strange things
in a large fire in a public park.
Wit is the ability to think, talk, and act quickly, appropriately, engagingly,
and entertainingly. We usually need both wisdom and wit to interact with
other people on a daily basis, however, weve found that wit without
wisdom behind it (a.k.a. bullshitting) has carried us through more tough
situations in our lives than wisdom without the wit ever has.
Wit is the ability to think on ones feet, but also the ability to
stumble gracefully. Wit will keep you moving, and keep your opponent off
balance. Wit will get you out of more dangerous situations than any other
warrior skill. Our tai chi teacher, while teaching the defensive applications
of martial arts moves, always insisted that your best weapon is
your mouth, and that should be your first choice of weapons.
Wit takes courage, with an edge of cock-eyed, reckless abandon-- an abandonment
to inspiration, to awen. It also takes attention and a bit of focus, and
some critical thinking.
Count wit as a warrior virtue; think of Athena and her gift of Metis,
the craft of warriors, and the way wily Odysseus ended the siege of Troy
and the way he made his way back home-- not so much with his strength,
but with his wit.