To be a prudent person is to exercise a conscious degree of reasonableness to approach decision making with an application of thought to the future. The future presents itself as an ambiguous and an unknown place. We hear and see words like “subject to change” thrown around and we automatically ask ourselves, what does that even mean? We are not supposed to know what that means because it is an expression used and intended to disempower the receiver while empowering the person who says it. Prudence can therefore transform quite easily into paranoia. We can attempt to chart or guess the future by looking at how we have done things in the past, but that isn’t an absolute and hard science to rely upon either.
If we truly examined and understood our past, can any one of us without hesitation confirm that we have not learnt new things, grown, adapted or become changed in some way? It is challenging to believe that all the miracles and the obstacles that confront us in life have anything to do with consciously deciding to be a more prudent person. How can that thinking support us with coming to terms as to why being prudent did not assist us in the manner that we were anticipating? It really doesn’t, and can’t, because many of the answers we look for in life are things we come to know or believe to be our own truths, through or own experiences, and in our own time.
Prudent is described in the English Oxford Dictionary as, “Acting with or showing care and thought for the future.”
Prudent sounds very much like the markings or the colours of love in this definition; “Acting with or showing care.” It doesn’t always mean that the ‘care’ or the ‘love’ is extended out to others however. Prudent could manifest as self-love or self-care too. Self-love does not necessarily have to equate with some of the fouler qualities of narcissism, although it can.
Being prudent has a richness of quality linked to nobility and such a quality encapsulates the characteristics of wisdom and judiciousness. Being prudent is the best go-to solution for the risk advertent. Corporate culture, financial institutions and governments tend to have a soft spot for the word prudent.
Being prudent can also be aligned with being shrewd; a by-product of circumspection. We can have goals and plans and the best of intentions for ourselves and in our relationships with others but until the future becomes a time captured in the present, it is an unknown and unquantifiable concept. If one really thought about it carefully, being prudent is a blurry concept which is the reason how a term such as prudent can overlap into paranoia.
Paranoia is described in the English Oxford Dictionary as, “Unreasonably or obsessively anxious, suspicious or mistrustful.”
Being prudent can potentially overlap with elements intrinsic to paranoia because the more one thinks about the future as being an ambiguous and unknown place, the more impervious one is to assume risks. Paranoia is therefore powerfully affiliated with negativity. Being in a state of anxiety, suspiciousness and not trusting is the opposite to being in a state of happiness and bliss. It is a pathway that enhances fear. Paranoia can organically extend and lead to a desire to induce justifiable fear which, in another expression, is “happiness suicide.”
In our desire to make sense of the unknown we claim that our actions or inactions are conscious choices designed to act with care, that we are being prudent. In reality however, being prudent is a lot more complicated than simply caring or not caring because we are mindful of the fact that the future is an unknown and unquantifiable subject matter, even when we act with prudence. And the only way we can discover the truths about what the future is, is when we are in it.