If wisdom is innate, then by definition, everyone is “wise” – just too different extents based on our knowledge, experience and how we have used both of these to gain wisdom.
So when it suggested that we ask ourselves the question, “…what would a wise man or woman do…, it begs the question, how do you define “a wise man or woman”. If wisdom is innate, then the original question could really be “…what would I do..”
Since there is no objective and definitive measure of “a wise man” how can we even begin to think of what a wise man would do. You can get a Phd in Physics and you will be a expert in Physics – this is objective. But wisdom is relative and omnipresent, if it is truly innate – so the question of what would a wise man of woman do is somewhat impossible or thus redundant.
I have also heard the saying “… everyone is born a genius..” My interpretation of that has been that every child is born with the ability to learn, to grow, to achieve – given the right nurturing, environment etc. So if wisdom is innate, then the realization and exposure of that internal wisdom in us, requires the learning from our life experiences. But one could make the same argument for courage and love. So why wouldn’t those be considered innate? Or is there some definition of the threshold of stimulation that is required to bring these out in us – which defines which are innate. The lower the threshold, the more innate?
We often hear about “..a wise old man..”. That should not be confused with an intelligent person or one with a lot of expertise or knowledge in one or many areas. Wisdom come from experiences that we learn from and which make us a “better” human being. The wisdom to discern right and wrong, good or evil, meaningful or meaningless, ethical or unethical and so on. We are not taught these, they are developed from our experiences and thus the view that wisdom is innate. But then would the lack of these experiences at any point mean that wisdom is not possible at that point? Then maybe Locke is right is saying that when we are born we are like a clean slate, a blank canvas. But maybe wisdom is still there – like white light of the blank canvas. Our experiences over time bring out the colors and vividness on the canvas – but it all started from the existence of an innate wisdom.