This Maxim goes hand-in-hand with the one that advises us to “Be a seeker of wisdom” in that it gives us one of many possible paths to following the earlier Maxim. But, like most of the other maxims, it is much more than the simplistic reading would have us believe.
First we must determine who is wise, and in what capacity are they wise. The reason for this is simple. A person who is a wise dog breeder is not necessarily a wise musician because they are different disciplines. We must seek out a person who is wise in the discipline we seek to learn so that we may learn about it in the most efficient way possible. Even someone who is a fool in one area may be wise in others. Plato comments on this often in his Dialogues when he has Socrates searching for the “wise man” and stating that we should trust a task to someone who knows what they are doing. We should not ask our dog breeder to play an instrument unless we know that they are also a musician.
The one person who we should NOT consult though is the self-proclaimed ‘expert’ in a field when we cannot get independent confirmation. The man who claims to be wise usually is not – it is the man whose results speak for them who is wise. (Note: The reason I ask for comments is that I am not wise, just a writer)