Sages are those special people who have risen from childhood nonsense, through adolescent stupidity, adult self aggrandizement and mature responsibility quickly enough to have some time and energy left for developing a sage-like care for all humanity. Sages have transcended their responsibility toward themselves and some specific group of people and later in their lives are struggling to fulfill the goal of helping all humanity to live healthier more abundant lives. Over the history of humanity this has been done in many ways and it is usually thought by many to be limited to religious prophets such as Lao Tzu, Jesus, Moses and Buddha but I have expanded sage-hood to include people who helped humanity to a more abundant life by other means. People who sought to provide the most affordable commodities for individuals to use, like Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Norman Borlaug. Philosophers of human physical needs like, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, Thomas Malthus. Lawgivers like the ancient Greeks Solon and Lycurgus do not make it to my sage-hood list because their laws were designed for specific small groups of people and not to all humanity. The lawgivers at Nuremburg Trials of war criminals would qualify because they intended there war-criminal laws to apply and be enforceable to all human beings. The creators of the United Nations laws were intending them to be applicable to all people but because it is through the intermediary of these individuals nation states these laws are functionally unenforceable against any misbehaving individuals and thus they function only as suggested behavior.
To behave as a sage doesn’t require being in a position of great power and responsibility so much as doing actions which are motivated by the intention of helping all humanity and not just one’s self. Thus even a person who is rated only as an adolescent in most of his behavior might have moments where he is motivated by helping all humanity. The moment he decides to ride public transportation and not drive his car because it is helpful for humanity is such a moment. But it is only that moment which counts as sage like behavior. It is a very good moment, however.
A mature sage is one who works on ways of consistently providing humanity with helping actions. The best of these things are self-sustaining. Borlaug creating better strains of wheat and other crops are things which will continue providing better food for humanity long after he made his improvements. Jesus and Buddha’s methods for relating to other people and to one’s self have been applied by vast numbers of people ever since he suggested them. It is the time and breadth extension of a sage’s work which makes them into a more fully functioning sage.
A sage does things which help everyone as well as himself.