The desire of a wise man is for wisdom, the desire of a fool is for foolishness (Mivchar Peninim, 1:27)
This is almost a truism. Often we see statements of this kind through a prism of smug self satisfaction and a lens of ersatz morality. Isn't it terrible, tsk, tsk, tsk , those fools - they have no one to blame but their foolishness. We, the wise ones, we choose wisdom, and we are praseworthy for it... not like those fools!
However, that is not what Mivchar Peninim says( although it is the tenor of his commentators comments). I read what he says as a statement of fact. This is simply how these two categories, the wise ones and fools, work. The wise like wisdom and the fools desire foolishness. If we approach it as a matter of fact, what does this statement teach us.
I think that the way to approach is to ask, "Why is this so? Why do wise one pursue wisdom and the fools desire foolishness?" Let's not assign blame. Let's try to understand.
What is this really all about is that people like what they already know and they look to improve and become more proficient where they are comfortable. Perhaps it is a relative lack of confidence or a deficit in a wider perspective (some people do not wish to go outside their comfort zone), or seeking comfort only in what they recognize. Wisdom in this way is different than foolishness because wisdom by its nature strives to widen its sphere and to learn and know more.
I once heard a philosopher explain that virtue is similar to skill. How do you gain a skill in an area? By doing more and more in it, so that your skill grows. How do you grow virtuous? By training yourself in virtue, time after time, over and over again.
This is, therefore, the difference between a chacham and a fool. The wise person practices in the field of wisdom and the fool keeps himself in foolishness.
Therefore, all one needs to do is to change the fool's heart, to show him that wisdom is good for him and that he can succeed and enjoy gaining more and more wisdom. Easier said than done, huh? Yet, it is possible. How? By touching the heart and changing perspectives so that the desires of the heart are for wisdom. By showing the fool that he can succeed in wisdom. As simple as that! In that lies the essence of the conversion experience!