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2 - Why Is Wisdom Important and Why Doesn’t Society Always See It That Way?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 October 2021

Robert J. Sternberg
Affiliation:
Cornell University, New York
Judith Glück
Affiliation:
Klagenfurt University
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Summary

This chapter discusses why wisdom is so important to the world. In particular, it states:

  1. 1. Most important problems cannot be solved by knowledge + intelligence (IQ) alone. This formula has failed.

  2. 2. Analytical thinking untempered by wisdom can be risky and dangerous.

  3. 3. Creativity untempered by wisdom can be risky or downright dangerous.

  4. 4. Wisdom explicitly recognizes the role of positive human values.

  5. 5. The world has become a more global place, so we need to take into account more diverse and often different viewpoints.

  6. 6. The stakes for solving world problems are higher than they once were because of worldwide physical and virtual interconnection.

  7. 7. Reward systems that condone or value foolish or even toxic behavior need to be replaced.

  8. 8. Reward systems should not focus only on the short term.

  9. 9. Reward systems should not focus on competition when resources are scarce, but rather on common gain.

  10. 10. Increasing narcissism.

  11. 11. The problem of political, socioeconomic, racial, cultural, and other forms of polarization.

    The chapter further discusses why wisdom is so little transmitted:

    1. 1. Wisdom is hard to teach.

    2. 2. Teachers were not trained to teach wisdom, and do not have time and resources for acquiring new skills.

    3. 3. Wisdom is not tested for.

    4. 4. Wisdom is not always valued and may be devalued by those in power.

    5. 5. Wisdom is sometimes seen as available only to the old or to authority figures.

    6. 6. Wisdom is often seen as the province of religious or political education.

    7. 7. Wisdom requires a certain amount of intelligence and creativity, so often is scorned by those without all so much of either.

    8. 8. People with high analytical, creative, and practical intelligence often use their intelligence to try to get others to bypass wisdom, including in the schools.

Wisdom is often at odds with our emotions, which are extremely important in our decision making.

Type
Chapter
Information
Wisdom
The Psychology of Wise Thoughts, Words, and Deeds
, pp. 28 - 57
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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