Summary: I pass along a summary of thoughts on wisdom that resulted from Tom Atlee's The Wisdom Survey. These are a natural follow to my earlier entry The difference between truth-seeking and wisdom-seeking in which wikipedia's related analysis of wisdom was shared. Inescapable conclusion: acting on some truths is unwise. This has consequences for knowledge-making (which are left for a possible later entry).
Thoughts on WisdomIn seeking wisdom I would apply the abovescreens to any of my actions... even those actions deriving from truth. It is quite possible to have demonstrable, describable transferable knowledge (truth) which may not pass the set of these screens. Thus: to act on knowledge that is certifiably true may not be wise.!!
Someone or something (see below) is wise to the extent it arises from and embraces life's wholeness. Through wisdom we become vehicles or channels for wholeness on behalf of life. Some of the CHARACTERISTICS that mark wisdom are:
It embraces the BIG PICTURE -- in any situation, it seeks to take into consideration the long term, the full story, both objective and subjective worlds, holistic and system sciences, Spirit, context, and other deep, broad realities. It uses MULTIPLE WAYS OF KNOWING -- for example, it uses heart, intuition, story and spirit as well as facts and reason -- and often arises out of authentic dialogue among diverse people or perspectives. It is INCLUSIVE AND OPEN -- to diversity, novelty, otherness, nuance, disturbance, and other things that are often ignored, excluded or suppressed, thus being particularly fair and comprehensive in its approaches and mindful that "there is always more to it than that." It is INSIGHTFUL AND APPROPRIATE -- even as it is inclusive and vast in its embrace of reality, it cuts to the essence of what needs to be understood in a situation -- the most relevant realities that need to be worked with -- particularly the underlying dynamics, the hidden resources (often masquerading as problems) and the long-term consequences. It is HUMBLE AND RECEPTIVE -- recognizing the limitations and relativity of all perspectives and knowledge, it tolerates (and even appreciates or surrenders to) uncertainty, paradox, mystery and complexity, and so is able to entertain (and is often interested in dialoging with and learning about) diverse viewpoints, information and possibilities, while being unattached to any particular one, disinclined to blame and lighthearted about the efforts of life. It SERVES LIFE -- caring for and appreciating the sacredness (or unique integrity and value) of all beings and living systems, it tends to focus on where life (and passion) are most vivid, and on what is important for life's healing and flourishing, and so it tends to produce (or catalyze) broadly beneficial outcomes. It is GROUNDED IN RELATIONSHIP -- appreciating, practicing, embodying and nurturing interconnectedness among all things, it serves harmony, balance, dialogue, co-evolution and healthy feedback that supports and creatively uses diversity and authenticity. It has an ELEGANT SIMPLICITY -- using no more (resources, words, force, etc.) than necessary and often economizing through cooperation (seeing problems as resources and enemies as allies) and elegant alignment with the realities of the situation. It has INTEGRITY -- embodying courageous commitment to truth -- particularly one's truth to oneself and one's experience -- which can manifest as steadfastness or flexibility, depending on where the alliance with truth leads. It has PRESENCE -- a hard to define but compelling quality of imminent, centered, mature realness that is grounded in deeper/higher realities (such as experience, Spirit and silence) and so naturally evokes respect, resonance, trust, and the stirrings of greater Life.
[from The Wisdom Survey (see summary above) via Mike Bell and Patricia Bell at The WisdomMeme]
The wisdom parameters derive from a large "truth" (i.e., All things, large and small, are interrelated, affecting and being affected by each other) and important ethical premises. If we're interested in developing the capacity for wise action ... then we must be interested in knowledge-making that works within those parameters.
The pursuit of wise truths via knowledge-making: are our learning principles going to be utterly different or simply a subset of those we "already know"?