Wisdom is by far the most sustainable dimension of the information/knowledge industry. But is it teachable? It is learned somehow, and as far as I know, there is no ‘values’/Wisdom gene. Consequently, there are things that we can all do to help manage the learning processes more effectively, although detailed consideration of these are outside the scope of this paper.
We need to recognise that the more change that is going on in society, the more important it is that we make sure that our learning is as effective as possible. That is the only way we have any chance of being able to equate change with progress. If we want to have a better future the first - and most important - thing that we have to do is improve the quality and effectiveness of our learning.
We are trying to improve things. We are trying to make progress. Of course, the concepts behind the words: 'improve', 'better' and 'progress' are powerfully values- driven. Organisations and individuals don’t have a problem with change, only with how we perceive progress. Our success in this area is critically dependent on the quality of our dialogue as discussed earlier. Unfortunately, it is not easy to be optimistic about current trends, when the media is so focused on sensationalism and confrontation.
Some examples of statements about Wisdom that not only reflect the points made above, but provide additional insights into the meaning and usefulness of the word, would include:
"Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; Wisdom lies in their simplification." (Martin H. Fisher)
“Wisdom Outweighs any wealth” (Sophocles)
“Wisdom is the intelligence of the system as a whole.” (Anon)
“ Wise people through all laws were abolished would lead the same life.” (Aristophanes)
And some of the general Wisdom messages that we might like to pass onto future generations might include:
"By doubting, we come to examine, and by examining, so we perceive the truth." (Peter Abelard)