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Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the issues at the core of Ethical Decision-Making and ... - page 6 / 13





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onto the next generation ie., Wisdom. (This lead to a project for the World Future Society, ‘Messages for the New Millennium’ - (http://wfs.org)).

Wisdom is something everybody seems to talk about. We all appear to want more of it, yet few people appear to reflect on what Wisdom really is, especially in management/leadership literature. And there is little consideration of how can we learn Wisdom more effectively? An over-riding objective of these brief comments is simply that it would be very useful for us to try to rehabilitate the word / concept of Wisdom.

Wisdom Definition

But what do we really mean by Wisdom?

According to the Wikipedia (5/8/05) entry for Wisdom:

“Wisdom is often meant as the ability and desire to make choices that can gain approval in a long-term examination by many people. In this sense, to label a choice „wise‟ implies that the action or inaction was strategically correct when judged by widely-held values ….

  • Insights and acts that many people agree are wise tend to:

    • arise from a viewpoint compatible with many ethical systems,

    • serve life, public goods or other impersonal values, not narrow self-interest

    • be grounded in but not limited by past experience or history and yet

anticipate future likely consequences

  • be informed by multiple forms of intelligence reason, intuition, heart,

spirit, etc.”

More briefly Wisdom can be considered as: „Making the best use of knowledge … by exercising good judgement‟ …. the capacity to realise what is of value in life for oneself and others‟ …. Or as „the end point of a process that encompasses the idea of making sound judgements in the face of uncertainty.‟

Of course, Wisdom is one thing, being wiseis quite another. Being wise is certainly more than the ability to recycle Wisdom. In essence, being wiseinvolves the ability to apply wisdom effectively in practice.

Wisdom Statements

Wisdom statements are those that appear to be useful in helping us all make the world a better place in the future. They are not absolute statements; they are simply

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