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Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the issues at the core of Ethical Decision-Making and ... - page 9 / 13





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economics dimensions of added value, with the ethical (ie., ‘right’) dimension of ‘values’.

Of course, this is a dynamic process and there is continual feedback from the experience of our actions into whether we need more information. But what and how much further information is required is also a values influenced decision. How values are assessed and applied, both as the ends and means, are critically important dimensions in all our decision-making.

Our values/Wisdom define the limits of what are considered acceptable choices in the first place and those decisions determine our knowledge/action priorities. These priorities then determine what information is required, in order to try to ensure that the decision is as well informed as possible. In turn that information need determines what further questions have to be asked about what additional data is required. It also needs to be recognised that the way the word (/concept) Wisdom, has been used in the past has not always helped this process.

We need to start with Wisdom (/our values) as our base, which provide the framework within which to manage knowledge, and so on through the pyramid to information and data. Consequently, without a sound base at one level, it is difficult to manage effectively the next layer up (or down). Knowledge as information in use, and Wisdom as the integration of knowledge and values to produce wise action. This is confirmed by the comments below:

“Wisdom is the power that enables us to use our knowledge for the benefit of ourselves and others.” (Thomas J. Watson)

“Knowledge is not wisdom, unless used wisely.” (J.D. Anderson)

"Knowledge without wisdom is a load of books on the back of an ass." (Japanese Proverb)

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” (Anton Chekhov (1860-1904))

Many of the important messages about the state and future of the Human Race were made over a thousand years ago, in China, the Middle East and other early sophisticated societies. In fact, Wisdom insights are very similar irrespective of which part of the world identified as their source, because they consist of statements about relationships between people, either individually or collectively in societal context, or about our relationship with the universe as a whole, that they have ‘stood the test of time’.

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