Shared wisdom is all we need

Article by Justin Russell: “In the modern age, the research of Judith Glück shows that ‘wiser’ people learn valuable lessons from life’s challenges and then live happier and more fulfilling lives. On the whole, they are more connected with nature, add more to others’ lives and are less easily swayed by unreasoned rhetoric. Read Judith Glück’s Wisdom Profile on for detail on how she defines wisdom.

I have been following the research on wisdom for over a decade now, initially as part of my dissertation, In pursuit of organisational wisdom, which aimed, as part of my MSc in business psychology, to understand the relationship between wisdom and organisation leadership. Subsequently, I’ve become interested in the role that ancient wisdom has in the modern world more as a means to continually grow personally and support coaching clients.

Wisdom has only really entered into the psychological realm (as opposed to the philosophical realm) in the last few decades. Fortunately, it can draw on many previous years of research into vertical development, and generally of our understanding of other corollary ideas such as good decision-making.

While we have an incomplete picture of how wisdom develops, vertical development theories (such as those of Jane LoevingerErik Erikson and Robert Kegan) help us appreciate that throughout life we continue to grow and evolve, gaining new capabilities as we do. Using those capabilities is something else though, and the most developed (wisest) among us aren’t widely distributed throughout society. Through understanding wise decision-making, in Igor Grossman’s work, we know that emotional management (as measured through heart rate) is important in being able to take in all the required information and deal with it in a dispassionate (but not unfeeling) way.

As a thought experiment, I ask myself: “How would I go about making a wiser society?” The solution is highly dependent on which branch of wisdom research you attend to and so I see a threefold solution to this otherwise nebulous challenge….(More)”