Friday, November 21, 2008

Toward an age of wisdom

When we started the Wisdom of the Hands Program at Clear Spring School, it was based on my own reflections on the idea of wisdom in a time when knowledge and intelligence are the dominant concepts and measures of meaning. We are after all, in what has been explained as the "information age." What I would prefer is that we move as rapidly as possible into an age of wisdom.

One of the most common notions of wisdom is that it "comes with age." And yet, as we have discussed the last couple days, you can spend a lot of time doing the same dumb things over and over and not necessarily get wiser in the process.

So what follows are my attempts to clarify the concept of wisdom as distinct from knowledge.

Levels of Knowledge
Knows about.
Knows how.
Can explain it.
Can do it.
Can do it well.
Can do it well and explain it, and cognizant of its broadest implications, share it with others as expressed wisdom.
Knowledge comes from a variety of sources: conversation, books, radio, instruction, television, personal observation.
Knowledge may be acquired either directly or from a third party.
Wisdom emerges from reflection on personal and collective experience.
Wisdom involves understanding the relationships between seemingly disparate events, concepts and things and is expressed as action toward improvement of the lives of others.

You can spend a lot of time doing dumb things. Or you can live your life as a conscious learner, engaged directly in ALL things human, including the exploration of physical reality through the creative engagement of your own hands. You can choose. May the age of wisdom begin.

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