Description: Do you know anyone that you would say is wise? If not think about a real person or a character in a book or film that you know about that you would say is wise. What is it about them that leads you to say they are wise? What is wisdom and what does it involve? Is it different from smart? From stable? How is wisdom related to age? If it IS related to age, how is it related to age? Indigenous people revere “Elders” and yet, while Elders are typically elderly not all indigenous elderly are viewed as Elders. So, here is the challenge. Think about the concept of wisdom as you understand it, or at least as you use it when thinking of or referring to others even if you do not have a concise definition. Mentally, or on paper, sketch out the conceptual cloud of attributes that seem to you to define wisdom. After you have done that, think about how you might test or validate your “wisdom model.” How would you identify and sort out the conceptual components of your concept of wisdom? Once you have your model and methodology in mind read the article linked below to see what some researchers in the area of wisdom have to say.
Source: Is Spirituality a Component of Wisdom? Neuroscience News.
Date: October 22, 2020
So, was spirituality a part of your wisdom model? The concepts that they mention at the outset of the article; prosocial behaviors, emotional regulation, self-reflection, acceptance of divergent perspectives, and social decisiveness make sense and I bet you had versions of most of them in your model. But, spirituality? Well, think about what spiritualty, not necessarily formal religion, involves. How about saying spirituality involves being thoughtfully connected to those around you, to family, friends, community and fellow human beings. Does that definition bring it closer to the territory you have marked out in your wisdom theory? So now that you have the start of an articulated theory of wisdom the next step is to draw it out developmentally. Where does wisdom come from and how would you advise people who are of the view that getting wiser might be good for them and those around them. Goodness know we could use MORE wisdom around and among us these days so keep working on your theory!
Questions for Discussion:
- What is wisdom?
- How is wisdom different from intelligence?
- How might we nurture wisdom? Is it an individual process or acquisition or does it involve more of a group or community focus?
References (Read Further):
Jeste, D. V., Thomas, M. L., Liu, J., Daly, R. E., Tu, X. M., Treichler, E. B., … & Lee, E. E. (2020). Is Spirituality a Component of Wisdom? Study of 1,786 Adults Using Expanded San Diego Wisdom Scale (Jeste-Thomas Wisdom Index). Journal of Psychiatric Research. Link
Grossmann, I. (2017). Wisdom in context. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(2), 233-257. Link
Grossmann, I., & Kung, F. (2020). Wisdom across cultures. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology. Link
Grossmann, I. (2017). Wisdom and how to cultivate it. European Psychologist. Link
Thomas, M. L., Bangen, K. J., Palmer, B. W., Martin, A. S., Avanzino, J. A., Depp, C. A., … & Jeste, D. V. (2019). A new scale for assessing wisdom based on common domains and a neurobiological model: The San Diego Wisdom Scale (SD-WISE). Journal of psychiatric research, 108, 40-47. Link
Zacher, H., & Staudinger, U. M. (2018). Wisdom and well-being. Handbook of Well-Being. Salt Lake City, UT: DEF Publishers. Link
Koster, J., Bruno, O., & Burns, J. L. (2016). Wisdom of the elders? Ethnobiological knowledge across the lifespan. Current Anthropology, 57(1), 113-121. Link
Borunda, R., & Murray, A. (2019). The wisdom of and science behind indigenous cultural practices. Genealogy, 3(1), 6. Link