To some of you reading this it might seem obvious why we need more wisdom in the world but I want to explore this because no matter how important we might intuitively understand wisdom to be, it is a faculty that is being undermined. We have a huge societal bias towards the generation and passing on of knowledge which to some degree must go hand-in-hand with a broader bias towards the tangible and away from the intangible, towards the sciences and away from the arts and humanities. While many, probably most of us, love at least some of the elements of the arts, the reality is that we are not investing well in the cultivation of the creative side of human nature or the methods by which wisdom is generated. There has been a steady drive over the last 30 years (at least, arguably this has been going on for MUCH longer) towards an elevation of the rational mind, knowledge, and a science-driven, reductionist view of the world to divine status. Those things might seem strange to talk about in terms of divinity but as we have invested more heavily through finance, attention, and belief, in the sciences; spiritual and religious perspectives have been progressively dismissed and creative endeavour increasingly devalued. What is the relevance, you might ask, of all this to wisdom? Knowledge is tangible, wisdom is intangible. I will explore and explain this in one of the Key Concepts articles but when we seek to cultivate wisdom the primary sources that may help us to do this more skilfully come from the spiritual, philosophical, and creative traditions. It is no mistake that such traditions are sometimes lumped together and labelled “the wisdom traditions.”
Why does wisdom matter? Because it is the partner and balance to knowledge in enabling us to create a better world and its cultivation has been neglected for too long. As the carving over the entrance to The Rockerfeller Centre says: "Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times" and we could sure use some more stability in these troubled times.