There is now a need for wisdom in solving world problems like no other time in our history. Can-Do Wisdom is an easy to understand, holistic framework for changing yourself and for changing the world.
Transcript of Video
What is Can-Do Wisdom?
Can-Do Wisdom is an easy to understand, holistic framework for changing yourself and for changing the world.
Now changing the world may sound like an over-ambitious goal. But I’m here to show you exactly how it can and does happen.
Most people associate wisdom with old age or with a person having exceptional gifts – someone like King Solomon, Gandhi, or Nelson Mandela.
But what about Malala, the teenage winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace prize who started on her mission for the education of girls when she was eleven.
You don’t need to be old to be wise.
Origins of Wisdom
Wisdom is also seen as perhaps an invention of ancient Greece as the Greeks were the ones who studied and wrote so much about wisdom.
But, in fact, the origins of wisdom go back to the multi-cellular organisms that evolved around a billion years ago. Much later some insect species divided tasks and cooperated for the common good. Ants, termites and bees are examples of these social insects.
We see the same with herding animals, such as a herd of elephants. Also, if you’ve seen a meerkat acting as a lookout for the rest of the mob, then you’ve seen a form of wisdom in action.
Homo Sapiens: the Wise One
In our case, at the biological level, there are trillions of cells in the human body, specializing and cooperating with each other for our common good.
As the most advanced social animal on this planet, the Homo Sapiens species is described as the ‘wise one’.
Unfortunately, today, there is often a lack of individual and collective wisdom in solving our interconnected world problems. There are many examples of actions leading to unfair treatment of individuals or groups and detrimental long-term effects to the environment – and ignorance of what the “common good” means.
Indigenous societies have been successfully practising wisdom for thousands of years and yet we in the west would call these societies backward.
The Enlightenment and Rational Thinking
How is it that wisdom is largely ignored in the west? We need to go back three hundred years or so to the age of The Enlightenment.
The Enlightenment was a revolution in thinking. It was based on objective reality – on observation and measurement and the application of logic or rational thinking. This movement had on enormous impact on western society – involving democracy, education, health, economics, transportation and communications.
The same process can be applied to technology. Take the smoke alarm used in homes today. Its purpose is clear – to sound an alarm if smoke is detected. It is located such that room air is collected, analysed, and when smoke is detected the device is wired to activate the alarm, thus achieving the desired result.
The problem with the rational, mechanistic approach is that humans are not always rational and are certainly not machines. And yet, the scientific advances over the last few hundred years using the rational approach have been truly remarkable.
The impact can be good or bad, however. What it comes down to is, for the first time, human beings have the capacity to improve life for everyone or to destroy life for all.
There is now a need for wisdom like no other time in our history.
To rediscover wisdom we don’t need to abandon the rational thinking approach. We do need to be aware of the potential roadblocks in the rational domain but we can then simply use it in each of the windows of the wisdom domain. This is the key point and will be expanded on later in another video.
Where to next?
This video is just an introduction to the subject of practical wisdom. There will be videos to come and more information on the Can-Do Wisdom website. I also welcome your involvement in discussing this subject and welcome your feedback.
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1. For more on roadblocks in the rational domain, see Transforming the Rational Decision Making Process – Part 2