The need for wisdom increases; will we take up the gauntlet?

Wisdom is a complex concept. Wisdom contains multiple components and facets. It brings together many of the best things in people at the same time. The complexity of wisdom makes it difficult to describe and study. Different thinkers and scientists have looked at this complex concept from different angles. With the advent of the still young science of wisdom, there is gradually more clarity about what wisdom consists of, how it can be measured, how it relates to other concepts, what its importance is and how it can be developed.

The essence of wisdom

Wisdom is the combination of metacognitive skills with morality. The metacognitive skills are like a box of good tools, the morality ensures that they are used in the right way and for good purposes. Those good purposes can be found in our everyday lives. In all sorts of social situations, we deal with the type of ill-structured problems for which wisdom is indispensable. Those charities also lie in the organizations and societies in which we live and in global society.

Big problems that require wisdom

We need the combination of metacognitive skills and morality to solve some of the big problems we face. We need the metacognitive skills to enter into and maintain a dialogue with each other, to arrive at a clear picture of the situation through different perspectives, and to gain support for an approach. We need morality to choose solutions that serve the public interest in the broadest sense.
Naturally, we will continue to need knowledge and intelligence as much as ever before. The choice for sustainable energy, for example, is a wise choice, but realizing that choice through the development of the necessary technologies requires a great deal of knowledge and intelligence.

More important than ever before

Perhaps wisdom will be more important in the decades to come than ever before. We have seen in recent years that the development of the Internet and mobile telephony have had a profound impact on our lives. A good part of our work life and social life now takes place through these kinds of technologies. But several groundbreaking technologies have been developed in recent years that are likely to bring even greater changes to our world. Examples of these types of technologies are:
  • artificial intelligence;
  • robotics;
  • sustainable energy generation and energy storage;
  • genetic technology;
  • blockchain technology (and cryptocurrency).
Whether these developments will improve the quality of our lives may depend to a large extent on the extent to which we deal with them wisely. That developing wisdom is not easy should not discourage us. We can search for it every day and we don't have to reach perfection in it.

Will we choose wisdom?

In concrete situations we can always try to choose wisdom and try to grow in it step by step. That growth will always be valuable. Even as we continue to make progress as humans, there will always be new big, complex and confusing problems coming our way. The need for wisdom will therefore never diminish and may only increase. Do we pick up that gauntlet? Will we, as individuals and societies, continue to develop wisdom?