Wisdom and the Value of Diverse Perspectives


  Wisdom and the Value of Diverse Perspectives

Many people in Western society are of the misconception that wisdom is attained by walking a "straight line" or through a linear path. However, such linearity is not always the best, nor most accurate way to attain wisdom.

In order to fully understand the meaning and value of wisdom, one must examine it from various different perspectives. Meaningful dialogues with all sorts of people can help us understand how our own assumptions and preconceptions can either hinder or evolve ourselves and others. Knowledge obtained through well-intentioned perspectives will lead to an increase in experience and ability when it comes to navigating life's many roads - both literal and metaphorical - in addition to having an increased capacity for understanding those who walk them with us.

For example, a young lady may leave her parents' home to pursue an education and career. She will meet and make friends with others on the same journey as her, many of whom are success oriented, and have set specific goals in mind. If she chooses to spend a lot of time with such people, she might begin to think that perhaps the only way to survive in one's work place is by adapting their behaviors and attitudes. If she does not challenge this belief system, it may prove detrimental to her future growth and development if she finds herself unable to adapt when such conditions are no longer present.

In contrast, the young lady may choose to spend time with people who do not have such "success oriented" attitudes. She might meet a musician, a philosopher, an artist, or simply someone who is trying to figure out how to survive in the world. Each of these individuals will help her understand perspectives that are quite different than those she has known before. They may influence her to see the world differently than she had before and more importantly they may help her gain access to knowledge that can be used as a guideline for further refining her own thoughts on how she wants to lead her life.

From The Many Faces of Wisdom: Theories and Applications  by Holger Schmidl Source http://www.academia.edu/1683694/From_The_Many_Faces_of_Wisdom_Theories_and
Applied to all facets of politics, many times, the opposition is dismissed as "negative." This is a very unfortunate conclusion on part of the opposition; negativity and cynicism are actually two sides of the same coin. Negativity contributes to the lack of positive solutions being explored within any political discourse. Cynicism contributes to misunderstanding between all parties involved in a dialogue on topics such as climate change or health care reform. The solution is not only to be more positive and engaged but also to have a better understanding of what exactly it is that one does not understand about any particular topic or issue.
By bringing in the perspective of physics, we are able to see that the "negative" energy created when two or more particles collide or interact is the same as the energy created when any other particle had just been separated from its original environment. Energy is negative for a reason: it can be used to create an action instead of an absence. Only understanding this point will aid one in understanding why matters involving relationships and communication between parties at a political level are so important.

Psychology of Wisdom And Value Of Diverse Perspectives
There is a long tradition in psychology concerning what psychologists refer to as "wisdom. This long tradition is in contrast to the relative lack of attention paid to wisdom by philosophers. In fact, it could be said that psychologists have given up on wisdom as a word that can adequately describe their findings regarding what they call "wise reasoning" or the ability to see things from different perspectives and make better decisions.

Wisdom can be seen as having a multitude of definitions. For example, some might see wisdom as using one's skills and experience to do the right thing while others might use the same word to refer to having enough knowledge and skill in order to do something well. Yet other individuals might view wisdom as making decisions based on emotions and feelings rather than facts or logic (Keren-Portnoy & Schwartz, 2014).

Each person will have a different way of coming to grips with wisdom. In this vein, the best way to gain wisdom is to listen to what others have found useful in order to gain a better understanding of one's choices and actions.

The following are some guidelines for increasing our own awareness of the concept of wisdom:
Seek out different perspectives when dealing with others. For instance, when trying to solve intellectual problems or through personal discussion, do not assume that your own preconceptions about what you are seeing can be right. Try listening as much as talking in order to avoid impeding yourself with a fixed view of reality and trying so hard that your opinions become invalidated by those of others who may see things differently.

A study by John Strayer (1957) examined the relationship between wisdom and intelligence. It determined that people of high intelligence usually achieved more personal satisfaction and happiness than those of lower intelligence. Those of higher intelligence were also much more successful as well. In addition, individuals with higher intelligence were able to reach greater heights in both their academic and professional activities, whereas those with lower intelligence apparently failed to achieve anything of significance. The study also found that highly intelligent people had a tremendous amount of wisdom, but also tended to be socially inappropriate and make poor decisions (John Strayer, 1957).

The results of this study, as many others, raise the question of whether or not intelligence is a requirement for wisdom. Yet as stated above, the two concepts overlap considerably. What could this mean? Are we dealing with two completely different things? Or are we merely looking at two sides of the same coin?

Clues and Reminders From Society: Individuals Who Have Influenced Others And Have Been Influenced By Others
When examining society, it is easy to get caught up in what others think of us. In fact, many individuals spend a great deal of time creating a certain image for themselves that they present to others and through which they hope to be respected or to gain approval from their peers. Yet as we become more aware of the need for new perspectives, we will also see a new side to our idols, people who we see as being more wise than us.

These individuals are highly influential. Some of them have gained the respect and admiration of millions. Yet they also often speak across generational lines. These people have not only made their mark on society but at one point in their lives, they were also influenced by others. The following are some examples:

Nelson Mandela is seen by many as an individual who was involved in politics and civil rights issues in South Africa for his entire adult life. His work began as a result of laws in South Africa that prevented different races from mingling together. This was seen as unjust by many in South Africa, one of whom was Nelson Mandela. Although he had been a political activist and jailed because of his views concerning racial segregation, it was when he tied up with other groups to come up with strategies for change that Nelson Mandela's efforts became more successful. As a result, Nelson Mandela helped to start the African National Congress Party in South Africa, which would continue to fight for fair rights and opportunities until finally gaining his freedom through the democratic process (Nelson Mandela, 1994).

Conclusion: We Are All Influenced By Those Around Us In One Way Or Another
We are all influenced by those around us. Whether or not we are aware of the fact that we have been influenced by others is another question altogether. For some, this influence is more obvious than for others. Yet it is a concept that can be brought up to examine our own behavior and actions in order to make sense of our own lives.

Although ignorance certainly plays a role in many events, a great deal of the situation we come into contact with each day has been influenced by those around us. Just as the individuals who were mentioned above changed society and influenced other individuals, there are certain people who have also changed our lives directly through their actions and deeds.

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