Does wisdom come with age?

Wisdom is high on the list of personal qualities we prize.

Yet even though most of us recognise that being wise is entirely different from other markers of success — such as being rich or famous or even a genius — wisdom is a difficult quality to define.

Do we truly understand what it takes to be wise?

Ursula M. Staudinger has spent decades thinking about wisdom.

As a student in Germany, she became interested in looking at people’s life experiences in an empirical way.

Her studies led her to the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, where in the 1980s she joined several other prominent psychologists on the Berlin Wisdom Project, helping to pioneer the field of wisdom studies.

Today, she is director of the Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center at Columbia University.

Wisdom, as she recently told The New York Times, consists of “self-insight; the ability to demonstrate personal growth; self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history; understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute; and an awareness of life’s ambiguities.”

Sound like a lot? If there’s one thing Staudinger has learned while studying wisdom, it’s that not a lot of people have it.

But her work has yielded many insights into how we can set ourselves on the path to wisdom, if we really want to. Continue reading.

Source: Huffington Post

Image: Mansfield College

Additional reading

News category: Features.

Tags: , , , ,