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If we think of intelligence as how bright we are in dealing with any little piece of life, we can usefully think of wisdom as big-picture intelligence. Wisdom has many definitions and dimensions, but the definition we've chosen for our co-intelligence work is:

Wisdom is the capacity to both appreciate the wholeness of life with an expanded, deepened perspective -- and to act on that appreciation to serve the long-term common good and to learn life-serving lessons.

So wisdom involves seeing beyond immediate appearances into deeper, broader understandings of:

  • the big picture,
  • the long term,
  • the common good,
  • fuller meanings, deeper causes, greater complexity, subtlety and ambiguity,
  • the health and responsiveness -- the aliveness -- of living systems, both human and natural,
  • the healthy mutuality (synergy) of relationships,
  • the fact that "there's always more to it,"
  • and the unity of spirit -- and commonality of story -- that underlies the details of life.

Where there is wisdom, we usually find balance, appreciation of mystery, and tolerance of ambiguity and change. The expanded perspective of wisdom usually fosters wonder, humility, compassion and humor.

We find a level of wisdom wherever people, knowledge, statements, actions and solutions arise from Bigger Picture understandings about Life to embrace more life than mere cleverness. Through wisdom, we can become vehicles or channels for life's urge towards health, mutual benefit and positive evolution.

For more about wisdom, see the articles below or the page of article excerpts and summaries which will give you a good overview of the scope and results of our inquiry into wisdom.

Some Ways We Can Be Wise

Some Characteristics of Wisdom

Sources of Wisdom

Wisdom and Wholeness

Generating Wisdom through Democratic Process

Empowered Dialogue Can Bring Wisdom to Democracy

What can be wise - or foolish?

Using Synergy, Diversity and Wholeness to Create a Wisdom Culture

January 2002 "Wisdom Society" Survey Results

The January 2002 "Wisdom Survey" Conclusions

See also:

Creative Uncertainty

Resonant Intelligence and the Core Commons

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