Watch this animation (4.30 min): Wisdom in the Age of Information.
It’s a fascinating essay about how we can cultivate true wisdom in the age of information.
I got this via Brainpickings (which is one of my favorite websites) and I love the link with storytelling that is made in this essay.
I share the believe that storytelling matter in helping us make sense of an increasingly complex world.
Watch the video and/or take a look at the end of this post for the interesting thoughts behind – by Maria Popova.
Here’s what Maria Popova says about this subject.
“We live in a world awash with information, but we seem to face a growing scarcity of wisdom. And what’s worse, we confuse the two. We believe that having access to more information produces more knowledge, which results in more wisdom. But, if anything, the opposite is true — more and more information without the proper context and interpretation only muddles our understanding of the world rather than enriching it.”
“Knowledge,” Emerson wrote, “is the knowing that we can not know.”
To grasp the importance of this, we first need to define these concepts as a ladder of understanding.
At its base is a piece of information, which simply tells us some basic fact about the world. Above that is knowledge — the understanding of how different bits of information fit together to reveal some truth about the world. Knowledge hinges on an act of correlation and interpretation. At the top is wisdom, which has a moral component — it is the application of information worth remembering and knowledge that matters to understanding not only how the world works, but also how it should work. And that requires a moral framework of what should and shouldn’t matter, as well as an ideal of the world at its highest potentiality.
This is why the storyteller is all the more urgently valuable today.
A great storyteller — whether a journalist or editor or filmmaker or curator — helps people figure out not only what matters in the world, but also why it matters. A great storyteller dances up the ladder of understanding, from information to knowledge to wisdom. Through symbol, metaphor, and association, the storyteller helps us interpret information, integrate it with our existing knowledge, and transmute that into wisdom.
Susan Sontag once said that “reading sets standards.” Storytelling not only sets standards but, at its best, makes us want to live up to them, to transcend them. A great story, then, is not about providing information, though it can certainly inform — a great story invites an expansion of understanding, a self-transcendence. More than that, it plants the seed for it and makes it impossible to do anything but grow a new understanding — of the world, of our place in it, of ourselves, of some subtle or monumental aspect of existence. At a time when information is increasingly cheap and wisdom increasingly expensive, this gap is where the modern storyteller’s value lives.
I think of it this way: Information is having a library of books on shipbuilding. Knowledge applies that to building a ship. Access to the information — to the books — is a prerequisite for the knowledge, but not a guarantee of it.
Once you’ve built your ship, wisdom is what allows you to sail it without sinking, to protect it from the storm that creeps up from the horizon in the dead of the night, to point it just so that the wind breathes life into its sails.
Moral wisdom helps you tell the difference between the right direction and the wrong direction in steering the ship.
A great storyteller is the kindly captain who sails her ship with tremendous wisdom and boundless courage; who points its nose in the direction of horizons and worlds chosen with unflinching idealism and integrity; who brings us somewhat closer to the answer, to our particular answer, to that grand question: Why are we here?”
I love it.
Source: Maria Popova on Brainpickings
Hi Amrish, in addition to Linkedin;-), I think posting this comment on the website of Maria may be valuable for you. She made this. http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/09/wisdom-in-the-age-of-information/
Great video and article – I am behind on my list of brainpicking articles so will have missed this one! Good reminder to get to it….
I have a question about the information ladder thingy. In finance we use the info value chain (data -> info -> analysis -> insight -> decision -> action -> learning).
I was wondering what this article would say about the difference between wisdom (as used here – which seems to be anchored to a moral compass) and experience and insight?
What do you think?
For me, having built a boat (so applied knowledge from I know what to do to I have done it successfully), sailing it “successfully” is more about experience and that is not necessarily wisdom.
The question of wisdom is rarely applied to problems that are either simple (like baking a cake) or complicated (like design a rocket) but, I suspect, to COMPLEX problems (like raising children – hopefully well!, or resolving a paradigm shift in education :-))
I think a storyteller gets us to insight, I am not sure about wisdom. To get wisdom you need experience and stories will point the way but is not a sufficient condition. By reading the Fables of Aesop you do not “become” any wiser – you become more knowledgeable, hopefully more curious and have some more insight.
Finally, I wonder whether wisdom even comes into the equation when you are truly in a new situation (which will be very, very rare). So for example, what could possibly pass off as wisdom that can be used the first time human beings confront an alien race from another planet? The answer is likely….nothing. It’s gonna be a true test of trying and testing and experimenting, out of which new knowledge, insight and ultimately wisdom will be generated.
Fascinating topics, absolutely!