What really is Wisdom and why do we seek it?
“We seek wisdom to provide a perspective we lack – an insight into happiness, peace, and the harmonious integration of ourselves in the world.
The wisdom that we find in older adults – the most experienced members of our population – follows from these four specific things:
- Pattern recognition, and
- The use of analogies
Wisdom comes from the accumulated set of experiences, and our ability to predict future outcomes based on them. Making associations underpins learning. To assimilate new information we need to associate it with what we’ve seen before. Life experience gives us more associations to make, more patterns to recognize.
The wisdom we attribute to older adults may well be neurobiologically based, born out of the changes to the brain that allow the two hemispheres to communicate more freely, to combine the logical with the intuitive, the quantitative with the qualitative, the fact-based thinking with the artistic.
Greater wisdom is also marked by freer connections between the frontal lobes and the much older limbic system, and by age-related changes in neurochemistry.”
– Daniel Levitin in his amazing book “The Changing Mind: A Neuroscientist’s Guide to Ageing Well”