Wisdom in a box

Sport, music, dance. These are-all process driven activities; quote every existing statistic, recognize every sonata, memorize every salsa sequence…but until you kick, shoot, grapple, dive, strum, beat, play, jive, step- you aren’t a sportsman, a musician, or a dancer. It’s helpful to think of wisdom along the same lines; raw intelligence and scholarship are only two of the steps towards Solomon.


*Big ups to Dr. John Vervaeke, University of Toronto, CogSci, for this framework

Wisdom is largely process-driven, composed of the  5 INs:

  1. Intelligence: Processing power, speed & efficiency. Note that this intelligence is the only mechanical and capacity-driven component of wisdom.
  2. Insight: The ability to effectively formulate ill-defined problems (e.g. how can I be successful at work?), which compose of the majority of life’s problems.
  3. Integration: The ability to size up, prioritize and create background/foreground relationships, focus scattered bits and pieces into an intricate whole.
  4. Intuition: Procedural expertise that results from implicit learning, very stimulus-bound…the ability to ‘get’ the complex interaction between variables
  5. Induction: Involves discovering/understanding what is important/valuable to you…a sort of self-reflective insight

These 5 INs are guided and monitored by the 3 METAs:

  1. Metacognition: Awareness of our cognitive processes
  2. Metasystemic reasoning: Now craftily copyrighted as “Integrative Thinking” by the Rotman School, this involves using the ‘opposable mind’- the ability to synergize seemingly contradictory beliefs and make them work
  3. Metamotivation: Motivation by higher needs, such as truth, spirituality, etc.

Becoming ‘wise’ involves all the above aspects, plus practising mindfulness to gain new perceptions, souped-up neural circuitry, and altered consciousness.



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