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A heavy, blunt instrument used by the wise to give the unwise a couple of swift whacks upside the head in the hope that it might knock some sense into them.

See also: LART, [Linji]



Edward de Bono, in one of his books on thinking, suggests setting up [Thinking Clubs].  He defines thinking as the skill through which intelligence acts upon experience, and likens it to the driving skill through which a driver makes best use of the horsepower (IQ) of a car.  He says there are golf clubs where one can practice golf, and that since thinking is also a skill that can be improved by practice, there ought to be thinking clubs where one can do so.  He then goes on to give practical details of how such a club could be arranged, and some example initial meetings.

OP DouglasReay writes: It occurs to me that it might be possible to set up such a club to exercise a different set of skills; not those leading to profound thought, but rather those leading to profound wisdom.  In other words, a WisdomClub.

What is wisdom, and is attaining it a skill that can be improved with practice?

There's already a toothywiki page discussing "what is Wisdom".

DR votes: "Yes, such skills are improvable with practice"
I think they definitely are improvable with practice, and would be interested in occasional (monthly?) gatherings of friends for the discussion of such things. --AlexChurchill
I'm not sure, but it would certainly be fun to try. -- Xarak
Ok, well how about this... I've listed various articles I think it would be interesting to discuss.  Let's have people who are interested put votes by the ones they'd also find interesting (and add sources of their own suggesting).  If we can find something at least three people are interested in discussing, then we selected a date.  We might, optionally, have some food and/or drink, do a 10 minute silent meditation for applied thought, have Alex or someone bring along a personality quiz type thing he things relevant to that month's subject, and maybe have someone give a brief (5 min?) presentation on a wisdom related skill they picked up / course to acquire such a skill they've been on in the past (eg assertiveness training), and how it went or what they learned.  Or really, anything those who turn up think would be both fun and useful for acquiring wisdom - we're making this us as we go along, after all. :-)  --DouglasReay


Let's look at potential tools, and then see how they might be fitted into such a structure.

Reading wise things


There are many thought provoking things out there.  Concepts and mental tools that alter your way of looking at life.  As a group choosing, reading, then discussing one book or essay a month would be a systematic way of improving ones stock of eye openers.
I've just come across an interesting [free online psychology text book].  The parts I've skimmed look pretty interesting.  Would anyone else be interested in reading one chapter a week, and discussing that chapter on a wiki page? --DR

Another find - [The psychology of ethics].  Now that would be a facinating course to audit and discuss as a group. --DR

[Cultural Anthropology] - a complete online course --DR

[TED Talk by Jonathan Haidt] - developmental basis of morality  --DR

[IQ versus Common Sense] - from a blog by [an evolutionary psychologist]

LessWrong - sermons on the nature and practice of rationality

Learning new skills


Meditation.  Thinking skills.  Various planning and organisational techniques (as taught on management and strategy courses).  Assertiveness training.  Perception and creativity.  Communication skills (eg active listening).

Acquiring Self Knowlege


Psychological inventories.  Life story books.  Karmic audit.  Various investigative techniques from various schools of therapy and psychiatry.
[CBT], advice on how to think rationally --DR

Applied Thought


It is all very well having high IQ.  But how often do you take time to systematically and deeply think about where you are going, who you are, what you want to do in life, and whether what you do now is the best way of going about achieving what you want?  Most people spend more time planning their next holiday or car purchase than they do on ths really big questions.  Those tend to be reserved for after a night's drinking, or after deep and traumatic life changing events.  Neither of which are conducive to calm and rational self examination.


In my experience, wisdom is gained most rapidly when bad things happen to you. Anyone concur? --Admiral
General bad things like a parent dying or going blind?  Or bad things that are partial consequences of your own decisions such as problems with jobs, relationships or finances?  Especially if they are consequences which, in hindsight, you realise could have been forseen? I'm not sure it isn't experience that is gained by things happening to you, rather than wisdom.  Certainly some people seem to be able to accumulate lots of terrible things happening to them and come out of it none the wiser.--DR
I reckon it is all kinds of bad things, although some more than others. As for said "some people", I think my wording is accurate. Let us say that the bad things provide the opportunity for wisdom to be gained more rapidly. --Admiral



Links to how other people advise gaining wisdom:
 * [Copthorne Macdonald]
* [Tom Fox]
* [Elle Allison]
* [Listening Circles] and [Wisdom Circles]



CategorySerious
SeeAlso MentalHygiene
Now also CategoryNotWhatItWasSupposedToBeAbout

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