Education and the Secret of Wisdom in an Economically-driven System that prepares Students Solely for the Workplace 

Wisdom is the Precious Good

We are drowned in information but starved of wisdom

Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK / MIKE VER SPRILL

‘Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.’- 3: 13 -15

Nota bene

‘Know well what leads you forward and what holds you back, and choose the path that leads to wisdom.’Buddha

‘Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organised life.’- Immanuel Kant

‘Knowledge without wisdom is like water in the sand.’- African Proverb

‘Wisdom is neither taught in schools nor, in general, is it even discussed ... Many people will not see the value of teaching something that shows no promise of raising conventional test scores. These scores, which formerly were predictors of more interesting criteria, have now become criteria, or ends, in themselves. Society has lost track of why they ever mattered in the first place and they have engendered the same kind of mindless competition we see in people who relentlessly compare their economic achievements with those of others....’- Robert J. Sternberg in ‘Teaching for Wisdom’

‘In schools a premium is placed upon absorbing as much information as possible rather than raising questions about and critically evaluating what is already known. How often does a teacher enter the classroom intending to challenge the students' beliefs, not merely so that false information might be replaced with presumably more valid information but so that the students might leave the class feeling less confident about their knowledge (and so more wise)? Instead, the emphasis is upon knowing rather than doubting, and so the easy course of movement is away from wisdom toward the extreme of believing that one knows all, or at least enough.’- John A. Meacham in ‘The Loss of Wisdom.’

…’that the love of wisdom and truth must be kept alive in universities, particularly in this moment of world history.’-Allan Bloom in ‘ The Closing of the American Mind.’

‘Wisdom lies in human action which possesses both intellectual and ethical orientation; and the promotion of such wisdom is the task of education.’- Douglas E. Lawson in ‘Wisdom and Education’

Education and the Secret of Wisdom in an Economically-driven System that prepares Students Solely for the Workplace

Photo:Joshua Woroniecki

We are drowned in information but starved of wisdom

‘Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’- T. S. Eliot

Teaching as my Vocation

I can recall all those years ago, before I retired from full-time university teaching, when at various times, especially before the start of the new academic terms, I used to ask myself some pertinent questions, questions such as: 

What is my hope and goal in creating this community and teaching these classes? What is the purpose and meaning of my teaching, assigning reading and making  students write essays, attending seminars, workshops and group discussions? I used to tell myself that there are lots of places that these young people can go for information and knowledge, but what about Wisdom? Is it my job to give them info, or is my vocation to be a torch and to shed light on their path to wisdom? Should I be more interested that via my teaching they find a job, or they find more about who they become , who they are and what is the purpose of their lives? 

Looking back, I do hope that, with all the constraints that I was facing in this so-called monetised modern education system, I did, at least, try hard and was able to show my students how to seek wisdom and how to become  a wise, generous, and truly loving person, enjoying all that life has on offer. 

Some say that my teaching is nonsense

“Some say that my teaching is nonsense.

Others call it lofty but impractical.

But to those who have looked inside themselves,

this nonsense makes perfect sense.

And to those who put it into practice,

this loftiness has roots that go deep.

I have just three things to teach:

simplicity, patience, compassion.

These three are your greatest treasures.

Simple in actions and in thoughts,

you return to the source of being.

Patient with both friends and enemies,

you accord with the way things are.

Compassionate toward yourself,

you reconcile all beings in the world.” -My wise and inspiring teacher: Lao Tzu

See also: Small is Beautiful: The Wisdom of E.F. Schumacher

What is this life all about? Who am I? Where have I come from? Where am I going? Why am I here? What’s my Life’s purpose? How can I make the most of my Life?... 

The Persian poet, sage and philosopher of love, Rumi, had this to say about wisdom: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” He also has reminded us that “What You Seek Is Seeking You” and “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do”. These beautiful sayings are, to my mind, Rumi’s way of saying that our lives have purpose and meaning, and moreover, we should not despair and walk on with hope and commitment, seeking wisdom. 

It is the wise who understand that true knowledge is self-knowledge; that the meaning of life lies in understanding one’s own mind.  

One of the main goals of the GCGI has always been to seek wisdom, both ancient philosophy and modern thought, and to share these gems of hope by making them  both accessible to all and relevant to the way we live today. 

To fulfill our mission, we have always done our utmost to bring the light of wisdom  to everyday life. Read on to find out more.

Continuing Our Journey, Seeking Wisdom: A Must- Read Book

Photo: amazon

How Universities Have Betrayed Reason and Humanity—And What's to Be Done About It’

By Nicholas Maxwell, Science and Technology Studies, University College London(UCL)

‘In 1984 the author published From Knowledge to Wisdom, a book that argues that a revolution in academia is urgently needed, so that problems of living, including global problems, are put at the heart of the enterprise, and the basic aim becomes to seek and promote wisdom, and not just acquire knowledge. Every discipline and aspect of academia needs to change, and the whole way in which academia is related to the rest of the social world. Universities devoted to the pursuit of knowledge and technological know-how betray reason and, as a result, betray humanity. As a result of becoming more intellectually rigorous, academic inquiry becomes of far greater benefit to humanity. If the revolution argued for all those years ago had been taken up and put into academic practice, we might now live in a much more hopeful world than the one that confronts us. Humanity might have begun to learn how to solve global problems; the Amazon rain forests might not face destruction; we might not be faced with mass extinction of species; Brexit might not have been voted for in the UK in 2016, and Trump might not have been elected President in the USA. An account is given of work published by the author during the years 1972–2021 that expounds and develops the argument. The conclusion is that we urgently need to create a high-profile campaign devoted to transforming universities in the way required so that humanity may learn how to make social progress toward a better, wiser, more civilized, enlightened world…’- Continue to read and learn more on how to move forward: From Knowledge to Wisdom

Wisdom is the torch that shines light on the plague of darkness

A pick from our GCGI archive: Connecting with the voices of Wisdom

‘Wisdom and the Well-Rounded Life…’

The ancient library of the House of Wisdom, Baghdad.-Photo: 1001 Inventions

Wisdom Corner

Composing a New Life: In Praise of Wisdom

Towards COP26: Education to Heal the World

The beauty of living simply: the forgotten wisdom of William Morris

Saving the Web of Life: The Time is now to Tune into Peace, Love and Wisdom with a Spiritual Revolution

GCGI-SES Forum: In Praise of All that Matters

A little Gem, So Simple, So Beautiful, and Yet So Profound and Meaningful

The Road to Bliss: My Joyous Journey in the Company of Poets

​Land As Our Teacher: Rhythms of Nature Ushering in a Better World

Rethinking What Really Matters in the Era of Pandemic

A timeless reflection on two types of teaching and learning

Education to Make us Human: What’s Kindness, Love, Compassion, or Beauty Got to Do With Teaching and Education?

What if Universities Taught KINDNESS?

Wisdom and the Well-Rounded Life: What Is a University?

Top