Navigation Links
What the world needs now? More wisdom
Date:4/6/2011

This release is available in French.

Montreal, April 6, 2011 Revolution in Libya. Revolution in Egypt. Revolution in Tunisia. The Middle East and North Africa face unprecedented change as dictatorships crumble and people clamor for democracy.

Yet it remains unclear whether these nations will experience more equity under new regimes. The reshaping of societies raises fundamental questions that require monumental thought. "What the world needs now, especially in these times, is more wisdom," observes Dolores Pushkar, a professor in Concordia's Department of Psychology and member of the Centre for Research in Human Development.

While all nations need wise leaders, the Middle East and North Africa require sensible leaders with fresh outlooks who are in antithesis to self-serving dictators of the past. "Since wisdom is defined as something that benefits society as a whole as well as the self," continues Pushkar.

Human wellbeing and life satisfaction

Current events are on Pushkar's mind, since the bulk of her research has focused on human wellbeing and life satisfaction. And she's found wisdom plays a central role in both. "Wisdom and intelligence aren't the same thing," she points out, estimating that only 5 percent of the population can be described as truly wise and that advanced insight begins after adolescence as the brain matures.

Pushkar recently coauthored an overview on the topic, What Philosophers Say Compared with What Psychologists Find in Discerning Values: How Wise People Interpret Life. Her coauthors include Andrew Burr, Sarah Etezadi and Tracy Lyster of the Concordia Department of Psychology and Sheila Mason of the Department of Philosophy.

The research team compiled data from several Concordia studies, as well as international findings, to assess how wisdom shapes life. The result? "Wisdom has an impact on how people cope in situations and whether they are more or less satisfied with life," explains Etezadi, a PhD student under Pushkar's direction.

No single definition of wisdom exists, but hallmarks include knowledge, deep understanding of human nature, life contentment, empathy and the flexibility to see issues from others' perspectives. "Wise people can see the positive side of a negative situation," says Etezadi, adding the wise are open to new avenues. "A practical aspect of wisdom is how it translates to street smarts."

Injustice can prevent people from garnering wisdom

Yet studies have shown that overwhelming and prolonged stress, in cases such as genocide or soul-crushing child abuse, are injustices that can prevent people from garnering wisdom. "The more overwhelming the stress, the greater its magnitude, the less likely people are to develop wisdom from the experience," says Pushkar, citing research from peers undertaken after major calamities and wars. "Chronic adversity can destroy wisdom."

Pushkar stresses that wise people often espouse common sense but what makes them smarter than most is how they actually follow their own advice. And contrary to popular notions, gender does not influence wisdom. "For centuries, males had access to education and that's how the stereotype of the wise old man came to be," says Etezadi.

Age is another irrelevant factor in life smarts. "Some people garner wisdom sooner than others," Pushkar suggests. "That's why we call them old souls, since they are quicker to learn what leads to a better life."

Etezadi and Pushkar, who notably studied life contentment among seniors, also discovered that lifelong optimists are wiser than their pessimistic peers. "We found that people who are wiser maintain a sense of happiness," says Etezadi. "They are high on wisdom, which has a buffering effect."

"Bitterness," Pushkar counters, "disqualifies a person from being considered as wise. It means they haven't learned any beneficial lessons from their experience."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
s-j.desjardins@concordia.ca
51-484-824-245-068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Media Alert: Abvio Demonstrates Innovative iPhone 3G/3GS Fitness Applications for Running, Cycling and Walking at Macworld 2010
2. Phone app providing real-time statistics on physical activity around the world
3. MindUp (HIRU) Patents in the World Patent Database
4. mHealth Alliance Works in Partnership with GSMA to Expand Discussion of Mobile Health at 2010 Mobile World Congress
5. New SeaColonyTennis.net Launches to Promote World-Class Tennis Programs at Sea Colony
6. AntiBiggestLoser.com; New Blog Takes Aim at Worldwide Reality TV Show, "The Biggest Loser"
7. MarquisNet Co-Location Agreement with MessageBroadcast Helps Message Delivery Provider Expand World-Class Network
8. Fitness Trend Towards Online Personal Training Gets Real-World Weight Loss Results on FitOrbit.com
9. Worlds Leading Manufacturer of IV Solutions Chooses Three RIVA Systems
10. Awards Strengthen Stonhard's Reputation for High-Performing Floors in the World's Most Prominent Pharmaceutical Facilities
11. NOVAVAX Presents Positive Clinical Results at The World Health Organization Conference, Geneva, Switzerland
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/6/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 06, 2016 , ... Shark ... to announce the launch of a new DRTV campaign with Belly Bands. , Having ... tried everything from sprays to puppy pads and find nothing works, get Belly ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... Love is in the air at King Kullen! The local grocer is ... staple for Valentine’s Day is a must-have, and can be picked up with all ... are long-stem roses available, but also other flower bouquets, elegantly wrapped and ready to ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 05, 2016 , ... ... and setting the stage for new clinical and scientific initiatives have all marked ... after she was appointed President and CEO of the nation’s oldest cancer center, ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... February 05, 2016 , ... Francisco ... micro-needling services in their Napa Valley office. The technique utilizes the body’s own ... Dr. Canales and Dr. Furnas, are part of only a select few cosmetic ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... ... ... After years as an active staff surgeon and having served as the director ... transitioned to chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at what is now known ... began a second three-year term in January of 2016. , The original selection was ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... Bernstein Liebhard LLP today announced that a securities class ... for the District of Arizona on ... or entities who purchased common shares of Insys Therapeutics Inc. ... 3, 2015 through January 25, 2016 (the "Class Period").  The ... of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 4, 2016 Wegener Polyangiitis - Pipeline ... Direct,s, ,Wegener Polyangiitis - Pipeline Review, H2 2015, ... pipeline. This report provides comprehensive information on ... comparative analysis at various stages, therapeutics assessment by ... administration (RoA) and molecule type, along with latest ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016 Summary Breast cancer, a malignant ... most common cancer in women worldwide, accounting for 16% ... The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer has ... of deaths has declined due to earlier diagnosis and ... revolutionized in the past four decades, especially with increasing ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: