The Nature of Wisdom2017-03-20T03:27:08+00:00


What is wisdom of the whole, by the whole, for the whole?

Wisdom in a wise democracy involves taking into account what needs to be taken into account for long term broad benefit.

We view wisdom as an expansion of intelligence that enables us to align our understanding and action with more of what’s going on and more of what’s needed as we seek to ensure beneficial outcomes over the long haul.

So the wisdom we’re seeking is necessarily co-created by diverse people and firmly grounded in an expanded sense of reality – especially embracing the aliveness of human and natural systems and interactions.

Given our tenuous global situation, we need such wisdom to guide our collective activities in life-serving directions.

Efforts to make democracy wiser may tap many sources of wisdom – from nature’s evolved solutions and humanity’s widely acknowledged ethical standards to systems thinking and creative conversations among diverse people and perspectives, as well as expanded empathy and ongoing review of the impacts of whatever we have chosen to do.

Our challenge is to weave all this together into “wisdom-generating” processes and institutions that can regularly produce the life-serving guidance we need.

Further Reading:


  1. Tom Atlee February 25, 2018 at 9:02 am - Reply

    “Right decisions” are different from “wise decisions”, but the two are very closely related in the following quote: “Clearly a reasonably well designed democracy, which is based in political equality, can make bad decisions (decisions that with hindsight did not anticipate the unintended consequences, etc. that if the people had anticipated would have caused them to make a different decision). Athenian democracy made various bad decisions. But the measure of “rightness” is what the people would want once the implications of the decisions become fully apparent.[Some advocates argue] that the optimal democracy design helps the people anticipate the likely outcome of decisions and whether they will be pleased by them down the road, rather than what the people (through minipublic, referendum, or whatever), even if reasonably well informed, think about a policy only in the present. This seems to me to be a principle that any sort of government (monarchy, oligarchy or democracy) would desire … making decisions that the sovereign will be happy with later on. It does not DEFINE democracy, but is a desirable feature that is fully compatible with and improves democracy. The scientific method can be used to make “right” decisions more likely… with “right” being defined IN A DEMOCRACY as those the people will be happy with once the decision is fully implemented.” – tbouricius, in a comment 2/25/2018 comment on

  2. Tom Atlee September 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    The wisdom we need waits
    1. to be called forth from lives already present and truly heard;
    2. to emerge from the informational and synergistic potential of whole-system interactions; and/or
    3. to be discovered as we take our best next steps, paying inclusive, iterative attention.

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