Sliding Otter News: Choosing Wisdom for our Survival

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

~Immanuel Kant~

Vandas in Barbados

Vandas in Barbados

I just finished Michio Kaku’s book, Physics of the Future. I feared he might glorify technology to the exclusion of anything human. Near the end of his book, he predicts that technology might eventually take over most of our mundane tasks. What will remain for us to do? He concludes that our task will be to develop a sense of wisdom, often lost in our fascination with new gadgets.

He says, “Without wisdom and insight, we are left to drift aimlessly and without purpose, with an empty, hollow feeling after the novelty of unlimited information wears off.” I have been writing for ten years about commonsense wisdom. This has been the theme of most everything I have written.

I have enjoyed comments by my readers saying that my writing resonates with them and helps them focus on what is important in their lives. Still, I wonder whether my efforts and those of my readers will be flattened by the steamroller of technology and computers.

Then I realize that technology and computers are only tools. Infatuation or even worship of our tools does not give our lives a purpose. Our tools make it easier for us to do things, but what do we want and need to do?

Isaac Asimov said, “The saddest aspect of society now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” We can put men on the moon and probe distant galaxies but we can’t figure out how to stop killing each other with endless wars. It seems that things have become worse since Asimov’s observation.

Thinkers throughout the ages have tried to make sense of life and find a purpose for our existence. Religious and philosophical thinkers have pondered the meaning of life for many centuries. Yet we seem to still wander aimlessly as a society with no clear direction. It has been said that wisdom comes with age. Yet I have seen older people go to their graves still scratching their heads, wondering what it is all about.

Why is wisdom, so hard to come by and what must we do to find it? First we must shut our mouths and listen. None of us has the corner on wisdom or the final answer within ourselves. We must know each others’ struggles and dreams and find a way to forge ahead together. It sounds almost impossible, but could it be harder than sending people to the moon and back?

We could destroy ourselves with our technology and almost did in the age of nuclear weapons. We scoff at the effect of our “progress” on the environment on which we depend for survival. We could still slowly poison ourselves for the sake of short term financial gain. What if wisdom became our priority?We could join hands and lives in shared wisdom while exploring our future possibilities. What do you choose?

Life Lab Lessons

  • Close your mouth and listen to others around you.

  • What can they teach you about life?

  • Try to understand others.

  • Be patient with them.

  • Practice ways to compromise.

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