Monday, March 15, 2010

Wisdom: The Book

I haven't yet read Andrew Zuckerman's book/media project "Wisdom" but I'm pretty intrigued by it. For the project, Zuckerman conducted interviews with some of the world's most recognizable and revered people1, asking them all essentially the same questions: what is wisdom? and what is your wisdom? The answers were compiled into this book, in order to gift the collected knowledge of one generation to the next.

The list of contributors includes politicians (Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Ted Kennedy), actors (Alan Arkin, Judi Dench), musicians (Willie Nelson, Bill Withers), authors (Chinua Achebe) and activists (Jane Goodall). All of the contributors are artfully presented by Zuckerman in portraits, sound clips, and their writings in the book, as well as in an art exhibit.

Exploring this project has led me to reflect on what my wisdom is, and how I am contributing to the collective knowledge base. Because of its educational focus and the interactions it facilitates, the Writing Center has been a good place for me to both gain and share wisdom. And writing in general, I think, functions in the same way: the transference of world experience and insight from one to another. I was always struck by the wisdom of good old Kurtey V. I wish he was still around for the making of this book. I think his additions to the conversation on human wisdom would be, well, wise.

So, my questions: What is your wisdom and how do you share it? and Whose wisdom do you seek out?

1 The website states that the contributors are "global" and "multicultural." The authors collected wisdom from a wide range of people, but I think it's worth considering that all of them are English speakers. Just sayin'.

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