Wanted: a new way of thinking

New Scientist (14 May 1987):63 (1987)
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Our world is beset with appalling problems. To solve these urgent, intractable global problems it is not new scientific knowledge and technology that we need so much as new actions: new policies, new international relations, new institutions and social arrangements, new ways of living. The mere provision of scientific know-ledge and technological know-how cannot help much: indeed, all too often it actually makes matters worse. The dreadful truth is that science has played a crucial role, often unwittingly, in the creation of our problems. To solve our problems we certainly need to learn, but what we need to learn is not so much new knowledge as new actions—new, more cooperative, wiser ways of living. Above all, we need to learn how to resolve our conflicts in more just, humane and rationally cooperative ways. This in turn requires that we create new institutions and traditions of learning, rationally devoted to helping us to learn how to become more cooperative and wise. We need a new kind of academic enterprise, all over the world, which takes as its basic task to promote not just knowledge, but rather wisdom—wisdom being defined as the capacity to solve problems of living so as to achieve what is of value, for oneself and others (wisdom thus including but going beyond knowledge).
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