Wisdom (part II)

As Australia was thrown into chaos and faced its future over the Christmas and New Year period, I sought moments of sanctuary in the writings and wisdom of Dee Hock. I would like to share a collection of Dee’s thoughts specific to wisdom, and in that sense continue on from yesterdays post.
 
The below are Dee’s attempts to articulate, define and cohere ‘noise, ‘information’, ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’… 
 
Noise, in its broadest sense, is any undifferentiated thing that assaults the senses. It is pervasive and ubiquitous, whether auditory, visual, or textural. The supply of noise is infinite. 
 
Noise becomes data when it transcends the purely sensual and has cognitive pattern; when it can be discerned and differentiated by the mind. 
 
Data, in turn, becomes information when it is assembled into a coherent whole that can be related to other information in a way that adds meaning. 
 
Information becomes knowledge when it is integrated with other information in a form useful for deciding, acting, or composing new knowledge. 
 
Knowledge becomes understanding when related to other knowledge in a manner useful in conceiving, anticipating, valuing, and judging. 
 
Understanding becomes wisdom when informed by purpose, ethics, principle, memory of the past, and projection into the future. 
 
I am particularly interested in the transformation of understanding to wisdom. Dee’s description resonates with a framework we use to help people act wisely in the present. This involves connecting their past, present and future through three perspectives – personal, situational and systemic (socio-cultural)
 
 
Dee goes on to distinguish the abundance of ‘data’ from the scarcity of ‘wisdom’, and the dangerous path we are treading…
 
The fundamental characteristics of the opposite ends of this spectrum are very different. Data, on one end of the spectrum, is separable, objective, linear, mechanistic, and abundant. Wisdom, on the other end of the spectrum, is holistic, subjective, spiritual, conceptual, creative, and scarce. 
 
The immensity of data and information that assaults our lives is conditioned by an ever-declining ratio of social, economic, and spiritual value. Vast scientific, technological, and economic power is thus unleashed with inadequate understanding of its systemic propensity for destruction, or sufficient wisdom to creatively, constructively guide its evolution.
 
…thus, we remain confined within our archaic seventeenth-century concepts of organization and leadership
 
His final remark frames our passion and intent to support people in transitioning to the next generation of sport organisations and institutions. I’m very aware that attempting this will challenge my own capacity to act wisely.
 
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