Wisdom Research Forum 2017: Robert J. Sternberg (video)

Appointment in Samarra: Are we rushing to create a society of smart (and not so smart) fools?

The following is a recorded presentation of Robert J. Sternberg, Professor of Human Development, Cornell University at the University of Chicago Center for Practical Wisdom Research Forum in August 2017.

Watch this video and previous wisdom research presentations on the Uchicago Wisdom Research YouTube channel!

Presentation Abstract: Sternberg presents a new model, ACCEL, “Active Concerned Citizenship and Ethical Leadership,” which can be used for secondary and tertiary education in our schools. Our current model of schooling is intellectually and educationally bankrupt—a throwback to earlier centuries—when memorizing largely useless facts was viewed as actually worth something. Today, most knowledge, including arcane knowledge, easily can be accessed on the Internet. What students lack, as shown by the cynical, corrupt, and values-destructive political and economic systems that have engulfed many of our countries, is the wisdom to reason and make judgments that benefit the common good. This failure in our societies has occurred despite steep increases in IQ over the past century. These increases in IQ have been worse than useless in solving any of the major problems facing the world today—climate change, poverty and increasing disparity in incomes, pollution, violence, illiberal governments, and so forth. Students may be more IQ- smart than in the past, but they lack the ethical reasoning and developed character to reject the cynical and self- interested politicians and other leaders who have made so much headway in our countries. Indeed, many people are embracing and seeking to imitate such toxic leaders. Wisdom researchers are the ones psychological science needs most to take their responsibilty to society seriously, and not just focus on work, that although scientifically viable and publishable, may have little impact on changing societies in periods of steep decline.

Photo courtesy of Lloyd DeGrane.

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