Ursula Staudinger in New York Times

Ursula Staudinger talks about the concept of wisdom in a recently published article by Phyllis Korkki in the New York Times. As co-founder of the Berlin Wisdom Project, a research effort that sought to define wisdom in the 1980s, she makes a distinction between general wisdom (understanding life from an observer’s perspective) and personal wisdom (insight into one’s own life). Her model of personal wisdom includes five elements (e.g. self-insight, awareness of life’s ambiguities). Professor Staudinger’s studies have shown that wisdom in this sense is rarely found in people. Also, wisdom actually declines in the final decades. While many people tend to develop a coping strategy in old age and look back on their lives in a more positive light, a wise person in contrast would acknowledge failures and losses, and still try to improve.