The Practical Applications of Self-Transcendent Wisdom

  • Carolyn M. AldwinEmail author
  • Michael R. Levenson


Practical wisdom is focused on sound decisions to promote a good life, while self-transcendent wisdom focuses on making ethical decisions for the greater good. Self-transcendence develops through self-knowledge, integration, and non-attachment, which focuses on decentering from egoistic perspectives. It emphasizes the interconnectedness of people and life in general, leading to a focus on ethical issues. Wisdom is generally perceived to be a characteristic of individuals, but it is clear that it develops in a social context. Further, wisdom can be considered an organizational attribute. Not only can organizational cultures promote and support the development of wisdom in individuals, but some have argued that wisdom can also be a characteristic of organizations, such as learning and adapting to new situations, making wise judgments, and focusing on the inherent ethics of any decision-making. Both practical and self-transcendent wisdom are clearly needed in our current economic and political institutions.


Self-transcendence Practical wisdom Organizations Ethical decisions 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Healthy Aging ResearchOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Human Development & Family SciencesOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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