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Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration (2013)
On the 29th of November 2013, a group of Chinese Wisdom Researchers met for two days during the fifth session of the Chinese Wisdom Studies Symposium and the third session of the Chinese Scientific Thinking Symposium, held in the city of Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province. After reviewing the international and domestic development of Wisdom Studies over the last decade, the participants reached a fundamental consensus. The consensus is hereby published as the ‘Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration.’
In the 21st century, with the ever deepening process of globalisation and the development of information technology, human society is facing new and challenging problems. Due to the unprecedented complexity of these problems, a superior (and outstanding) wisdom is required. However, as the development of information is at its height, knowledge can be retrieved at anytime. The rapid development of science and technology has led to unprecedented material growth, and this inturn has led to an accelerated rate of development of education in modern society. There is now an urgent need to develop the subject of Wisdom Studies so that society can benefit fully from its presence.
In recent years, knowledgeable people, both inside China and abroad, have started paying attention to this issue, and have begun to promote awareness of the emerging academic discipline of Wisdom Studies. In the United States, first there was the famous Psychologist Robert J. Steinberg who led a group of scholars in a spontaneous research programme in Wisdom Studies. Following this, there was the development of Wisdom Studies carried out at the University of Chicago. In Europe there is the ‘Berlin Wisdom Paradigm’ which has a group of Wisdom Study researchers. In China during the last 50 years of the 20th century there was the famous educator Luo Jia Lun who considered the relation between wisdom, learning, and knowledge. He produced a penetrating analysis of the three inter-related subjects.
The famous scientist named Qian Xue Sen, (as far back as the mid-1990’s), proposed a ‘Great Compendium of Wisdom Studies’ school of thought. In the 21st century, the famous educator Gu Ming Yuan, the President of the Chinese Association of Education, developed the academic subject of Wisdom Studies. Within China there has been the development of the Chinese Wisdom Project Research Council, together with the emergence of the International Chinese Wisdom Society in Hong Kong, as well as the Zhangjiagang City Wisdom Studies Project, and other similar academic institutes. As a consequence there have been a number of important academic conferences held, and many pioneering papers published on the subjects of wisdom, learning, and knowledge, which has led to the development of a practical curriculum designed specifically for Wisdom Studies. The academic brothers Zhang Qing Lin and Zhang Qing Song are credited with designing and implementing the first ‘Learning Wisdom in College’ courses, which have achieved many important results.
However, whether in China or the United States of America and despite the fact that leaders in both countries clearly advocate the development of wise thinking amongst the people, it has to be acknowledged that Wisdom Studies (and the ability to ‘think’ wisely) is an acquired skill, and that there must be appropriate planning if it is to be made socially acceptable and relevant to the masses. In this regard, Wisdom Studies remains in its initial stage of development. However, the fact that there are now ‘Wisdom Cities’, ‘Wisdom Tourism’, and ‘Wisdom Study Schools’ serves to illustrate the success of the project, and the willingness of people to embrace wisdom. In fact intelligence is the facility people use when choosing their words and actions – and it can be said that Wisdom Studies encourages the development of a clearer (and superior) thinking process. Wise thinking can be used to tackle the most difficult of problems with an innovation that is capable of producing new inventions. Amongst the workers, the use of wise thought is the foundation of the generation of all productive forces.
In order to promote and develop Wisdom Studies further, it is agreed that this ‘Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration’ is a method designed to arouse the attention of humanity to its cause and application. This statement also reaffirms the commitment of Wisdom Studies Researchers already engaged in the task of developing the subject with a relentless pursuit of the highest level of spiritual (i.e. psychological) developmental knowledge and wisdom, that is possible to attain through the cultivation of human civilisation. We hereby collectively support the ‘Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration’, and agree to the establishment of an ‘International Wisdom Day Plan of Action.’ We call upon the international community to support the call for the establishment of an ‘International Wisdom Day’ in a variety of ways. We are convinced that the establishment of an ‘International Wisdom Day’ through various activities and methods will create the conditions for the rapid development of the Wisdom Studies research programme, and in so doing facilitate the development of human intelligence to a higher level. This will make the 21st century the century of the development of true wisdom, which will see the raising of the level of human consciousness across the globe!