Don't discount the value of wisdom

With the advancement of scanning technology such as MRI, neuroscientists and researchers have much better insight into how our brains work.

It has been reported that while younger brains work faster and are better at learning new skills (efficiency), old brains compensate by making more connections in different compartments of the brain for problem-solving and decision-making (effectiveness).

Scientists have produced research on young brains being smarter (IQ), while old brains are wiser (incorporating IQ with EQ).

Mr Lee Teck Chuan has observed that morals and values are less measurable and harder to teach and see results (A brilliant mind doesn't make a whole person; June 28). So, too, is wisdom situational and difficult to measure.

Conventional examinations in institutions are based on testing what data was taught and how much of it is remembered. Vocational aptitude tests go a little into logical thinking but still are very mechanical.

Thus, Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng's point to "debunk the notion that our seniors are physically and mentally disadvantaged, or worse, economically unproductive" is relevant (Older people a market force to be reckoned with; June 28).

The Internet may give young people as much knowledge as seniors. However, all the information a person can obtain from the Internet will not make him a better employee if he lacks the wisdom to be discerning, especially considering the amount of "fake news" that is out there.

Singapore can be a "wise city" in addition to being a "smart city" if we can harness the wisdom of the pioneer generation instead of just rewarding them with some subsidies.

Geoffrey Kung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Don't discount the value of wisdom'. Print Edition | Subscribe