Wisdom is an ancient and elusive concept, one with great relevance for the world today. Climate change, global political instability, and the increasingly complex problems facing humanity make wisdom particularly important now. There are notable parallels between how world leadership does not provide the needed urgent attention to the challenge of climate change, environmental stewardship, and human rights, and how elders are dismissed and diminished in many societies. Elders in the past were revered for their wisdom; unfortunately, their vital role in current society has shifted due to the fast pace of life and technological advances, with many wondering whether the challenges associated with these issues will serve humanity or contribute to our demise. This literature review will highlight: the intersections between ancient and contemporary views on wisdom as it relates to life satisfaction; intelligence versus wisdom-related knowledge; the importance of religion and spirituality to older adults; and mortality and ethics in society.
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