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Wilson’s Consilience

Wilson’s Consilience



“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.” – EO Wilson

Two metaphors have helped me in trying to visualize the “Consilience” Wilson is championing.

First, the metaphor of a rose flower in its natural state contrasted with all of its petals bound together by a rubber band. It is a powerful visual to suggest the difference between synergistic presentation and putting things together.

Second, the metaphor of a chick breaking out of its enclosed world in a shell and entering a wider world of perceptions.

Disciplinary identity and boundaries are needed in the early stages of comprehension and learning, like a shell is needed in the formative stages of a growing chick. However, just as the shell needs to be broken for further growth of the chick, the disciplinary boundaries need to be transcended by a learner to reach higher stages of learning.