Personal Growth

Personal Growth


“Values of the Wise”: What Does This Mean?

Values of the Wise logo June 22nd, 2017

The goal of Values of the Wise (the company) is to bring to life ancient wisdom and progressive thinking. This is done through books, online tools and resources, quotations, social networking, and the like. But what are “the values of the wise?” What does the phrase actually mean? I am Jason Merchey, the founder and originator of the concept, and I will be happy to explain what I think it means.

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Humor Quotes: Lighten Up, Friends!

Humor quotes make us relax, laugh, and appreciate June 20th, 2017

Life can be a drag. We can all get too serious, work too hard, and focus too intently. The world we live in is particularly adept at crushing spirits, reducing mental well-being, and depressing those of us who think. In fact, Jean Racine quipped that “Life is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those who feel.” One of the things that can be helpful is to read and re-read some great humor quotes. They have a remarkable ability to open the mind, relax the soul, and create a fresh perspective. And though lightheartedness is, I say, one of the values of the wise (along with humor), a third aspect to this ValueSet is that of recognizing and accepting the absurd. Here are some of my favorite thoughts on this most interesting and engaging of subjects:

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A Life of Value: 101 Good Ideas

Living a Life of Value June 18th, 2017

A life of value is a way of looking at oneself and the world that strikes a balance between doing what feels right/what fulfills you and what will benefit others in the world (and the world itself). A life of value is not about being a monk or miser or saint. It is fairer to say that a life of value is what one lives when one feels good, and also does good. It can indeed be a bit unclear just what this concept is, so here is a list of 101 things you can do, starting now, to improve your life. Ideally these simple ideas inspire and challenge. I have divided them up into two categories: more “self-oriented” things (e.g., listening to music or traveling) and more “helpful” things (e.g., write your Congressperson or vote with your dollars).

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“To Have a Home”

June 17th, 2017

This is a poem about love forlorn, home, and intimacy. It is somber and melancholy. It ends with the following lines:

Someday I might find a woman with whom I click, 
But the chances, and the waiting, are making me sick.

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Philosophical Books: Three Down-to-Earth Ones

philosophical books June 17th, 2017

Philosophical books often don’t win many prizes. They can be difficult, abstruse, antiquated, or just plain boring. Most of us realize the power and the merit of reading in the field of philosophy, but are wary of picking up a Nietzsche book. Now, I do recommend the readable and fairly wide-ranging book Philosophy for Dummies, by public philosopher extraordinaire, Tom Morris, Ph.D. However, that is only going to take you so far because it is necessarily wide in its breadth. It’s a good “Cliff’s Notes” version of the field of philosophy, but it isn’t as deep in the area of applied philosophy as you are probably needing. That is where Values of the Wise comes in. Read on for more insight into three wonderful, philosophical books that you can really sink your teeth into and get a lot out of. 

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“My Golden Trophies Are More Like Yellow”

golden trophies June 15th, 2017

My search for romantic love has seen some frustrating years, when fulfillment and joy seemed out of reach. Here is a stanza that characterizes this poem about belonging and meaning:

I will, at the current rate,
Die a lonely and heartbroken fellow.
Though I have won accolades, 
My golden trophies are more like yellow.

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Engaging in Socratic Dialogue

Socratic dialogue June 15th, 2017

There is something called Socratic dialogue. Essentially, two individuals engage in a conversation – a dialectic, as it is known – and they try to figure out the nature of the question and try to formulate an answer that is logical, rational, true, and correct. It’s not easy, but it is probably better to have a knowledgeable person work in concert with you if you are trying to figure out truth. This takes wisdom, obviously. Though it is not quite ready to be “an app,” there is something about the Socratic method that can be learned and useful to an individual even sans interlocutor, if you will. Thus, I will share with you my notes on what Socratic dialogue is all about. May it lead you one step closer to wisdom!

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Altruism Quotes: Help Others, Help Yourself!

altruism quotes June 8th, 2017

You’re passing a homeless person; they look haggard and hungry and tired; you are doing okay in life. What do you do – pass by without making eye contact, make eye contact and keep walking, or stop and give some time or money. Enter altruism quotes! These brief little nuggets of wisdom can facilitate reaching down and pulling out some love, compassion, care, and magnanimity. Sure, one doesn’t want to be a “sucker” and get pulled in by all kinds of money-making schemes, but erring on the side of charitableness and concern for one’s fellow human being is almost never “foolish.” In other cases, altruism quotes would urge one to stop the car when you see a person in distress, trying to get that dog picked up off the streets, or even wading in a flood to help a stranded individual. Whether we are believers in God or self-confident skeptics, altruism quotes can help us to live a life that we can be proud of when the day is done. Here are some favorites:

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Books on Values: Building a Life of Value

one of the best books on values June 3rd, 2017

Values of the Wise has three wonderful, insightful books on values that range from $8 to $20. They primarily use quotations to evoke wisdom and inspiration. They are organized by value: in other words, the chapter on Truth & Justice features an introductory essay, eighteen pages of some of the best and most unique quotations on the subjects, and then a closing essay. The book is very accessible because you can flip to any page and start reading; there is no need to start at the beginning and read it like a novel. One doesn’t wear all of one’s jewelry (or clothes) every single day, and the same is true for the wisdom present in this book that Diane Zehr, Pastor of Florence Christian Church in Florence, KY describes with the following words:

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Frederick Douglass Quotes: Master of His Fate

Frederick Douglass Quotes June 2nd, 2017

Daniel L. Katz, in the interesting book Why Freedom Matters, quotes the letter escaped slave and then-abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote to his former master, Thomas Auld. He writes: “For audacious correspondence, it’s hard to beat Frederick Douglass’ (1815-1895) letter to his former master.” He ain’t lyin’! This is one of the most interesting things I have ever read. If you are interested in rare or unique Frederick Douglass quotes, you’ve come to the right place. Think about it: a slave endures the full measure of cruelty that was the custom of the upper class in the South for hundreds of years, then bravely escapes, makes his way north, evades capture, learns to read, marries, has four children, becomes a great writer, and grows into one of the most famous and eloquent and forceful abolitionists.

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