Wisdom Archives – Values of the Wise


Moral Dilemmas: The Case of the Unabomber

moral dilemmas October 14th, 2017

Ted Kaczynski, as you probably know, was “the Unabomber.” His proficiency with creating bombs delivered through the mail was gruesome; many died from shrapnel and concussion opening a bomb, and they were absolutely innocent of any reasonable charge. His mentality was like something you would see in a high-ranking member of the Nazi party. He was extremely intelligent but had the morality of a sociopath. Quite a dangerous creature he was. Here is the story of his brother, David, who faced a moral dilemma about whether or not to turn his brother, the murderer, in. The topic of moral dilemmas is a most interesting and evocative one, so strap in.

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Peace & Tranquility: Our Highest Need?

peace and love October 12th, 2017

Peace is among the highest values of humankind. What does peace mean to different thinkers? Can tranquility be defined and described? Happiness is an important value as well. What this all adds up to is a look at the best kind of life for persons to aspire to. Read on to find out how “the wise” view peace & tranquility by reading what they have said about these magnificent topics in their own words.

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Quotations About Doubt and Skepticism

quotations about doubt September 28th, 2017

In the interview I conducted with the author of Doubt: A History, Jennifer Michael Hecht, many great quotations about doubt found their way into the book chapter. She is erudite and a great exponent of philosophy and literature, but quotations about doubt by great minds throughout the ages aptly supplement the discussion.

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Values and Virtues in the Form of Quotations

values and virtues September 24th, 2017

You can really benefit from really thinking about the following examples of values and virtues in the form of quotations from many great minds. It is applied philosophy in a very accessible form. VOW has nearly 27,000 quotes, proverbs, poetry, and lyrics relevant to values and virtues such as knowledge, education, peace, liberty, wisdom, ingenuity, lightheartedness, responsibility, and justice – for free. Here are examples and glimpses into what these values and virtues are about.

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Buddhist Wisdom: Meditation, Awareness, Stillness

Buddhist wisdom September 17th, 2017

When it comes to wisdom, the Buddhists occupy a unique position. One thinks of monks and other practitioners of a very devout kind of Buddhism as up there with Indian sages, old men with Fu-Manchu mustaches, Gandalf, and assorted grandparents as being quintessential purveyors of wisdom. Meditation, mindfulness, stillness, open-mindedness, self-discipine, awareness, ethics, and insight are the stock-in-trade of Buddhist monks. The Dalai Lama is always reliable to have a mature, enlightened, very ethical perspective on any question posed to him. This blog is about finding wisdom in Buddhist principles.

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More, Better, Principled, Responsive Government

responsive government September 8th, 2017

Fareed Zakaria, ever the reliable liberal, penned a smart essay on responsive government. In it, he suggests we need not less, but more (and I would say, better and more principled) government. In a word, a responsive, ethical, and subservient group of individuals who know how to do their jobs, serve rather than take, and govern effectively. Unfortunately, with Trump occupying high office, most government officials who can afford to leave already have. And Congress has a nearly-single-digits approval rating. Their job performance is truly abysmal. The courts are either suffering vacancies or filled with reactionary political appointees (consider the awesomely bad rulings by the SCOTUS, Citizens United, Vallejo, and McCutcheon). What can be done to help us achieve the kind of leadership we desperately need – more, better, principled, responsive government? Here are a few thoughts.

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The Dialectic: A Top 10 Philosophy Concept

the dialectical method September 6th, 2017

Have you heard the term dialectic? It’s a philosophical concept that is a bit complicated. This blog will explain what a dialectic is, how it can be useful, a little bit of history, etc. At bottom, the centuries-old concept is a way of moving toward wisdom in which two opposing positions are reconciled, compared, and synthesized, thus arriving at a new, superior, insight. It’s a higher-order phenomenon borne of philosophizing, communicating, comparing, contrasting, analyzing, and parsing. Strengths of each opposing point of view is considered, explicated, and utilized. Different theories can be compared in this manner and a final, integrative model can result. 

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Doubt and Skepticism: Philosophical & Religious (V&E3)

doubt and skepticism September 5th, 2017

The topic of the day is philosophical and religious doubt and skepticism. With my very able guest, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Ph.D., I explore some history of the subject, and learn about her fascinating book. This is a transcript of an audio interview with Dr. Hecht on a then-program entitled Values and Ethics: from Living Room to Boardroom (available as a podcast). It then became Chapter 3 in a book of the same name in 2017. Let’s look into one of the most critical precursors of wisdom: doubt.

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Wisdom in Rock Lyrics: Bono, Sting & Rush

wisdom in rock lyrics August 17th, 2017

Yes, you read that right. Wisdom in rock song lyrics! If you are a fan of rock music as well, you might have noticed from time to time that during your drive, while having a drink, or when playing air guitar, a deep and compelling lyric pops up. Which rock lovers don’t find Kansas “Dust in the Wind” or some Pink Floyd or even Mellencamp or Bowie to be worth really listening to? Led Zeppelin and even groups like Journey and Foreigner can bust out a worthy line. Certainly my favorite songwriters are Neil Peart (of Rush), Bono, and Sting. Read on to see a number of lyrics taken from unforgettable songs. 

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Philosopher Bertrand Russell Quotes

Bertrand Russell quotes August 16th, 2017

Congratulations. You have found arguably the best collection of Bertrand Russell quotes in the Milky Way Galaxy. Culled mostly by hand from some works that are rare and fecund, many topics are represented in these most interesting of Bertrand Russell quotes. You will find thoughts on philosophy, doubt, skepticism, critical thinking, peace, and society. More food for thought was produced by this inimitable man than by nearly anyone known to us today. Put your thinking cap on, and enjoy these insights, warnings, and bits of philosophy.

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