America, if it were a person, would be experiencing anxiety, self-doubt, egocentrism, confusion, self-loathing, and narcissism. Life has never been easy or uniformly positive for all but the wealthy, and even then, the rich aren’t any happier than the other social classes. It’s true, there was what some consider to be a “golden era” as we came out of World War II. The wealthy and corporations paid a large share of the tax burden, had more in common with the other social classes (e.g., “the Commons” were more robust then), and jobs were well-paying and fairly secure. Despite the racial, gender and sexual orientation problems that plagued America then, it was a time of general prosperity, social mobility, and optimism. Something has gone awry to an increasingly dire degree; if America were a person it would be spending a lot of time in bars, occasionally getting into a fight while intoxicated, and dealing with a persistent cough. The values and virtues America desperately needs are the subjects of this blog. It entails social criticism, but I think America can look to its “better angels”, as Lincoln put it. We have to do it.Read More
September 2nd, 2018
August 23rd, 2018
You might not have heard of the musical group Everlast. In 1998 they put out a fantastic, unparalleled song “What It’s Like.” I can’t say enough good stuff about it, both lyrically and musically. It’s absolutely remarkable. It’s been listened to over 5 million times on YouTube, and it hit #13 on the charts when it debuted. In this blog, I will provide a YouTube link and share the lyrics. Watching the video while reading the lyrics will no doubt provide the reader interested in values, ethics, and virtue with inspiration and a truly deep emotional experience. I have literally teared up listening to this amazing song. The crux of the empathy the writer Erik Shrody is calling for can be clearly seen in these words: “You know where it ends…usually depends on where you start.” See how the other half lives in the song “What It’s Like”…Read More
June 12th, 2018
As I noted in a previous blog about living life on life’s terms, one has to take a long, hard look at life and in the mirror and not blanch. One will find a high challenge there. “Life is a tragedy to those who think, and a comedy to those who feel,” noted French author La Bruyere long ago. But Drew D. Brown believed that “[y]ou don’t look in the mirror to see life; you’ve got to look out the window.” Thus, I wanted to follow up that first blog with this, a piece featuring quotes about “living life on life’s terms”. Enjoy this look at coping, self-realization, personal growth, inner strength, truth, insight, and realism.Read More
March 21st, 2018
Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas de Caritat, known as the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), was a French philosopher of the Enlightenment. He was also an amazingly progressive and early proponent of women’s rights and educational reform. Condorcet did much of the heavy lifting in bringing the ideas of progress, or the indefinite perfectibility of humankind, to the fore. History has much benefitted from his courage, grace, and intelligence. He also has a very interesting denouement – to use a French word! – and I will share that shortly.Read More
March 15th, 2018
Success is a complicated word to define, is it not? Does it mean fame? Is it really about dominance in some field or endeavor? With whom is one competing: peers, the self, one’s superiors, the community? Is the accumulation of money the operative idea? Generativity, such as raising good children or leaving the world better than one found it? I have had the pleasure of reading the older but still extraordinary book True Success, by the philosopher, former professor, person of faith, and founder of the Morris Institute for Human Values, Tom V. Morris. I will share some quotes about true success, as well as try to shape or clarify the concept (and compare my views to Dr. Morris’) in this blog, and here is the first: “To the extent that we want to have goals that are right for us and that will help make the contribution we are put in this life to make, we can be said to have as a goal true success.“Read More
February 9th, 2018
Jacob Bronowski (1908 – 1974) lived for nearly 70 years before I was born. This genius was a Polish-born mathematician, historian of science, playwright, poet, and inventor. Bronowski is primarily responsible for the 1973 12-part exploration of creativity, ingenuity, vision, integration, science, and progress, The Ascent of Man, and the accompanying book. It was very careful, rational, and aspirational. He seems like a great man, a real scientist, and one of humanity’s greatest losses. He did say and write many important things, and I will now present you with the fifty or sixty Jacob Bronowski quotes that are a valued part of The Wisdom Archive, which is yours to search for free. Enjoy.Read More
January 22nd, 2018
According to Vocabulary.com, “Ingenuity is the ability to think creatively about a situation or to solve problems in a clever way.” The Latin word for “mind” or “intellect” is a root of ingenuity…Ingenuity is all about imagination.” That is fine, as far as it goes. One of the strengths of Values of the Wise, though, is that a much deeper and broader understanding of a concept as important and sophisticated as this. If you want to really know what a value means, the dictionary definition will be a bit thin. However, ingenuity quotes from a wide variety of individuals, from different cultures, times, and places, is just what you need to really appreciate the phenomenon. A few examples and insights, as well as a multitude of unique quotations about ingenuity, are the goals of this blog.Read More
January 1st, 2018
Albert Einstein said: “The more I study physics, the more I am drawn to metaphysics.” It is an interesting, integrative approach to knowledge, wisdom, and facts about the nature of the universe and mankind. Jiddu Krishnamurti and David Bohm also famously sought to bridge the gap between physics and metaphysics. This blog is a brief summary of the issues and the dialogues had between the Princeton physicist and the Indian philosopher. Several Einstein quotes are also presented. The goal is to better envision integration, transcendentalism, insight, and wisdom.Read More
December 24th, 2017
An ode to emotion, vision, gratitude, fulfillment, joy, and contentment. Much of what makes life really worth living:
To write a thoughtful poem;
To give help when sorely needed;
To seek and find elusive faith;
To have really succeeded.
December 1st, 2017
As this stanza shows, this poem is an attempt to discover the true nature of my existence, my being, my self.
Is there one constant, a part always the same?
Something I would take from one reality to another?
Who shall I thank, or conversely, who to blame?
Do I owe God, chance, society, freewill, or my mother?