Personal Growth

Personal Growth


Where Can a Seeker Find Their Truth?

truth November 20th, 2022

Psychology has met with great success
Analyzing and systematizing…
But can theories and statistics reveal
What really lies deep in the heart of man?

In this blog, I use the poetic form Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare and John Milton favored as a vehicle to explore the themes that so interested them: blank verse. In this poem, I try to think through how one can confidently find what it is they seek: one’s truth, meaning, fulfillment, and other values.

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A Nightmare About America

America November 13th, 2022

While jogging at sundown one day in April 2003, I had a very moving experience, one that may indeed have bridged my conception of the spiritual and the worldly. My wandering mind juxtaposed my impression of American Indian culture, spirituality, worldview, and morality with the current state of affairs and mentality in European-American culture. I experienced a combination of seemingly coincidental events that struck me as conveying great meaning: that we may come to face a startling reckoning for our legacy and lifestyle.

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How to Find Happiness in Modern America

happiness October 18th, 2022

Attitude is everything, so they say. There is truly something to that. According to one strain of research, our happiness is about 50% “determined” by our genes. There is little we can do to stray very far from our “set point” level of happiness. A death will bring us very low, and that “new car smell” will give us a happiness bump for days, perhaps weeks. A promotion will engender some greater satisfaction, but it’s effect, too, will fade (perhaps only leaving a somewhat larger paycheck and potentially greater stress associated with increased or different responsibilities). The point is, If genes account for 50% of one’s level of happiness, what does that leave us with? This is a blog about psychological research, applied philosophy, and values and virtues such as personal growth, free will, and responsibility.

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Inquisitiveness and Lifelong Learning

a person engaged in lifelong learning October 3rd, 2022

I’m a big “lifelong learning” guy, meaning I believe that education that Americans receive in high school and college, is not only often inadequate, but misguided, and in all casesmerely the beginning of education. In general, I believe in the power and the virtue of having an interest in educating oneself, in being inquisitive, and in looking for the truth (vs. what feels good or fits with one’s ideology).
This is a blog in favor of lifelong learning, curiosity, intellectualism, and education. It’s important for the mind; it’s helpful for the brain; it’s desperately needed for societal improvement!

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Aristotle’s View of Humanity’s Highest Aspirations

humanity's highest aspirations September 29th, 2022

Aristotle is the grandfather of ethics and human flourishing; his book The Nicomachean Ethics has been a classic read in philosophy and ethics courses at universities since about 340 B.C.E. He studied with Plato and is largely credited with inventing logic and natural science. In this blog, I will share a brief outline of Aristotle’s first section entitled “The Human Good”, including a few quotations about humanity’s highest virtues.

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What is Socratic Dialogue?

Socratic dialogue July 17th, 2022

“In order to improve yourself, Socrates insists, you have to know yourself,” said philosopher Judith Barad. Socrates hasn’t been around since ancient Athens, Greece, but the method of inquiry and self-examination he pioneered is still valid and has a lot to recommend it. “Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from the heavens and establish it in the towns and introduce it into homes and force it to investigate life, ethics, good and evil,” according to also-significant Roman orator Cicero. “Socrates’ method was to go about, as he said himself, ‘cross-examining the pretenders to knowledge and wisdom,’ and by the cross-examination, showing them that they were in error, that what they supposed they knew, they did not know,” noted the luminary Mortimer Adler. This blog is about Socratic dialogue – how to appreciate it, and what it can do.

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What Can Values & Virtues Do in Dark Times?

July 12th, 2022

Someone recently asked me what my “main take-away” is, my most distilled version of my message. In other words, what am I thinking about when it comes to Values of the Wise, my 2022 book on wisdom, considering the state of the world, and based on all the readings I’m doing these days.

What follows is a concise encapsulation of what is on my mind and in my heart when I think about personal growth, and what psychology and philosophy mean to me:

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Dealing with the Challenges and Pain of Life

challenges and pain June 14th, 2022

Wisdom is a complex topic. If you look it up in the dictionary, you will get a paper-thin definition—correct perhaps, in as far as it goes. What I tried to do in my 2022 book on the subject is to go beyond mere definition to metaphorically painting a picture of the phenomenon. In this blog, I will get into one aspect of wisdom: what I might term an efficient perception of how the world works, what humans are like, and how we can best cope with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” as Shakespeare put the vicissitudes and the turbulence we each face in life. This is existentialism; personal growth; the development of the self.

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What is the Nature of Human Nature?

what is the nature of human nature June 11th, 2022

Conventional wisdom says that human beings are selfish, tribalistic, violent, greedy, and so on. There is plenty of evidence for this when one looks at the sordid, dark history of humankind. We are talking of course about human nature—what people are and how we tend to behave as a whole, by and large, over time.
This blog explores the nature of human nature.

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Managing and Integrating Emotion is a Part of Wisdom

managing and integrating emotion June 8th, 2022

This blog offers some high points from the second chapter of the book Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought (2022). The chapter involves managing and integrating emotion, emotional intelligence, integrating emotion with intellect, using both halves of the brain (figuratively, more than literally)—all in an effort to be wiser and live with more self-control, happiness, and satisfaction.

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