Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology


Wisdom: From Whence Does it Come?

Does wisdom come only form the mouths of babes? June 17th, 2022

Yikes! Controversial and possibly incendiary topic alert! It’s won’t be that bad. Here is the reason for the title: I published a book of quotations about values and wisdom in 2003. It must have had 1,000-1,500 quotes, just one after another, based on the value the quote represented (e.g., truth, justice, wisdom, passion, etc). No one had any problem with the Emersons, MLKs, John F. Ks, or Helen Kellers, but one person did not like my use of a quote by Hitler. He was Jewish, I imagine, and found the book unpalatable. He wrote me back with something along the lines of: “There is no way I could endorse a book that features a quote by Hitler.” So the questions arise: What is the purpose of wisdom? Could Hitler possibly have hit upon a vein of gold in his otherwise dank and unproductive mine of ideas? Was the professor wise, or foolish? How do we know when someone is imparting wisdom, or dropping a load of bull?

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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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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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Critical Thinking & Wisdom

critical thinking May 8th, 2022

When it comes to wisdom, critical thinking is paramount. This blog explores more about the connection, and references Jason’s latest book Wisdom, in which critical thinking plays a starring role.

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Compassion is an Important Aspect of Wisdom

compassion May 3rd, 2022

In my new book  Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought, compassion plays a major role. In fact, Chapter Four is titled “The Wise Perceive the World with Empathy and Compassion.” This blog is dedicated to describing why I believe compassion is related to wisdom, why that matters, and how we can gain a bit more appreciation for these allied virtues.

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Books About Wisdom, Values & Virtues

books about wisdom April 29th, 2022

Can wisdom be understood, developed, and improved?

Does wisdom really underlie success, fulfillment, and happiness?

What are the characteristics and skills of wise individuals?

Can one be happier and more fulfilled by “loving wisdom”?

Should books about wisdom ideally be secular, or religious in nature?

What do I need to know to successfully put wisdom to use in my everyday life?

Four-time author and philosophical thinker Jason Merchey answers these and many other important questions in his 2022 book, Wisdom

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Meaninglessness and Finding Meaning

meaning of life April 3rd, 2022

This blog is an analysis of the short essay of Richard Taylor’s, “The Meaning of Life”, from his book Good and Evil (2000). Questions of meaninglessness, meaning, will, existentialism, free will, determinism, despair, and hope are touched on. In the end, the questions are asked, what a human is meant for, what makes him truly happy; what makes her have the will to go on? It is an easy argument to follow, and the culmination is fairly hopeful. The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus is integral to the essay. Quotes about meaning bookend it.

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Moral Dilemmas: The Case of the Unabomber

moral dilemmas March 7th, 2022

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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Virtue Ethics: Doing the Right Thing

virtue ethics January 28th, 2022

Virtue ethics is one of the top four or five ethical theories. Ethical theories are ways of organizing information in regard to right and wrong. Typically in science, theories can be shown in just one or two experiments or studies to be “false.” However, when it comes to ethics, it’s a bit more nuanced. The other major theories go by names such as utilitarianism, deontology (duty-based ethics), and religious ethics. Other contenders for the Top 10 include ethical subjectivism, religious ethics, casuistry, and authority-based ethics. Virtue ethics is one of my favorites for sure, and I will share some thoughts and perspectives about it in this blog. In the end, hopefully, the readers gain some appreciation for it, see how it is different from competing ethical theories, and recognize how to “use it” in real life (making ethical decisions, facing moral dilemmas, etc).  

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Culture: Philosophers Kessler & Kingwell Interviewed

culture January 23rd, 2022

I want to discuss culture, not just because it has an academic fascination, but because it’s relevant to the way we live our lives. Many people in America even hybridize cultures— a Mexican American, a white-collar and blue-collar mixed nuclear family, a gay adolescent. This obviously equals certain advantages as well as special disadvantages. My first partner in dialogue is Gary Kessler, Ph.D., who has a Master’s degree in divinity and also a Ph.D. in philosophy. He taught comparative religion and philosophy at the California State University, Bakersfield. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University. I personally know his book, Voices of Wisdom: a Multicultural Philosophy Reader; its Sixth Edition was published in 2006. He’s working on a book called The Dark Side of Religion. Tune in to the interesting discussion of culture, sociology, environmental influence, cultural anthropology, and relativism.

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