Quotations

Quotations


Knowledge, Education & Wisdom in Colonial America

knowledge November 17th, 2021

Philosopher/psychologist and distinguished man of letters, Daniel N. Robinson, says much about knowledge, wisdom, and education in the citizenry and the founders at the time of the Declaration of Indpendence and the crafting of the U.S. Constitution. It is very enlightening, and he takes pains to connect the state of affairs then with our horrible political, social, and educational predicament that is so clearly exemplified by corporations, Donald Trump as President, and social media bickering today. It’s not a pretty picture, but one worth taking a long, hard look at. I then follow up his incisive commentary on the Founders with quotes about knowledge, wisdom, and education in modern America. Recall that education is not just about keeping the economy rolling: “The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty,” wrote the main architect of the Constitution, James Madison. And this is very important; as modern progressive author, Thom Hartmann puts it, “We need to begin paying attention to the wisdom of the Founders and Framers [of the United States] if our country is to survive.”

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Humor Quotes: Lighten Up, Friends!

Humor quotes make us relax, laugh, and appreciate September 25th, 2021

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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Liberty and Truth are Allied Values

truth requires liberty to flourish September 7th, 2021

Albert Einstein said, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

I found John Stuart Mill’s ideas on the freedom-truth relationship very enlightening and interesting when re-reading his book, On Liberty. Frankly, I hadn’t thought much about that exact relationship even though I have studied liberty and truth to some degree over the years. In some sense, I knew that a closed society or a cult would not facilitate the search for truth – that much is obvious. But in America, for example, the idea that truth is only apprehensible under conditions of openness and freedom and individuality is worth sustained consideration. What follows is a summation of Mill’s ideas about this relationship, and a little commentary from myself and relevant luminaries.

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Altruism in Action: Helping Others is a Virtue

altruism September 1st, 2021

Altruism is one of the most intriguing virtues. I have always found it to be “upon high,” very worthy, truly excellent. It has been called “selfishness in reverse,” and is basically when a person is helpful to another when “no benefits are expected or offered in return.” It sometimes involves self-sacrifice (for example, if you give money to someone, you don’t have that money any longer, or if you run into a burning building, you may be injured). It’s human beings helping human beings, and choosing to allocate valuable resources in such a way that one does not expect to keep a lion’s share of it. Is it real? How does is mesh with capitalism and the “rugged individualism” that the wealthy and powerful have fomented in this country since the very beginning? Is love really the answer?

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Engaging in Socratic Dialogue

Socratic dialogue August 27th, 2021

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

Values of the Wise logo August 12th, 2021

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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Quotes About Passion and Enthusiasm

passion July 24th, 2021

If you are excited about life, passionate about yourself and your future, and enthusiastic about your job and your interests, you probably are living in a way that the wise would counsel. Life is long, and it can be very difficult to go through the motions if your heart isn’t in it. Those who experience a joie de vivre more days than not are probably not only happier, but more successful. You might have heard the famous inventor and scientist Thomas Edison wrote: “Success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” That’s a wonderful way to encapsulate the fact that having an idea is important, but the follow-through, the work required to make a novel plan come to fruition, is where the wheat is separated from the chaff. What follows are a dozen inspirational quotations that can help inspire the kind of gusto required to get stuff done, create new approaches to problems, and stick to a task until it’s complete.

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American Treasure: Helen Keller’s Values

Helen Keller July 3rd, 2021

In this day and age of political unrest, questionable media, and discrepant values, it is a breath of fresh air to read the beautiful words of optimism and understanding. I am referring to the wonderful woman and hero of girls and handicapped individuals everywhere, Helen Keller. She evolved from someone who truly knew hardship and adversity to one who successfully focused her time and energy into the worthy pursuits of growth, happiness, love, and compromise. She pushed her own (and society’s) boundaries and became someone great. Who was Helen, and what can we learn from her?

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Lightheartedness and Humor are Virtues

lightheartedness relaxes the mind May 20th, 2021

Justice, honor, and courage are certainly considered virtues. However, lightheartedness (mirth, joviality, relaxedness) is a great way to live life. These states of mind and attitudes don’t have the gravitas and long history of such cardinal virtues as wisdom, peace, and rationality, but consider the following: “What else can so enjoyably exercise the heart and boost the mood? What else can serve so well as both a social signal and a conversational lubricant? What else can bond parents to children, siblings to one another, and teach powerful lessons about staying alive in a tooth-and-claw world? Laughter may seem like little more than evolution’s whoopee cushion, but if scientists studying it are right, we owe it an awful lot of thanks for some surprisingly serious things” ~ Jeffrey Kluger. Read on to find out more insight and inspiration for living a life that is as fulfilling, refreshing, and rewarding as one of study, industry, money-making, or righteousness. 

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The Power of Positivity, Optimism & Enthusiasm

positivity May 15th, 2021

Hara Marano, in a Psychology Today article, notes that psychological researchers seem to feel that human beings have a pull toward the dark, upsetting, and disturbing: a “negativity bias.” Perhaps indeed our brains are wired to focus on, feel, and resonate with negative events such as slights, insults, and crises. It is probable that positivity feels good, but negativity really engages the brain to mount coping mechanisms. Well, so be it. The fact is that overcoming that negativity bias and engaging in optimistic thinking, glass-half-full mindsets, and hopeful action are better for us. Gratitude and mindfulness are better ways of being. Just as eating too much food or prejudice are remnants of our evolutionary past, but are not typically helpful in our modern age, having a negative attitude and “sweating the small stuff” probably isn’t as adaptive or functional as “the power of positivity.” Herein you will find many inspirational quotes about optimism, sanguineness, and positivity.

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