Virtue & Character

Virtue & Character


A Time of Unprecedented Tribalism in America….

unprecedented tribalism June 21st, 2022

Now is a time of heightened threat, trouble, tribulation, and tumult for America.

We are beset by anxiety, risk, lack of clarity, fear, and in-fighting.

I really worry that we are facing a panoply of dangerous (and often self-created) problems!

Can we rise to the occasion, or will we crumble in the face of myriad threats and internal vulnerabilities? Will we listen to “our better angels,” as Lincoln put it? Or tear ourselves apart as we did in the Civil War?

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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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Wisdom: Who, When and Why?

wisdom: Picard's Specialty? June 2nd, 2022

Who has wisdom? At what age is it likeliest? How can one develop it? What does it look like? Here are some practical characteristics of this challenging concept grounded in the idea that it takes more than just age to develop; it is based more on skill and perception than accumulation of years. If the 60s is the decade wisdom is likeliest, that makes the 20s and 30s virtually impossible to really grasp the nature of and importance of learning (beyond technique, such as how to repair a car or how to administer the law, which is more easily attained at younger ages). As well, a person in their 80s is probably too subject to cognitive decline to be the wisest among us. Though it can be heard “from the mouths of babes,” usually babes just cry, gossip, and whine. Read on to hear what some experts think is likely to result in not just knowledge, but wisdom.

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Wisdom is About Love, Kindness, Altruism & Generosity

wisdom is about love June 1st, 2022

In this blog, I will share some snippets from Chapter One of my new book, Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought (March, 2022). The thesis is that wisdom is about love, kindness, altruism & generosity. These are some of the highest levels of human development, psychological sophistication, and societal progress. So, it is fitting that the first chapter in the book is about these beautiful values and virtues.

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Quotes About Existentialism and Meaning

meaning May 25th, 2022

Meaning, existence, fulfillment, passion, and insight are values and virtues that cohere in some way. They are all relevant to existentialism, a philosophical doctrine that examines man’s existence, state, and nature. Mostly it’s not cheery stuff, but truth and reality often are not. In this blog, I share many of the quotes about meaning that I particularly like, as well as existentialism, living well, freedom, and choice. As you can tell by this first quotation by 19th-century German existentialist Arthur Schopenhauer, this is not a simple or reassuring topic: 

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What Does “Moral Values” Mean?

moral values May 23rd, 2022

Values is a neutral term; one could value relaxation, competition, humor, sexual conquest, helping others, or swindling them successfully (subterfuge and personal gain). It means what it sounds like it means – a value is something which a person holds in high regard, pursues, and even loves. Values tend to include hallmark ones such as truth, justice, humility, goodness, and kindness. In this blog, I explore the idea of moral values, asking what the term means, which values probably qualify as moral values, and how one implements them in one’s life.

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Pithy Quotes by Unitarian Universalists

Unitarian Universalist philosophy May 20th, 2022

I have been looking more and more into the religious/spiritual movement of Unitarian/Universalism. Not sure if you’ve heard much about it. It’s in the category of agnosticism, spirituality, deism, and pantheism as far as being a reasonable, admirable, defensible, humanistic approach to personal growth and community enrichment. I wanted to share a bit about the philosophy (I think that is a decent word to describe this thing – more apt than “religion” or “sect” or something. Perhaps “tradition” or “movement” would be fine, too. To that end, I will quote liberally from the Unitarian Universalist Association website and then I will share a few quotations from prominent (even, famous) U-U thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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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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