Virtue & Character

Virtue & Character


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

Values of the Wise logo June 22nd, 2017

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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A Life of Value: 101 Good Ideas

Living a Life of Value June 18th, 2017

A life of value is a way of looking at oneself and the world that strikes a balance between doing what feels right/what fulfills you and what will benefit others in the world (and the world itself). A life of value is not about being a monk or miser or saint. It is fairer to say that a life of value is what one lives when one feels good, and also does good. It can indeed be a bit unclear just what this concept is, so here is a list of 101 things you can do, starting now, to improve your life. Ideally these simple ideas inspire and challenge. I have divided them up into two categories: more “self-oriented” things (e.g., listening to music or traveling) and more “helpful” things (e.g., write your Congressperson or vote with your dollars).

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Philosophical Books: Three Down-to-Earth Ones

philosophical books June 17th, 2017

Philosophical books often don’t win many prizes. They can be difficult, abstruse, antiquated, or just plain boring. Most of us realize the power and the merit of reading in the field of philosophy, but are wary of picking up a Nietzsche book. Now, I do recommend the readable and fairly wide-ranging book Philosophy for Dummies, by public philosopher extraordinaire, Tom Morris, Ph.D. However, that is only going to take you so far because it is necessarily wide in its breadth. It’s a good “Cliff’s Notes” version of the field of philosophy, but it isn’t as deep in the area of applied philosophy as you are probably needing. That is where Values of the Wise comes in. Read on for more insight into three wonderful, philosophical books that you can really sink your teeth into and get a lot out of. 

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Engaging in Socratic Dialogue

Socratic dialogue June 15th, 2017

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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Altruism Quotes: Help Others, Help Yourself!

altruism quotes June 8th, 2017

You’re passing a homeless person; they look haggard and hungry and tired; you are doing okay in life. What do you do – pass by without making eye contact, make eye contact and keep walking, or stop and give some time or money. Enter altruism quotes! These brief little nuggets of wisdom can facilitate reaching down and pulling out some love, compassion, care, and magnanimity. Sure, one doesn’t want to be a “sucker” and get pulled in by all kinds of money-making schemes, but erring on the side of charitableness and concern for one’s fellow human being is almost never “foolish.” In other cases, altruism quotes would urge one to stop the car when you see a person in distress, trying to get that dog picked up off the streets, or even wading in a flood to help a stranded individual. Whether we are believers in God or self-confident skeptics, altruism quotes can help us to live a life that we can be proud of when the day is done. Here are some favorites:

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Books on Values: Building a Life of Value

one of the best books on values June 3rd, 2017

Values of the Wise has three wonderful, insightful books on values that range from $8 to $20. They primarily use quotations to evoke wisdom and inspiration. They are organized by value: in other words, the chapter on Truth & Justice features an introductory essay, eighteen pages of some of the best and most unique quotations on the subjects, and then a closing essay. The book is very accessible because you can flip to any page and start reading; there is no need to start at the beginning and read it like a novel. One doesn’t wear all of one’s jewelry (or clothes) every single day, and the same is true for the wisdom present in this book that Diane Zehr, Pastor of Florence Christian Church in Florence, KY describes with the following words:

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Frederick Douglass Quotes: Master of His Fate

Frederick Douglass Quotes June 2nd, 2017

Daniel L. Katz, in the interesting book Why Freedom Matters, quotes the letter escaped slave and then-abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote to his former master, Thomas Auld. He writes: “For audacious correspondence, it’s hard to beat Frederick Douglass’ (1815-1895) letter to his former master.” He ain’t lyin’! This is one of the most interesting things I have ever read. If you are interested in rare or unique Frederick Douglass quotes, you’ve come to the right place. Think about it: a slave endures the full measure of cruelty that was the custom of the upper class in the South for hundreds of years, then bravely escapes, makes his way north, evades capture, learns to read, marries, has four children, becomes a great writer, and grows into one of the most famous and eloquent and forceful abolitionists.

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Dedication Quotes: Keep on Keepin’ On!

dedication quotes can inspire May 31st, 2017

Many compelling proverbs and quotes about dedication have made it through the centuries. In fact, as human beings persevere, try new solutions to old problems, and just try to get by in a challenging world, dedication quotes can help us to “keep on keepin’ on.” If you need a little push to keep your axe to the wheel, as it were, look no further than Values of the Wise’s Wisdom Archive. Twenty-five thousand quotations strong, thirteen years in the making, and from fiercely diverse and unique sources, you can’t do any better. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, some motivation, or insight, dedication quotes are useful and inspiring. Fitness, work, love, and child-rearing are typical areas of life where one needs to apply the values of dedication, stick-to-itiveness, perseverance, endurance, and commitment.

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Responsibility Quotes: Stand Up Tall!

responsibility quotes May 28th, 2017

Responsibility is one of the values that wise persons respect and try to embody. It feels kind of like a duty, a point of honor, a “grown-up” thing to do to exercise responsibility as we walk through life. It’s not always easy to “keep your axe to the wheel” and take care of business. Responsibility quotes can be helpful though, because they can provide insight and inspiration for doing the right thing, getting things done, and behaving in a manner that your mom would be proud of! Here are a few thoughts on the subject, followed by an array of responsibility quotes and proverbs by a diverse grouping of individuals from various times and cultures. 

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Risk: Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Risk can be taken too far May 26th, 2017

The following quotations are about risk. Indeed, willingness to risk is one of the values of the wise: the values which wise persons seek to cultivate within themselves and aspire to. You may have heard the oft-quoted dictum, “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” It indicates that risk, if calculated and taken with a full measure of responsibility, can be a wise move because the payoff is greater than to always “play it safe.” One of the best quotations on risk comes from Grace Hopper: “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.” It’s a fierce elevation of trying hard, asking that woman out, trying to get the raise you’ve been earning, and going ahead with chemotherapy. “Fortune favors the bold,” Terence said centuries ago. But don’t go too far, or be foolhardy. Aristotle taught that virtue lies between two extremes: for example, courage is wise but cowardice is not – and neither is rashness or foolhardiness. The boldly courageous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche astutely summed this angle up with this classic quote on risk:

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