Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus are very likely two of the greatest unsung heroes in American history – at least, in Jewish history. I watched a documentary about their courageous acts (in 1939), which amounted to nothing less than a full-throated display of magnanimity and altruism. Here is their story. I will also include a selection of quotations about magnanimity by noted Holocaust survivors, human rights activists, altruism researchers, and stalwart exemplars of virtue and honor such as Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Viktor Frankl.Read More
June 25th, 2020
May 11th, 2020
I was just listening to Bravado, one of Rush’s greatest songs. On their 1998 album Different Stages, it really stood out to me (and the mead probably helped!). I wanted to juxtapose the lyrics to it with some thoughts I have. Maybe listen to it live on Youtube or something, it’s quite a piece. Very aspirational and inspiring. The first two lines feature the pithy line, flying too close to the sun.
It is an amazing song about willingness to risk, courage, vision, sacrifice, dedication, love, sorrow, and meaning.
It has me staring out the window, eyes welled up with tears.Read More
July 4th, 2019
“Immanuel Kant defined enlightenment as the human being’s emancipation from ‘self-incurred minority’. Minority is defined as a condition in which one’s understanding is used only under the authority and direction of another, and minority is self-incurred when it is due not to the immaturity or impairment of the understanding, but because it refuses to trust itself and prefers the comfort and security of tutelage to the risks and responsibilities of thinking for oneself” ~ Allen Wood. This quote is about willingness to risk. That is, when not taken to extremes, one of the values of the wise. This blog explores exploration – of the literal and the metaphoric types.Read More
June 5th, 2019
I met a remarkable guy in 2007. He was an entrepreneur, a risk-taker, and a leader. His sense of humor, his dedication to build something wonderful led to us building and running a wonderful diner, named Commonwealth Cafe. Those days of working extremely hard, reaching to come up with the right plan, and having a lot of fun are treasured by me now, though there is also a deep pain. The licks I took on the project and the skills I learned have paid dividends in subsequent years. It isn’t easy to suffer a major loss, but there was so much merit to the Cafe while it was being built, promoted, and run. It was a really soulful and special place. Leighton Hollingsworth will always have a special place in my heart. We both created a bit of heaven on earth, and went to hell and back.Read More
December 28th, 2017
In this blog, I would like to share a story that I think illustrates moral decision-making, self-confidence, willingness to risk, justice, sacrifice, and honor. When I was about 20, I faced a moral dilemma that was difficult, and not without costs. It stands today stands as one of the things I’m proud of about myself, though. In fact, anytime one prioritizes the principle of right, the choice to act morally, and the willingness to risk on behalf of the right and the good, one is really living well. It’s the stuff parables from Jesus or difficult dialogue with Socrates are about. It makes us the best we can be if we ask ourselves what are we prepared to do? and answer with courage and determination.Read More
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:Read More