November 20th, 2022
Psychology has met with great success
Analyzing and systematizing…
But can theories and statistics reveal
What really lies deep in the heart of man?
In this blog, I use the poetic form Christopher Marlowe, Shakespeare and John Milton favored as a vehicle to explore the themes that so interested them: blank verse. In this poem, I try to think through how one can confidently find what it is they seek: one’s truth, meaning, fulfillment, and other values. Read More
October 3rd, 2022
I’m a big “lifelong learning” guy, meaning I believe that education that Americans receive in high school and college, is not only often inadequate, but misguided, and in all casesmerely the beginning of education. In general, I believe in the power and the virtue of having an interest in educating oneself, in being inquisitive, and in looking for the truth (vs. what feels good or fits with one’s ideology). Read More
This is a blog in favor of lifelong learning, curiosity, intellectualism, and education. It’s important for the mind; it’s helpful for the brain; it’s desperately needed for societal improvement!
September 9th, 2022
There is a saying that passes as folk wisdom: ignorance is bliss. That is, if a person ignores information, facts, and wisdom (and remember that ignore comes from the same root word as ignorance, of course), or is otherwise benighted, misinformed, mentally lazy, or superstitious or biased to an adequate degree, then they will be happier, so it is claimed. Not so! I consider it dangerous, not a route to happiness. What follows are some thoughts I have about what a state of stupidity we humans seem to consistently find ourselves in. It’s a species-wide flaw! Read More
July 28th, 2022
Famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan’s obituary featured the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Bruce Alberts extolling him thusly: “Carl Sagan, more than any contemporary scientist I can think of, knew what it takes to stir passion within the public when it comes to the wonder and importance of science.” The television program Cosmos has been a reliable, interesting, educational experience for me and for millions of others; it’s like Sesame Street for this millennium. If you want to learn more about science—astrophysics, astronomy, geology, and even the history of science—this is the show for you.
I will say a few things about it and share a number of quotes from a diverse group of individuals. Read More
July 17th, 2022
“In order to improve yourself, Socrates insists, you have to know yourself,” said philosopher Judith Barad. Socrates hasn’t been around since ancient Athens, Greece, but the method of inquiry and self-examination he pioneered is still valid and has a lot to recommend it. “Socrates was the first to call philosophy down from the heavens and establish it in the towns and introduce it into homes and force it to investigate life, ethics, good and evil,” according to also-significant Roman orator Cicero. “Socrates’ method was to go about, as he said himself, ‘cross-examining the pretenders to knowledge and wisdom,’ and by the cross-examination, showing them that they were in error, that what they supposed they knew, they did not know,” noted the luminary Mortimer Adler. This blog is about Socratic dialogue – how to appreciate it, and what it can do. Read More
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? Read More
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? Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
June 6th, 2022
I am always on the lookout for a good book, preferably one that features wisdom, quotations, and is both enlightening and challenging!
In this blog, I present some of the quotations I believe represent wisdom from the book Think Again, by Adam Grant. Read More