Wisdom Page Updates
This Month's Highlights
Included in this month's issue of the Wisdom Page Updates are:
- Editorial: An Age of Wisdom - a Futurist Grand Narrative for Humanity by Tom Lombardo
- Online Course on the Virtues: Generosity
- Book Review: The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill by James Scouller - Reviewed by Leland Beaumont
- Toward Wisdom for Copthorne Macdonald by Alan Nordstrom
- Update on West Side Salon for Philosophy and the Future
- Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago - Active Wisdom, Moral Education, and Transformation
Wisdom Page and Futurodyssey Archives
An Age of Wisdom:
a Futurist Grand Narrative for Humanity
Inspired by previous evolutionary and progressive developments in human history, different writers, futurists, and visionaries have called for a collective "New Enlightenment." Advocates of the "New Enlightenment" (such as Walter Truett Anderson, Rick Smyre, and Barbara Marx Hubbard) have identified a set of central tenets that transcend past belief systems, and that fit within a broader futurist vision:
- Reality and knowledge are dynamic and evolutionary (There are no eternal truths; there is no eternal reality.)
- Reality and knowledge are ecological, holistic, and grounded in reciprocities (All knowledge is contextual and relative to observers; all of reality is made up of interdependencies.)
- Knowledge is contingent and reality, including future reality, is possibilities (There is no certain knowledge about the world; and the future is open and not totally determined.)
- Chaos and crisis provoke evolution (Development, at least at times, requires disaster and is provoked by great challenges and problems.)
- Humanity requires a new concept and reality of the self (The ideal of a static self is outmoded.)
- A new evolutionary stage in humanity is emerging (Human nature is not a constant; we are on the verge of a significant transcendent step forward.)
It is noteworthy that these tenets and fundamental beliefs align very well with features of the theory of evolutionary, future-focused wisdom I have been developing in my articles and books, as well as in The Wisdom Page Updates editorials.
Though the "New Enlightenment" concept is inspiring and contains a great deal of validity in its assessment of trends in contemporary thinking, I believe that it is limited in its psychological and philosophical vision of future humanity. The theory of wisdom I have been developing, based on numerous ideas found in wisdom, futurist, and positive psychology literature, seeks to address this gap, providing a more psychologically holistic view that comprehensively addresses the emotional, motivational, personal, ethical, and technological dimensions of humanity. As one general point, the concept of wisdom should envelop the concept of enlightenment; wisdom is the capacity to apply enlightenment to the challenges and goals of life. Hence, although inspired, in part, by advocates of a New Enlightenment, we should broaden and deepen our collective futurist vision, envisioning an Age of Wisdom as our ideal future grand narrative.
One could ask why we need to aspire toward an Age of Wisdom. For one thing, our world problems and challenges (including our contemporary "Mega-Crisis") are primarily ethical, psychological, social, and character related. It is precisely along these dimensions that we need to transform humanity, i.e., to evolve the human mind if we wish to effectively address our problems. One can, of course, imagine technological and economic remedies to our present problems, but even the application of new technologies and monetary resources will need to be guided by wisdom. Gadgets and money alone do not necessarily produce good results.
Aside from addressing the negative aspects of our contemporary world, on the positive side, the concept of an Age of Wisdom provides an inspiring, informed, and transcending vision for all of us. It is an approach vision, hopeful and optimistic about a progressive future, in opposition to the nihilistic, depressive, stagnant, materialistic, and present-focused visions of contemporary times.
One can see an Age of Wisdom as a purposefully realized new evolutionary stage in the human mind and consciousness. As an evolutionary direction for our collective future, an Age of Wisdom points toward self-transcendence and increasing cosmic consciousness. Further, an Age of Wisdom would provide a context for our individual personal self narratives and our individual lives. It would provide an ethical and collective framework in which to give our personal lives transcendent meaning and direction. Contributing to an Age of Wisdom would provide a central "Moral Imperative" for all of humanity.
As I have explained in various articles, the principles of evolutionary, future-focused wisdom can be constructively applied to such present challenges and issues as: personal development; the future of education; the future of humanity and technology (the wise cyborg); love and marriage; ecological consciousness and the future of the environment; globalization; the global mega-crisis and existential threats; future psychological evolution; and even the significance and value of space travel.
Of particular significance is the theme of cosmic consciousness within an envisioned Age of Wisdom. Cosmic consciousness involves connecting the personal, the human, and the earthly (involving personal self-narratives and human/earth-centered narratives) with grand cosmic narratives-to see oneself and humanity within the context of the universe. Our past, as well as our future psychological evolution, can be seen as a general trajectory toward increasing cosmic consciousness (with an ever-expanding understanding in both space and time of the whole). The quest for cosmic consciousness can be found in myth, religion, philosophy, science, and visions of space exploration.
As an expression of the ongoing evolution of consciousness and the human self, our own personal lives (self-narratives) should aspire toward increasing cosmic consciousness.
Moreover, the cosmic theory of evolution, as articulated for example in the writings of Eric Chaisson and Carter Phipps, among many others, provides a scientifically informed, general cosmic narrative. The universe is a dynamic, creative, progressive reality, in which we are situated and participatory. Cosmic consciousness, within such a framework, involves seeing ourselves, individually and collectively, in both the short and long run, as creative expressions and purposeful facilitators of cosmic evolution.
"Evolutionary enlightenment" and "evolutionary spirituality," as such expressions have been recently used (Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber), involve the key ideas of empowering the human mind to purposefully participate in cosmic evolution, to personally identify with the cosmic creative process, and to see such personal identification and contribution as a moral imperative, indeed the ultimate moral imperative. This spiritual approach to life agrees in many ways with the evolutionary, future-focused, cosmic vision of wisdom presented here--it resonates with the futurist vision of an Age of Wisdom.
The future is an act of creation. Even if we do not all agree on exactly what wisdom entails or consists of, I believe we would agree that a future centering around the pursuit and development of wisdom is something towards which we should aspire.
Online Course on the Virtues:
"For it is in giving that we receive."
St. Francis of Assisi
"That's what I consider true generosity: You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing."
Simone de Beauvoir
"Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life."
Continuing our online course on the virtues, this month we study generosity
, the virtue of giving without expecting anything in return. Aristotle describes generosity as the mean between wastefulness and stinginess. Please study the module on generosity, and enjoy performing your own random acts of kindness.
"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."
* * * *
The course includes Instructions for contacting the instructor. In addition, the Wikiversity
platform encourages your participation in improving the course. Comments on each page are welcome on the accompanying "Talk"
page, accessed via the "Discuss" tab.
We want to hear from you.
If you are interested in participating in a forum of active students to discuss assignments and share your thoughts, please let us know and we will work to provide a space for that. Also, we would like to be able to provide conscientious students a completion certificate at the end of the course, but we have not yet decided how best to assess completion. What are your ideas?
We certainly hope you continue to enjoy this tour of the virtues.
Book Review: The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill by James Scouller - Reviewed by Leland Beaumont
A well-researched, deeply thought-out and clearly presented handbook for wise leadership. This book presents a robust model of leadership for the good, based on the concept of leadership presence, with self-mastery at its core. Read the Review
Dedicated to Copthorne Macdonald
by Alan Nordstrom
What human goal is higher than to grow
Toward wisdom and in every instance know
Which choice to make, which road or path to take
Most likely to proceed for goodness' sake?
Discerning what's of value to pursue
And finding how to do what you must do
To make your careful way toward that end
Is what philosophers must comprehend.
As "wisdom lovers" they should show the way
And keep all wanderers from going astray,
Which means avoiding harm and seeking health,
Then finding kindness is the greatest wealth.
Philosophers should strive to bring to light
And put in practice only what is right.
Wisdom Page Advisory Board Member
Update on the West Side Salon for
Philosophy and the Future
Beginning in April I started hosting a new philosophical dialogue group that meets roughly every two weeks on Tuesday evenings from 6 to 8 pm. The location is Sun City Grand, Chaparral Center, Navajo Room, 19871 Remington Drive, Surprise, AZ. Locations may vary for later meetings.
The title "Philosophy and the Future" is intended to cover a very broad range of topics, including all the general issues of philosophy, such as wisdom, the philosophy of mind and consciousness, ethics, and cosmology. On the "futures" end of things, included are the future of science and technology, the human mind, and human society and culture; science fiction scenarios about the future; and space travel and exploration. Often we will weave together philosophy and the future.
The first two months we have been discussing new books under the general theme of "Consciousness and the Cosmos," including Thomas Nagel's Mind and Cosmos,
Christof Koch's Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist
and David Brin's science fiction novel Existence
Future meetings will frequently (though not always) take the form of selecting out other new books (in either philosophy or the future) and discussing them. The next books are the list are: Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist?
, Ray Kurweil's How to Create a Mind
, and Lee Smolin's Time Reborn
This coming meeting, June 4th, we will dive into Holt's book--an excellent and thought-provoking read--which addresses the question of "Why is there something rather than nothing?" Holt's book surveys a number of scientific and philosophical answers to this ultimate question.
In next month's Updates, I will be including book reviews on Koch's and Holt's books.
There will be a $5.00 nominal charge for attending Salon meetings through the entire remaining spring and summer. If you are interested in attending, you can register online
. If you don't get to registering before attending a meeting, come and we will work something out.
You can also register for the Salon on Meet-Up: West Side Salon for Philosophy and the Future
Email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Wisdom Research: University of Chicago
Moral Education, Active Wisdom
Essays and research reports in this month's issue of
Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago focus on
a conference on moral education, a new book on active wisdom and "composing a further life," the transformative power of wisdom and insight, wisdom and failure, and aging, irony, and wisdom. One can read the articles and subscribe to the regular newsletter on the website
Beginning this fall, I began publishing two newsletters: the revitalized and redesigned Wisdom Page Updates and Futurodyssey (the monthly publication of the Center for Future Consciousness). So readers can view earlier issues, both newsletters now have Archive Pages. View the Wisdom Page Updates Archive Page; view the Futurodyssey Archive Page. The reader can subscribe to the Wisdom Page Updates on The Wisdom Page Contact Page; the reader can subscribe to the Futurodyssey newsletter by going to the CFC website.
|That's it for this month: My editorial on "The Age of Wisdom," the online course on virtues focusing on generosity this month, a book review by Leland Beaumont on wisdom and leadership, an update on my Philosophy and the Future Salon, and ongoing wisdom research at the University of Chicago. Thanks for reading the Updates. |
Special thanks to my wife, Jeanne Lombardo, for editing every month all the material I write for inclusion in the Updates.