In This Issue
Editorial: Introduction to Mental Training by Richard Trowbridge
Online Course on the Virtues: Mercy and Forgiveness
New Essay: Wisdom, Leisure, and Choices by Walter Moss
New Essay: Introduction to Psychology and Wisdom by Richard Trowbridge
New Online Course: Knowing How You Know by Lee Beaumont
Exemplars of Wisdom: The Wisest People Who Ever Lived
West Side Salon for Philosophy and the Future
Wisdom Research: University of Chicago - Empathy, Mindfulness, and Practice
Wisdom Page & Futurodyssey Archives
Quick Links
Tom Lombardo
Director of The Wisdom Page & the Center for Future Consciousness 

Join Our Mailing List
View Previous
Wisdom Page Updates
Wisdom Page Updates
August, 2013

This Month's Highlights  





Included in this month's issue of the Wisdom Page Updates are:  

  • Guest Editorial: Introduction to Mental Training by Richard Trowbridge 
  • Online Course on the Virtues: Mercy and Forgiveness   
  • New Essay: "Wisdom, Leisure, and Choices" by Walter Moss
  • New Essay: "Introduction to Psychology and Wisdom" by Richard Trowbridge  
  • New Online Course: "Knowing How You Know" Lee Beaumont   
  • Exemplars of Wisdom: The Wisest People Who Ever Lived 
  • Update on West Side Salon for Philosophy and the Future 
  • Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago - Empathy, Mindfulness, and Practice        
  • Wisdom Page and Futurodyssey Archives 


Guest Editorial:
Introduction to Mental Training

Richard Trowbridge
Wisdom Page Advisory Board Member  

The process of developing as a complete human is similar for all. However, each of us has unique gifts and circumstances, and each is in a unique place in the journey. Just as with physical growth, mental development is a natural process. However, very few humans get very far in the process. They have no idea what complete human development is.
A look at the daily news, and a consideration of history, demonstrates clearly that in regard to complete cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual maturity, our species is at a very low level. The poor thinking, undeveloped potential, wasted lives, poorly chosen values, oppression, addictions, and childish level of intellectual development are incredible. Very few humans even care. They are satisfied to fulfill basic needs and unquestioned desires. Cognitvely, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, they are children. This goes for political, business, and educational leaders as much as for the rest of us. Again, a look at the daily news confirms that this is so.

 "If a man could understand all the horror of the lives of ordinary people who are turning round in a circle of insignificant interests and insignificant aims, if he could understand what they are losing, he would understand that there can only be one thing that is serious for him--to escape from the general law, to be free. What can be serious for a man in prison who is condemned to death? Only one thing: How to save himself, how to escape: nothing else is serious."

V. I. Gurdjieff, quoted in Peter D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977, p. 364

If you want to be free, it will require enormous self-discipline and effort. It requires daily practice in activities such as paying attention, controlling discursive thought, overcoming deep-rooted behavior patterns, listening sensitively to faint internal and external messages, reasoning and reflecting maturely, developing concentration, and the ability to spend time with ourselves without external distractions.  
Values you have been told are important and good will be recognized as trivial, or even pathological. Humans value external things--for example money, power, esteem, appearance--far more than they value their own full human development. External things will never lead to full human development. Far from it: they will guarantee that you never attain your full cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual potential.
Because the training required is difficult--there is a reason why there are many more physical fitness centers than mental fitness centers--it is important to find ways to motivate yourself to make the effort. What is your stimulus? Even egotistical or material motivations are fine as long as they lead you to the point where you go beyond such incentives. Gandhi was motivated to become a great human in large part by his reaction to being humiliated by racist discrimination. He didn't stop with making his ego feel better. Find your own spur.

In regard to the self-discipline required, one of the great runners of the 20th century, Emil Zatopek, said "Do something once and nothing happens. Force yourself to do something a thousand times and you are training more than your body. Is it raining? It doesn't matter. Am I tired? It doesn't matter. At this point self-discipline is not an issue." Engaged in mental training, you are an athlete of human potential.
You will realize that the body is like a jar. You are the energy that channels through the body. This energy goes far beyond the body. The body will soon wither and die; the energy is deathless. You are all things, because all things are connected. The ego is only an organizing principle.
In fact, everything you do can be a step towards higher consciousness. You will find that working on your consciousness is the most fulfilling thing you can do. Living from the higher mind becomes your source of satisfaction and meaning.

Addendum: A Mental Training Center

In order to create an inviting mental training center, in my view (there are no doubt many ways--although from the number of mental training centers now in existence you would not know it), it is necessary to:

1. Have a simple, clear, straightforward program,
2. Be highly proficient ourselves.
3. Be totally committed.
4. Be able to communicate the program clearly and invitingly.
If any of you are interested, send me Rick Trowbridge at ( your address, and I will mail you a copy of the pamphlet "A Quiet Mind: Controlling Discursive Thought, Cultivating Pure Awareness".

This is something I have been working on for a little over 20 years, and so have a good deal of experience, mostly without success, in promoting it. However, I have learned a lot and the time is now. My model (mutatis mutandis) is the great Australian running coach Percy Cerutti, who had these steps down. He demanded very hard work, a very simple diet, and a Spartan lifestyle. He trained champions.

Anything beyond these four requirements is gravy. It cannot be the same old "self-help" rhetoric. It is demanding mental work and it takes a lot of time.

More to come on the "Quiet Mind" next month.

Online Course on the Virtues:  
Mercy and Forgiveness

"The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice."


Continuing our online course on the virtues, this months virtue is mercy the virtue of forgiveness. It is the decision to stop hating and to renounce vengeance. It is about your choice, not their choice.

Mercy does not nullify the evil, and it does not give up the fight against evil; it is your refusal to be drawn into evil, to add to the hate, or to continue the violence.

*  *  *  *

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.

Leland Beaumont

New Essay:
"Wisdom, Leisure, and Choices"
by Walter Moss


Another superb article by Walter Moss - both well written and well researched. Although, given the title of the article, its focus might seem rather narrow, the article contains an excellent general discussion of practical wisdom, prioritizing values, and making wise choices.

Read the Essay.

  New Essay:
Introduction to Psychology and Wisdom
by Richard Trowbridge


An informative review of psychological research on wisdom, along with a thought-provoking discussion of contemporary and classical conceptions of wisdom.

New Online Course:
Knowing How You Know
Lee Beaumont

" How do you decide what to believe? How do you distinguish between fact and opinion? When you hear a claim, how do you assess the reliability of the sources? What do you consider to be a reliable rather than and unreliable information source? How do you gather and assess evidence for or against some proposition? If some trusted authority supports a particular belief and direct evidence you see disputes that belief, how do you resolve this discrepancy? Are your beliefs well-founded and consistent?

This course will help you explore these questions and develop your own well-considered rules for deciding what to believe. These rules are called your theory of knowledge, and when you have developed your own theory of knowledge you will finally know how you know."

Lee Beaumont

See the Course.

Exemplars of Wisdom
The Wisest People Who Ever Lived


Sports fans have no trouble identifying the most skilled athletes in their chosen sport. They study these exemplars of the sport to learn and improve. There are, in fact, lists of historical figures with the highest estimated IQ's (usually including at the top of the list individuals such as Goethe, Leibniz, Leonardo da Vinci, and John Stuart Mill.) There is no reason those of us who seek to become more wise should not know who the wisest people are so we can study and learn from them.


Lee Beaumont, one of the Wisdom Page Advisory Board members, as part of his online course on wisdom, has created a working list of notable "exemplars of wisdom." Any list of the wisest people who ever lived, of course, can be criticized both for its inclusions and omissions, but we thought it would be a stimulating and educational activity to thoughtfully consider who might be added to such a list and why.


As readers, what contemporary or historical individuals would you add to the Lee's list? Who would you remove from the present list? Please email your suggestions with the reasons for your choices. We will keep readers updated on new nominations to the list in future issues of the Wisdom Page Updates.  

To get the process moving, I (Tom Lombardo) would nominate the philosopher Baruch Spinoza as an addition to the list. My reasons for nominating him include his personal and intellectual courage in the face of adversity, his deep understanding of the human mind, his livelong dedication to combat superstition and ignorance, his cosmic perspective on life, his philosophical compassion for understanding the human condition, and perhaps most of all, his admirable determination to personally live an ethical and wise life consistent with his philosophical principles. Spinoza died at the age of 44; one does not have to be "old" to be wise.

Thanks to Lee Beaumont for proposing this activity, and writing a good portion of the above.

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. 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 weave together philosophy and the future.

The first two months we discussed 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.

Our last two meetings we have been intensively involved in Jim Holt's excellent best selling book Why Does the World Exist?, which addresses in great philosophical and historical depth the question of "Why is there something rather than nothing?" One fascinating dimension of our dialogue has been how participants have wanted to focus on the meaning, value, and validity of the question itself, rather than the various answers to the question that Holt reviews in the book. (There are at least two dozen relatively distinctive answers to the question covered in the book.) Our group is a real bunch of philosophers, for sure.

We will next be turning to, at our August 20th meeting, Ray Kurweil's new book How to Create a Mind, and from there to Lee's Smolin's Time Reborn.

There is a $5.00 nominal charge for attending Salon meetings through the entire remaining 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 if you have any questions.

Wisdom Research: University of Chicago
Empathy, Mindfulness, and Practice


Essays and research reports in this month's issue of
Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago focus mindfulness, empathy, emotional regulation, and "Can practice make you wiser?" One can read the articles and subscribe to the regular newsletter on the website.

Futurodyssey &
Wisdom Page Updates:
Newsletters and Archives

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: Rick Trowbridge's guest editorial on mental training, new essays by Rick and Walter Moss on psychology and wisdom and leisure and wisdom, a new online course by Lee Beaumont on "knowing how you know," our new activity of nominating candidates as exemplars of wisdom, an update on the 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.

Tom Lombardo