In This Issue
Editorial: Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the Issues at the Core of Ethical Decision-Making by Bruce Lloyd
Online Course on the Virtues: Gratitude
New Essay: Exploring the Potentiality of the Nigerian Mind by Stephen Awoyemi
New Essay: What Philosophy Ought to Be by Nicholas Maxwell
New Online Course: A Quiet Mind
Exemplars of Wisdom Update: New Additions to The Wisest People Who Ever Lived
New Dissertation: Words from the Wise by Drew Krafcik
New Essay: Wisdom Writers: Franklin, Johnson, Goethe, and Emerson by Walter Moss
Wisdom Day - Sajid Khan
Wisdom Graphic by Lee Beaumont
Wisdom Research: University of Chicago - Wisdom and Evil, and the Measurement of Wisdom
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
September, 2013

This Month's Highlights  




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

  • Guest Editorial: Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the Issues at the Core of Ethical Decision-Making by Bruce Lloyd  
  • Online Course on the Virtues: Gratitude     
  • New Essay: "Exploring the Potentiality of the Nigerian Mind: The Power of Self Awareness, Intention, and Reflectivity in a Disadvantaged Society with a Personal Note on the Value of The Wisdom Page" by Stephen Mufutau Awoyemi.
  • New Essay: "What Philosophy Ought To Be" by Nicholas Maxwell 
  • New Online Course: "A Quiet Mind" by Lee Beaumont and Rick Trowbridge   
  • New Ph.D. Dissertation on Wisdom: Words from the Wise: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of Nominated Exemplars of Wisdom by Drew Krafcik  
  • Exemplars of Wisdom Update: New Additions to The Wisest People Who Ever Lived  
  • New Essay: "Wisdom Writers: Franklin, Johnson, Goethe, and Emerson" by Walter G. Moss    
  • Wisdom Day from Sajid Khan 
  • Wisdom Graphic by Lee Beaumont 
  • Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago - Empathy, Mindfulness, and Practice        
  • Wisdom Page and Futurodyssey Archives 


Guest Editorial:
 Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the Issues at the Core of Ethical Decision-Making
by Bruce Lloyd
Wisdom Page Advisory Board Member   

The objective is simple: 'Better decision-making'. The only issue is that there are so many different views over what we mean by 'better'. At the core of all decision-making is the need to balance power with responsibility, as the vehicle for resolving the 'better' question.

Why is that so difficult? Power makes things happen, while our sense of responsibility determines the trade-offs we make between our perception of our self interests and our perspective of the wider interests of others. Our values are essentially reflected in the way we use power.

Moreover, not all change is progress, and there are, inevitably, differences in how different people interpret what they mean by 'progress', and these differences are at the heart of most of our decision-making difficulties.

Exploring the concept of wisdom can provide invaluable insights into how to achieve the most effective balance between power and responsibility, as well as how we incorporate ethics into our decision-making. Wisdom is central to what our values mean in practice.

Wise decision-making, inevitably, focuses on the  moral/ethical dimensions of our choices and this a vital element in every decision we take. Hence it is not surprising that we find that the comments we might define as wisdom are essentially comments about the relationship between people, their relationship with society, and with the universe as a whole. These statements are generally globally recognised as relatively timeless, as they are insights that help us provide meaning to the world about us.

Unfortunately, there appears to be a paradoxical gap between how critically important this area is in all our lives, and the fact that it seems to be almost totally ignored in futurist and strategic thinking, knowledge management, and even ethics literature.

Another paradox is that we appear to be spending more and more time focusing on learning information, or facts, that have a relatively short shelf life, and less and less time on knowledge that overlaps with wisdom and that has a long shelf life. Why is that? What can we do about it?

In recent years we have seen considerable effort to move people from the idea of 'working harder' to 'working smarter'. But what is really needed is to move beyond 'working smarter' to 'working wiser'. We need to move from 'The Knowledge Society' to 'The Wise Society'. And, the more we move along that progression, the more we need to recognize that we are moving to a situation where the important issues primarily reflect the quality of our values, rather than the quantity of our physical effort. If we want to improve the quality of our decision making, the focus needs not only to be on the quality of our information but, even more importantly, on the 'right' use of that information. (It is a relevant aside to mention that Western society appears to be obsessed with growth measured by GDP, which is a quantity measure with no quality dimension, which can - and does - lead to many unfortunate distortions.) While it appears to be relatively easy to recognize wisdom on paper, the important issue is to be wise in practice.

Stakeholder analysis can help understand the map of the power - responsibility relationships within the decision-making processes. All decisions require trade-offs and this involves judgement between the interests of the various stakeholders, within a framework of a genuine concern for the long term, and the wider interest. How often do we seem to be either obsessed with technology, or so focused on the short-term that the issue of wisdom appears to be virtually ignored? Are we really focused on what is important, rather than on just what is easy to measure?

If we want to manage complexity successfully, and make progress in the world today, we have to start by getting the simple things right. This needs to be based on more effective understanding, and use, of accumulated wisdom. Unfortunately, all too often problems arise precisely because we haven't got the simple things right in the first place. This includes the need for a greater emphasis on sharing knowledge, rather than the more traditional concept of 'Knowledge is Power', as well as the need to combine that approach (of sharing knowledge) with being sure that we start by asking the right questions.

Values are implicitly involved in all decision making. And much of what we are doing at the core of knowledge management is attempting to make the discussions about the values dimension more explicit. It is through making information/knowledge more explicit that we can improve the effectiveness of our learning processes. The evidence suggests that there is much more agreement across all cultures and religions about fundamental human values (and wisdom) then is generally recognised.
Why are we interested in ethics and the future? The answer is, simply, that we are concerned with trying to make the world a 'better' place. But for who? And how? To answer both questions we need to re-ask fundamental questions: Why do we not spend more time ensuring that the important messages that we have learned in the past ('wisdom') can be passed on to future generations? How do we ensure these messages are learned more effectively? These are critical strategy questions, as well as being at the very foundation of anything we might want to call 'The Wise Society'. This focus naturally overlaps with the greater attention being given to values and ethical related issues, and 'the search for meaning', recently in management/leadership literature.

I hope I have not given the impression that I know what this illusive concept of 'wisdom' actually is? Or how we can pass it on more effectively? Or what the answer is to all the ethical dilemmas we currently face, or will face in the future? All I am arguing is that we urgently need to give the whole subject of wisdom much more serious attention in management literature than has been the case in the past.  If we cannot take wisdom seriously today we will pay a very high price for this neglect in the years ahead.

We need to foster greater respect for other people, particularly those who have views, or reflect values, that we do not agree with. This requires us to develop our capacity to have constructive conversations about the issues that divide us and that, of itself, would go along way to ensure that we improve the quality of our decision making for the benefit of all in the long term.

This approach requires understanding and integrating the relationship between power and responsibility with a greater emphasis on the more responsible use of power, which is at the core of a wisdom based approach. Such an approach would enable us both improve the quality of the conversations and dialogue that is so vital in the management of our decision-making processes, as well as enable us to improve our ability to evaluate more effectively the ethical issues themselves, today and in the years ahead. We need to recognise that, overall, wisdom is a very practical body of knowledge with an incredibly useful contribution to make to our understanding of the world. Such an approach would help us all take 'better' (wiser) decisions, lead 'better' lives, and experience wiser leadership. If we see leadership as primarily a values-driven activity, that is associated with the quality (not size) of our decisions, we can begin to have confidence in a better future for us all, driven by wise leadership.

Some of the issues identified in this editorial are explored in more detail in:

Power, Responsibility & Wisdom: Exploring the Issues at the Core of Ethical Decision-Making, Constellations, IMASE Quarterly Newsletter and Journal, Vol 3, No2, July - September 2012, p59-71. Read Essay.

Dr Bruce Lloyd is Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management, London South Bank University

Online Course on the Virtues:  

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend."
Melody Beattie

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
John F. Kennedy

Continuing our online course on the virtues, this months virtue is gratitude. Gratitude is the virtue of rejoicing in what is. It is expressing the feeling of joy we get from whatever it is that brings us joy. When you are grateful, it is impossible to also be hateful, angry, or fearful.  Gratitude cannot be requested, demanded, or coerced, it can only be given. It is a gift, not an exchange. We can enjoy gratitude every day by becoming more aware of the many simple pleasures in life.

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls."

*  *  *  *

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:
Exploring the Potentiality of the Nigerian Mind: The Power of Self Awareness, Intention, and Reflectivity in a Disadvantaged Society with a Personal Note on the Value of The Wisdom Page
by Stephen Mufutau Awoyemi.


A personal and inspiring essay on the importance of wisdom, self-awareness, and self-responsibility for the people of Nigeria and their future, written by one of our most faithful readers, a native of this African country.

Read the Essay.

 New Essay
What Philosophy Ought To Be
 by Nicholas Maxwell



"The proper task of philosophy is to keep alive awareness of what our most fundamental, important, urgent problems are, what our best attempts are at solving them and, if possible, what needs to be done to improve these attempts."

From one of our Wisdom Page Advisory Board Members, Nicholas Maxwell

Read the Essay.

New Online Course:
A Quiet Mind
Lee Beaumont and Rick Trowbridge


Inspired by Rick Trowbridge's Guest Editorial last month and Rick's pamphlet "A Quiet Mind: Controlling Discursive Thought, Cultivating Pure Awareness," Lee Beaumont has created a new online course "A Quiet Mind."

To quote from the course,

"A quiet mind, and human wholeness, are available through controlling discursive thought and developing nondiscursive perception. Like learning to walk or to talk, using the mind well is a matter of patient repeated efforts. This course provides a simple method for controlling discursive thought; and for making nondiscursive awareness your primary perspective, through which discursivity is guided in creating a flourishing life and a flourishing Earth."

See the Course.

Exemplars of Wisdom Update:
New Additions to
The Wisest People Who Ever Lived

Lee Beaumont, one of the Wisdom Page Advisory Board members, as part of his online course on wisdom, created a working list of notable "exemplars of wisdom." Last month we sent out a query and challenge to readers of The Wisdom Page to nominate additional people, besides those originally identified, to also include on the list. Both Tom Lombardo and Walter Moss sent in nominations, which Lee has now added to his list. The new people included on the list are: Baruch Spinoza, Carl and Paula Sandburg, Andrei Sakarov, E. F. Schumacher, Anton Chekhov, and Dorthy Day.

Repeating our challenge from last month, as readers, what contemporary or historical individuals would you add to Lee's 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.  

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

New Ph.D. Dissertation on Wisdom
Words from the Wise: A Qualitative and Quantitative Study of Nominated
Exemplars of Wisdom

by Drew Krafcik

Recently completed dissertation study, involving the use of an extensive array of quantitative and qualitative assessment tools to determine the personal qualities of exemplars of wisdom. The study found, among other things, that exemplars of wisdom "are humble, spiritual, mindful, insightful, tell the truth, and are open to experiences. They have meaningful, long-term relationships with mentors and loved ones. Exemplars are deeply influential in the lives of others and have very high life satisfaction."

Read the Dissertation.

New Essay:
Wisdom Writers: Franklin, Johnson, Goethe, and Emerson
by Walter G. Moss


As the author states the main concern of this essay is to demonstrate how four prominent men, living in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, valued and greatly respected the capacity of wisdom. Another well-researched, thoughtful, and intellectually engaging essay by Walter Moss. Though the focus is primarily on how these four figures understood and pursued wisdom, the essay is highly relevant to our general understanding of wisdom.


Read the Essay.

Wisdom Day Announcement
Sajid Khan

From Sajid Khan, one of our readers and advocates for the central importance of wisdom:

"Wisdom Day is Coming! Wednesday, October 02, 2013 (Gandhi's Birthday).

We Need Wisdom Day to Spread the Word that a Wise Society Must Now Become a Reality. Wisdom is Selflessness, Which Can be Cultivated in the Young and the Old

On Wisdom Day celebrate wisdom and spread the word that the whole society can be made wise.

Wisdom Day needs to be celebrated again and again through out the year. Every country, group, corporation and school can celebrate Wisdom Day on their own founders birthday, or on their most significant person's birthday.

The significance of Wisdom Day cannot be over emphasized  Not only is Wisdom Day needed to bring home the realization across the globe that wisdom is now known, and that it must be cultivated as wisdom is not the crowning glory of human intelligence; it is an essential ingredient of human intelligence. Human intelligence is incomplete without regular intelligence and emotional intelligence. Both enhance each other and the lack of either drags the other down.

Not just the common individuals need to wake up to the true nature of wisdom, even experts in and out of the government need to realize that wisdom/emotional-intelligence is the foundation of a happy, healthy and prosperous society.

The human self is like a bicycle where its two wheels are intelligence and emotional intelligence. We fix, maintain and constantly improve the wheel of intelligence while we neglect and ignore the wheel of emotional-intelligence/wisdom. Intelligence is developed through educating the mind and emotional intelligence is developed through educating the brain. We currently neglect educating the brain and as result 80% of the brains are emotionally challenged. Emotionally challenged behavior is the main cause of all this mess in the world. It need no longer be like this any more.

We can start educating the brain by making sure the future generations receive the right upbringing by the new parents. Those youngsters who have had a negative upbringing will have their emotional imbalance addressed from early on by trained teachers. Older students and young and old adults who need their emotional imbalance fixed will be given wisdom therapy."

Wisdom Graphic
by Lee Beaumont

As part of Lee Beaumont's work in the Global Circle, he created with the help of other contributors the following word cloud graphic of the "world we want," a graphic that highlights the importance of wisdom and human virtues. It is an interesting and arresting visualization of the conceptual and existential territory of wisdom and virtue. Note that "from a distance" the graphic has the quality of being like a fractal.

Wisdom Research: University of Chicago
Wisdom and Evil, and the Measurement of Wisdom


Essays and research reports in this month's issue of
Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago focus on wisdom and evil, and the measurement of wisdom: content, reliability, and validity of five different assessment measures. 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--a very big issue indeed:

A guest editorial on power and responsibility by Bruce Lloyd, the online course on virtues highlighting gratitude this month, a new essay by Stephen Awoyemi from Nigeria on self-awareness and self-responsibility, Nicolas Maxwell's new paper on the purpose of philosophy, as a follow up to Rick Trowbridge's editorial last month, a new online course on "the quiet mind," an extensive new study on exemplars of wisdom by Drew Krafcik, an update on Lee Beaumont's list of exemplars of wisdom, a new essay by Walter Moss on wisdom writers, Sajid Khan's announcement to celebrate Wisdom Day, a wisdom graphic by Lee, and an update of wisdom research from the University of Chicago.


Tom Lombardo