In This Issue
Guest Editorial: An Appreciative Inquiry About Wisdom by Anne Adams
Wisdom and the Future: An Update
Online Course on the Virtues: Simplicity
Essay: The Flourishing Earth Philosophy by Richard Trowbridge
Essay: Some Words on Wisdom by Michael Molyneaux
The Global Circle, the Wisdom Index, and the Collective Wisdom Index
Wisdom Research: University of Chicago - Age, Leadership, and Thinking, Fast and Slow
Wisdom Page & Futurodyssey Archives
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Tom Lombardo
Director of The Wisdom Page & the Center for Future Consciousness 

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Wisdom Page Updates
November, 2013

This Month's Highlights  




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

  • Guest Editorial: An Appreciative Inquiry About Wisdom by Anne Adams 
  • Wisdom and the Future: An Update
  • Online Course on the Virtues: Simplicity
  • New Essay: "The Flourishing Earth Philosophy" by Richard Hawley Trowbridge
  • New Essay: "Some Words of Wisdom as We Anticipate the Collapse of Urban Civilization" by Mike Molyneaux
  • The Global Circle: The Wisdom Index and the Collective Wisdom Index by Lee Beaumont
  • Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago: Wisdom of the Aged, Wise Leadership, and Thinking, Fast and Slow      
  • Wisdom Page and Futurodyssey Archives 


Guest Editorial:
An Appreciative Inquiry About Wisdom
by Anne Adams
Wisdom Page Advisory Board Member   


Dear Reader, 

I invite you to reflect on your own relationship with wisdom as you read this editorial.

The poet, T.S. Eliot, wrote these words in his poem, The Rock, in 1934.

"Where is the life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"

Noise to Wisdom

Many scholars highlighting our development of consciousness have presented an evolutionary continuum from noise to wisdom (pp.201-205). 




Noise is undifferentiated bits of non-information.  
Data is symbols, differentiated bits of unrelated information (know-nothing) that link to other categories of data rendering it useful Information (know-who, what, where, when). 
Analysis yields information about the structure of something and how it works, which creates knowledge (know how).
Examining a system as part of a larger whole provides a synthesis, which yields understanding (know why). 
Wisdom is systemic, holistic, integral (know - who, what, where, when; how; why; nothing; everything.) It is a uniquely human expression of awareness and continued exploration of the integral and holistic nature of life, e.g. the interior, (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and cultural domains) and the exterior, (behaviors, systems, environment,) the individual and collective, the material and quantum, the cosmic and terrestrial, etc.

In returning to Eliot's questions above, where is the wisdom?

I invite us all to an Appreciative Inquiry about wisdom. An Appreciative Inquiry is a way of approaching anything, (people, organizations, ideas, experiences, etc.) with a mood of wonder, curiosity and reflection that is open to discovering.....what is not yet known, and what is valuable to uncover and perceive. 
When we inquire into the evolutionary continuum above, what might we say about noise in our world? How much noise do you experience in your world? Take yesterday and notice from the time you woke up until you went to sleep, how much time did you share your world with noise? This includes the thoughts in your own head, other people's speaking, the sounds around you, the screens speaking to you as you travel, etc. Are we even aware of the amount of noise we encounter every day? 

What about data, the symbols in the process of meaning making? How much data are you introduced to every day? What is your relationship with data? Are you data driven?  Is your world about measuring everything to assure success? Information is everywhere...

We are in the age of Information. Are you aware of how the information you have around you influences every aspect of yourself, your life? Can you be anywhere without being surrounded by information? If yes, where might that be?

Take a moment and reflect on the influence noise, data, and information have on your consciousness, on your life?

In the next phase of our Appreciative Inquiry, we begin to look into our knowledge, connecting the dots of information sufficiently to know how things work and how to produce results in certain domains. In what areas have you chosen to be knowledgeable? How has your knowing affected your consciousness?  How has it contributed to your life? In your reflections, do you notice that there might be an attachment to a particular way of knowing? How do you use your knowledge with people who do not share your same knowledge? How does it feel to be with others whose ways of knowing are similar to yours? 

Understanding, (knowing why) comes with a willingness and an ability to see beyond one's own knowledge, and experience oneself as part of a larger whole, e.g. viewing reality more objectively. One understands when one can see/experience that information creates knowledge. The understanding process questions the quality of information and resultant knowledge. Understanding implies one is examining the system in which one is living/thinking/believing and recognizes it as part of larger whole, e.g. a global worldview.  In your life, are there areas/people you find difficult to understand? Are there particular situations in which your better understanding of something or someone would make a difference to your health, happiness or well-being? Do you perceive that your understanding could contribute to creating the future more out of your commitment and choice rather than an automatic reaction?

Wisdom is systemic, holistic, integral; it includes multiple ways of knowing, e.g., know - who, what, where, when; how, why; nothing, everything.) The Wisdom Page has many valuable offers of definitions, which I invite you to view. I visited The Rosewood Report and Monika Ardelt's article, which includes cognitive, reflective, and affective personality qualities.
Richard Trowbridge recognizes the emotional, social, and spiritual domains as essential to wisdom expression. Tom Lombardo proposes, "Wisdom is the highest expression of self-development and future consciousness. It is the continually evolving understanding of and fascination with the big picture of life, of what is important, ethical, and meaningful, and the desire and creative capacity to apply this understanding to enhance the good life, both for oneself and others... flourishing." Each author points to areas that if developed would increase our capability to experience and express wisdom in our world. 


Please stop and reflect about what you think/feel wisdom is? In your life, think back over the last week, and assess the quality of wisdom in your life... your own expression of wisdom. Do you want to be wise? Do you want to be known as wise? Who are the people in your life you consider wise? How do you relate to them? How would you assess the demonstration of wisdom in our world? our businesses, government, media, entertainment industry, schools, universities, our system of education?

I have been engaged in my own Appreciative Inquiry about wisdom. I found the discernment of the evolutionary phases from noise to wisdom useful to being able to objectively step back. I think our world is overwhelmed and overly identified with noise, data, information and knowledge.  People are stuck in the mire of it. How might we distinguish ourselves from the noise, data, information and knowledge magnet sufficiently to recognize ourselves as part of a much larger whole? This whole provides a missing context through understanding and wisdom.  Understanding and wisdom come with some requests of and requirements from us. If we desire the ability to understand and bring wisdom to our world, there are practices and ways of being that we can embrace. I believe most people if asked would say our world could use more understanding and wisdom, more understanding, wise-acting people. Understanding and wisdom require something from us.

Access to Wisdom

A willingness and ability to see/go beyond our own knowledge; to step outside our world and view it more objectively
To experience ourselves as being part of something much larger than our own noise, data, information and knowledge

To question the system in which we are living/thinking/believing and recognize it as A way of knowing, not THE way of knowing; to be aware of the quality of information that is creating the knowledge we use to assess people, life, etc. 



Use a head set and listen to classical music, for example.

Use wax earplugs, which completely fill your ears, to remove the sounds from your world from time to time.


Meditate, spend time in silence; participate in silent retreats.



Notice how much time you spend with data and information; keep track for one day.

How discerning are you about the data and information that you encounter every day?

Clean out your drawers, office, computer, etc. of all the data and information that you are no longer using, or that is no longer relevant.

Pay attention to the radio, television, movies, books, media, with which you engage....what kind of information/knowledge are they creating for you? Do they invite a quality of understanding from you?


Have an inquiry: What is the nature of my knowing?

What themes/patterns can you identify about how you use what you know? 
Practice discerning how you know what you know.

Pay attention to the radio, television, movies, books, media, with which you engage....what kind of  knowledge are they creating for you?  Do they invite a quality of understanding from you? Do you spend time participating with information/ knowledge areas that cause you to question what you know...or validate what you know?


Participate in a cafe dialogue with people you do not know well, or with whom it would be value to understand their point of view about something, or The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation.

Practice understanding people more deeply...what is the source of their point of view?


Watch programs and read material that promote understanding.



Take part in conversations and organizations that promote an integral, holistic approach.

Share in a powerful story about the universe and about the astronauts and their experience of viewing earth from space.
Wisdom and the Future: 
An Update


Last month I announced that I would be combining the Wisdom Page Updates and the Center for Future Consciousness online newsletters into one monthly publication. The idea seemed good for a number of reasons, and I discussed the proposal with a number of the Wisdom Page Advisory Board members. 

Well, the long and the short of it is that I decided not to do it. As I stated last month: Yes, wisdom and the future are intimately connected. I still believe that wisdom can be described as the capacity to create a good future. But when it came to thinking out how to synthesize the two newsletters, it turned into a complicated affair, even to the point of trying to determine what to name the new newsletter. Thank you Lee for your help, but there wasn't any catchy, lyrical, active phrase that worked in my mind. 

This month's virtue is simplicity, and in practicing this virtue, sometimes two is simpler than one. Keeping two relatively distinct newsletters sits easier in my mind. 

Another quality of wisdom is the capacity to admit when you make a mistake (or are about to). Better to walk away at the altar of marriage then to force a union that might not be in the best interests of either party. 

So, for now, the newsletters will stay distinct. Better to think of them as complementary, rather than some simple unity. But I do have another idea emerging in my consciousness regarding a potential partnership of The Wisdom Page and the Center for Future Consciousness. This time though, I am going to let the idea really take form, test its wings, and allow it to take to flight before making announcements. 

The future is an adventure and it is wise to embrace adventures. 


Tom Lombardo

Online Course on the Virtues:  


"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
Leonardo da Vinci

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
E. F. Schumacher


Continuing our online course on the virtues, this month's virtue is simplicity. Simplicity is the virtue of removing the extraneous to reveal the essence. Simplicity is a direct alignment with reality and it is the opposite of false, excess, and indirect.  Simplicity is not simple-mindedness, nor is it simplistic. Simplicity is not about a life of poverty, but a life of purpose.


"Simplicity is the glory of expression."
Walt Whitman

*  *  *  *

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: 
"The Flourishing Earth Philosophy" 
by Richard Hawley Trowbridge

A critique of modernist philosophy and science and its negative results in the world, and an argument for a holistic philosophy and the central importance of learning to control the mind, as the key to wisdom and a flourishing earth in the future. 

New Essay: 
"Some Words of Wisdom as We Anticipate the Collapse of Urban Civilization" 
by Mike Molyneaux

A multi-faceted critique of modern urban civilization with practical and action based proposals for developing a better, wiser way of life in the future. 

The Global Circle: 
The Wisdom Index & 
Collective Wisdom Index
Lee Beaumont

The Global CircleBringing Wisdom to Life - "consists of philosophers who believe that we should tackle global problems, practically, as well as intellectually, concerning the future of humanity and the planet."

Lee Beaumont, an advisory board member of the Wisdom Page, as well as member of the Global Circle, recently created and posted on the Global Circle, both a Wisdom Index and a Collective Wisdom Index. 

As Lee states regarding the Wisdom Index, 

"Where is wisdom coming alive? How can we best assess the level of wisdom of an individual, a group, an organization, an institution, a nation or the world? Developing a reliable wisdom index can provide visibility of where wisdom is thriving and where it is lacking-based on objective measures. Various Individuals or groups striving to increase their wisdom could use the index to assess their current status, identify specific areas for improvement, and measure progress along the journey toward wisdom."
See the Wisdom Index
Continuing further, on the Collective Wisdom Index, Lee states, 

"A family of indices is being developed to assess the various manifestations of wisdom we encounter and aspire to. A variety of indices is required because wisdom is difficult to define, observe, characterize, assess, and measure. Some collection of indices may eventually make it possible to measure a useful WQ - a Wisdom Quotient for individuals and groups. This particular index is the first in the series developed for assessing collective wisdom-the wisdom that emerges and the outcomes that result when a group of individuals gather for some purpose." 


See the Collective Wisdom Index


Wisdom Research: University of Chicago
Wisdom of the Aged, Wise Leadership, and Thinking, Fast and Slow

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."  
Alfred Lord Tennyson 

Essays and research reports in this month's issue of
Wisdom Research at the University of Chicago focus on wisdom of the aged, wise leadership, and an interview with the author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman. One can read the articles and subscribe to the regular newsletter on the website.

Futurodyssey &
Wisdom Page Updates:
Newsletters and Archives

Beginning last fall (2012), 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 guest editorial by Anne Adams on an Appreciative Inquiry into wisdom, the online course on virtues highlighting simplicity this month, new essays by Richard Trowbridge and Michael Molyneaux on wisdom, problems with our contemporary world and mindset, and flourishing in the future, Lee Beaumont's Wisdom Index and Global Wisdom Index, and research and essays from the University of Chicago on wisdom, leadership, the impact of age, and thinking, fast and slow.


Tom Lombardo