Wisdom and the Future
The Center for Future Consciousness &
The Wisdom Page

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This Month's Highlights
September, 2015

Included in this month's issue of Wisdom and the Future:   
  • Editorial: The Evolution of Well-Being and the Good
    - Tom Lombardo
  • "What Matters": Human Rights - Leland Beaumont 
  • Conscious Elders Network - Recommended by Anne Adams
  • The Arrival of Emotech - Eric Kingsbury
  • Recommended Website: Evidence-Based Wisdom - Charles Cassidy
  • Why and How to Upgrade Human Collective Wisdom - Christer Nylander
  • The Millennium Project: Executive Summary, Global Futures Intelligence System, and Global Challenges on Education and Learning - Jerome Glenn
  • Values, Education, and the Future - Wendell Bell
  • Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
    By Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner - Reviewed by Lee Beaumont
  • Living Wisely - Lee Beaumont
  • Archive Pages for Center for Future Consciousness and The Wisdom Page 
The Evolution of Well-Being and the Good: Part I: A Review of  "In Search of Coherence: Sketching a Theory of Sustainable Well-Being" by Timo H�m�l�inen

Tom Lombardo

After giving my keynote presentation on "The Psychology of the Future" at the World Conference of Futures Research 2015 in Turku, Finland in June, one of the conference attendees, Timo H�m�l�inen, introduced himself and told me that he had recently published an extensive article on well-being that he thought I would find interesting and resonant with various themes in my talk. He told me that my writings on future consciousness were cited and discussed in his article.

H�m�l�inen, a Fellow in Strategic Research for the Finnish Innovation Fund in Helsinki, Finland, sent me his article soon after I returned to the USA; indeed, I discovered that the article, "In Search of Coherence: Sketching a Theory of Sustainable Well-Being," was a chapter in a new book that H�m�l�inen had co-edited with Juliet Michaelson, titled Well-Being and Beyond. Not only did the article look impressive in its scholarly depth, but perusing through the table of contents of the book I noticed other provocative sounding chapters, including one by Maureen O'Hara and Andrew Lyon titled "Well-Being and Well-Becoming: Reauthorizing the Subject in Incoherent Times." H�m�l�inen was kind enough to send me a copy of this article as well. (Complete references are included at the end of this editorial.)

I told H�m�l�inen that after reading his article I would give him some feedback, but as I read it dawned on me that given the great substance and depth of his publication, the article warranted an extended "book review." Moreover, I also read O'Hara's and Lyon's article, which further built upon various themes pertaining to the nature and psychology of well-being. I realized that in discussing Timo's article it made sense to bring in O'Hara and Lyon's article as well.

Adding further to my study, I discovered in the references listed in the latter article an intriguing sounding publication titled "Happiness Donut: A Confucian Critique of Positive Psychology" by Louise Sundararajan. I was able to locate on the web the "Donut" article and read it. Since the concepts of well-being, happiness, and the good that I presented in my talk (as throughout my writings, Lombardo, 2011a) are greatly inspired by positive psychology and the work of Martin Seligman, the "Donut" article definitely perked my interest, and further enriched my thinking on the whole issue of well-being and the good. As Sundararajan questions in her article, does positive psychology (as espoused by Martin Seligman in particular) provide a viable, convincing, and globally balanced theory of psychological well-being and the good? Hence, starting from Timo's article, I eventually read, took notes on, and thought through three new related articles on the themes of well-being and how to define and realize the good life (and the good future)--which were the opening questions presented in my keynote talk in Finland. (See my slide show at the Conference Website.)

Reviewing all three articles in this issue of the newsletter would produce too lengthy an  editorial, hence I first review Timo's article in this September issue, and I plan to review the latter two articles in the next editorial of the newsletter.

By way of introduction, the relevance of these articles to the topics of wisdom and the future is: Well-being and the good are frequently identified as the overarching goals of wisdom; in fact, leading a life of wisdom is frequently seen as the highest expression of psychological well-being (and psychological functioning) and the good life. Hence, our most preferable or desirable future should be a life of wisdom, with wisdom providing both the substance and the means for realizing the good future. Within my review of these three articles I highlight their relevance to the themes of wisdom and the good future, as described above, and of special note, I compare the main points of these articles with my theses that wisdom is heightened future consciousness and that the good future (or the good life) is flourishing in the flow of evolution.

"What Matters"
Lee Beaumont 

Introduction to What Matters

Wise people seek a life well lived. Our recent series on the virtue of the month provides moral guidance, but we must also focus our efforts on what matters most. While the virtues guide us in doing things right, focusing on what matters guides us in doing the right things. Therefore, we now begin a monthly exploration of What Matters. Each month we will explore one topic that suggests how you should spend your time to attain fulfillment and live a meaningful life. What is most significant to you, your family, your community, nation and the world? How does what matters most change as your needs are met, as you gain experience, and as you grow and mature? Series topics will address surviving, thriving, recreation, success, significance, transcendence, and avoiding distractions and dead ends.

*  *  *  *  * 

Last month we began the series on what matters by addressing physiological needs. While these provide a foundation for basic survival they are only the first step in achieving what matters. This month we focus on human rights  because all human beings are born with equal and inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms. Human rights are your rights; understand them and ensure they are met for all humans.      
Leland Beaumont
Conscious Elders Network -
Recommended by Anne Adams

Anne Adams, an advisory board member of The Wisdom Page, recently recommended the following website and associated network,The Conscious Elders Network,
which she believes may have some "wonderful synergies" with The Wisdom Page.

As an introduction, from the home page of the network's website,

"Within our society, elders' talents and experiences are largely untapped; their collective wisdom gained over decades of living lies fallow. This is an unfortunate waste of invaluable human resources that could be applied to addressing the serious societal and environmental problems that we face. In our nation, we see significant shortcomings in our institutions, both governmental and economic. The very systems we depend upon to address our social justice and environmental problems are in grave need of revitalization.

As conscious elders, we inherently know that we can do much better. We have the benefits of time, talent, experience and know-how to guide making the needed transformations. Our vision is to initiate a cultural shift wherein conscious elders reclaim our place in providing education, wisdom, and guidance within our communities. We become catalysts of a social movement in which all generations collaborate in evolving changes for our common betterment. In so doing, we find a new and rewarding sense of meaning in our lives, and we create a new elder culture in the process."

See the Grandparents Climate Action Day Webcast.    

The Arrival of Emotech 
Eric Kingsbury


A recent thought-provoking blog post from Eric Kingsbury on the scientific and technological enhancement of the emotional dimension of the human mind:

"From the rising popularity of nootropics -- those smart supplements and neuro enhancers designed to improve cognitive functions and emotional states -- to the emergence of wearable devices that promise altered moods, it's clear that EmoTech, or emotional technology, is an emerging industry worth watching.

I'm defining EmoTech here as any technology that has as its end goal the alteration of human moods or emotional states. Of course, we as humans have been using chemical substances, from coffee to beer to cannabis and other natural drugs, for thousands of years. But what's new is the degree to which we are beginning to understand the brain and how to hack our own biology. It's not just about quick fixes of stimulants or depressants, but electricity, magnetism, and more."

Eric Kingsbury

Evidence-Based Wisdom 
Charles Cassidy


Charles Cassidy, a mathematics teacher and physics graduate, based on London, on the recommendation of Nick Maxwell, recently got in touch with me on email, telling me about his work and ongoing study on wisdom. Charles has a website: Evidence-Based Wisdom.

Having a strong scientific background, Charles is particularly interested in the scientific study and measurement of wisdom. Although there is one tradition is wisdom literature that wisdom is ineffable and can not be measured or quantified, Charles is exploring the counter position that wisdom is an empirically meaningful and measurable reality. See his newest blog post: "3-Dimensional Wisdom: Can Wisdom be Measured?" The reader can have a look at Robert Sternberg's books on wisdom and the University of Chicago studies to get a sense of various ways in which wisdom can be scientifically defined and empirically measured. 

On his website, Charles has a very clean and succinct working definition of wisdom: "The understanding and action that leads to optimal life experience." Of course, we need to clarify what is "optimal life experience," a concept resonant with the idea of "well-being," which is not so simple to understand and define. Part of being wise is probably understanding what these ideas mean.

Still, after our initial email exchanges, Charles and I had a very stimulating and enjoyable "face-to-face" encounter and dialogue on Skype. (The wonders of modern technology.) Charles is full of life, energy, wonder, inquisitiveness, with a sparkle in his eyes -- all qualities that, in my opinion, contribute to the development of wisdom. Though presently teaching mathematics, Charles is getting primed to start a new life (or life chapter), exploring where he might go to scientifically study wisdom. He is a great new connection and contributing colleague to The Wisdom Page and the Wisdom and the Future newsletter.  
Why and How to Upgrade Human
Collective Wisdom 
Christer Nylander


Recently I received an email from Christer Nylander, from Lund, Sweden, informing me of his website, the Human Advancement Program, and his free downloadable ebook (on his website) Why and How to Upgrade Human Collective Wisdom.

Two short reviews and intros about the book:

"We urgently need greater collective wisdom to avert disaster, and begin to make progress towards as good a world as possible. This book spells out graphically just how vital it is that we enhance our collective wisdom globally, and it indicates how it might be done." Nicholas Maxwell

"A most comprehensive account of the challenges facing humanity, with many practical suggestions for re-education at all levels of society. This is important work that needs to be taken seriously, and has the potential to initiate some radical changes. I hope it is implemented by countries around the world." Peter Russell

The Millennium Project:
Executive Summary, Global Futures Intelligence System, & Global Challenges on Education & Learning
Jerome Glenn

In my opinion, Jerome Glenn is one of the best speakers in the world on the topic of the future, especially global futures. "Jerry" is animated and engaging, highly intelligent and colossally informed, and you never come away from one of his presentations without a host of ideas buzzing around in your head.

What is particularly valuable regarding his talks is the realism, factual content, and comprehensive scope contained in his presentations. As the CEO of
The Millennium Project, Jerry brings into his presentations a wealth of up-to-date information on those most important measurable parameters defining the "state of the world" and the "state of the future." What are the central challenges facing humanity? How much progress are we making on addressing these challenges? Every year, drawing upon a vast network of professionals and "nodes" around the world, information on key global issues is collected, summarized, and analyzed and published in the annual State of the Future report. The Millennium Project website is one of the "Recommended Websites" on the Center for Future Consciousness Home Page.

The annual report is without question one of the best resources on the contemporary conditions and state of affairs across the globe and our capacities and prospects regarding the future.


Jerry recently shared on email communications with members of the World Futures Studies Federation a number of new online information resources and updates:

Read a new introductory review of "The State of the Future 2015-2016."

Read the Executive Summary of The State of the Future 2015-2016. The Executive Summary is available in seven different languages. See the website.

Read the short introductory description and view the new video on the "Global Futures Intelligence System."

Of special relevance to the Wisdom and the Future website, read the newly released summary of Global Challenge Nine: Education

"How can education make humanity more intelligent, knowledgeable, and wise enough to address its global challenges?"

Values, Education, and the Future
Wendell Bell


Wendell Bell, who is one of the most respected and best known futurists in the world, and is also a very dear friend, recently posted on Academia.edu an excellent article on the intimate connection between futurist thinking and ethics. Given the close connection between theories of ethics and theories of wisdom, as well as, as I have argued, between wisdom and future consciousness, Wendell's article is very relevant to the themes and topics examined in Wisdom and the Future.

From article abstract,

"Individuals, organizations, and whole societies can be viewed as value-driven decisional systems. The values that drive them are inherently future-oriented and their analysis is an unavoidable aspect of futures studies. How can such values--and the preferable futures that they define--be validated?"

Read the entire article.

Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
By Philip Tetlock & Dan Gardner
Reviewed by Lee Beaumont

"Summarizing 20 years of research on forecasting accuracy conducted from 1984 through 2004, Philip Tetlock concluded 'the average expert was roughly as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee.' This book describes what was learned as Tetlock set out to improve forecasting accuracy with the Good Judgement Project." Lee Beaumont

Read the entire book review.

Also, have a look at the excellent website (with in class videos)
Edge Master Class 2015: Philip Tetlock: A Short Course in Superforecasting

Living Wisely
 Lee Beaumont


Though I am sure that sometime in one of the previous issues of Wisdom and the Future I included a link to Lee Beaumont's great webpage "Living Wisely," Lee recently sent me the link again, and I thought it was a good way to close this issue of Wisdom and the Future.  Have a look, it's a incredible site full of educational resources. As Lee asks and attempts to answer,

"What are the steps that any of us can take, starting now, to live more wisely?"

Archive Pages for Center for Future Consciousness and Wisdom Page

From the fall of 2012 to the spring of 2014, I published two newsletters: the revitalized and redesigned Wisdom Page Updates and Futurodyssey (the monthly publication of the
Center for Future Consciousness).  Readers
can view  issues of both
newsletters; each  newsletter has an Archive Page. View the View the Futurodyssey Archive Page.

Beginning in June, 2014, the newsletters were combined into one electronic journal that serves both
The Wisdom Page and The Center for Future Consciousness. The Archive Page for this one publication can be accessed at Wisdom and the Future Archive Page.

The reader can subscribe to Wisdom and the Future either on The Wisdom Page or the Center for Future Consciousness Page. See
The Wisdom Page Contact Page
or the Home Page of the Center for Future Consciousness.

That's it for this month

The first of a two-part editorial on the study of well-being; the next installment on "What Matters" covering Human Rights by Lee Beaumont; the Conscious Elders Network; Charles Cassidy and his website "Evidence-Based Wisdom;" a new ebook "Why and How to Upgrade Human Collective Wisdom" by Christer Nylander; a new set of links and information resources from Jerome Glenn and The Millennium Project; "Values, Education, and the Future" by Wendell Bell; a book review (by Lee Beaumont) and website on Superforecasting; and a reminder on Lee Beaumont's Living Wisely.

Tom Lombardo