Wisdom and the Future
The Center for Future Consciousness &
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This Month's Highlights
March, 2016

 
Since the last issue, I have collected or have had submitted to me a huge and diverse assortment of provocative new items on wisdom and the future. I've also been busy writing, with various ideas percolating through my mind. Pulling this all together, this month's issue is a rather large "cosmic cornucopia" of stimulating thoughts, visions, and educational resources. And thanks to all the active contributors into this month's issue.
 
Included in this month's issue of Wisdom and the Future:         
  • Editorial: "Olaf Stapledon: Wisdom in the Cosmos" - Tom Lombardo
  • "What Matters: Dignity" - Leland Beaumont 
  • "Wisdom-Directed Empathy in Politics and Everyday Life" - Walter Moss
  • Stephen Awoyemi - New Wisdom Page Advisory Board Member
  • Interview with Bruce Lloyd - "On Wisdom in Business"
  • New Wisdom Verses - Alan Nordstrom
  • New Online Courses: Socratic Methods and Understanding Fairness - Leland Beaumont
  • The Flourishing Earth Training Center - "Free Your Mind" - Rick Trowbridge
  • "Manifesto for Friends of Wisdom" - Nicholas Maxwell
  • University of Chicago Interviews on Virtue, Moral Psychology, and Wisdom
  • Global Grand Challenges: The Singularity Hub Space Series
  • New Book Review - How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain - Leland Beaumont
  • Creating a Book Reading List on Wisdom - Leland Beaumont
  • Recommended New Books on Wisdom, Evolution, and the University
  • Recommended Articles on Anticipation and the Future
  • Recommended Website/Newsletter: The Conversation "Consumerism and Happiness"
  • An Entertaining and Provocative Classic Video
  • A Fan Letter on Wisdom and the Future and First Book Review on The Psychology of the Future
  • Archive Pages for Center for Future Consciousness and The Wisdom Page 
 
Editorial:
Wisdom in the Cosmos
Tom Lombardo


      


One feature on The Wisdom Page is the Profiles of Wisdom section, containing essays on wise people from the past. My new book, The Psychology of the Future (to be published later this year), includes a section on Olaf Stapledon, whose integrative breadth of vision encompasses futures studies, science fiction, and philosophy, and whom I believe was an exemplar case of a wise person. Having just finished reading a biography of Olaf Stapledon (Robert Crossleyʼs Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future), I am even more convinced that Stapledon was a twentieth-century figure of great wisdom and immense philosophical significance. Below is my commentary on Stapledon from my new book. (There will also be an extended commentary on Stapledonʼs science fiction and futurist thinking in my other new book, Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future.) Stapledon synthesizes the two key themes of our newsletter: wisdom and the future.

*  *  *  *  *  *

"Beside his [Stapledonʼs] stupendous panorama, his vision of worlds and galaxies, of cosmos piled upon cosmos, the glimpses of the future that Mr. Wells and others have provided for us are no more than penny peepshows." Christian Science Monitor

"Probably the most powerful work of imagination every written." Arthur C. Clarke

There are numerous examples of science fiction stories and novels that realize a high level of cosmic consciousness, inclusive of placing future humanity (or our descendants) within a broad and encompassing evolutionary vision of the universe. I am going to highlight just one writer and two of his novels, since perhaps more than anyone else in the genre, he realized a cosmic evolutionary vision of humanity, mind, and consciousness. Moreover, his cosmic perspective is intimately connected with the ideals and aspirations toward wisdom and enlightenment, and also exemplifies a powerful relationship between the personal and the cosmic. Stapledon clearly illustrates why it is essential to see ourselves within the context of the universe, and in particular, an evolutionary universe.

         

Among many other books, the British philosopher and science fiction writer, Olaf Stapledon (1886-1950) wrote two grand futures narratives, Last and First Men (1930) and Star Maker (1937), that were probably the most expansively cosmic visions of the future ever produced in Western literature. Although not clearly connected narratively, with the latter as the sequel of the former, Last and First Men speculates on the future evolution of humanity extending two billion years into the future, culminating in the extinction of our species, while Star Maker, adopting a bigger canvas in both space and time, describes the evolution of intelligence in our universe, extending out roughly fifty billion years into the future. At the end of the latter novel, Stapledon ascends to a multiverse perspective on existence, including contact with the "Star Maker," the ultimate Creator of an indeterminately immense array of universes, including our own.

In Last and First Men, we follow the evolution of humanity through eighteen different species, as humankind spreads through our solar system, first settling Venus and then, much later, Neptune. We follow the ebb and flow of human civilizations, while Stapledon chronicles diverse and imaginative ways in which future humanities attempt to purposefully evolve the species-through biophysical technologies, psycho-social practices, and the application of philosophical ideals.

In Star Maker, we move into outer space, where Stapledon chronicles the emergence of multiple forms of planetary intelligence and types of social order. We witness, too, the evolutionary struggles, involving both leaps forward and collapses backward, as conscious minds and advancing civilizations move toward first galactic communities and eventually a universe-wide collective mind in search of the "Star Maker." In the grand finale of the saga, the integrated consciousness of our universe achieves a bedazzling and humbling enlightenment on the creative forces of existence.



What we experience through these two novels is supremely visionary grand futures narratives of humanity, the universe, and beyond, in which both cosmic consciousness and expansive temporal consciousness are extended outward to the limits of imagination and understanding, at least in so far as any modern writer has ever envisioned.

Read the entire article.  


"What Matters"
Dignity
Lee Beaumont 

 
     

"What Matters" Series


"Wise people seek a life well lived. The 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 have begun a monthly exploration of What Matters. Each month 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."

*  *  *  *  * 

Dignity
   


     

With survival ensured, we can safely begin to thrive and enjoy abundance.  This month we study Dignity -- the quality of worth and honor intrinsic to every person. You are worthy simply because you exist.  Learn to respect and preserve the dignity of all humans, beginning with you and extending to all others.  

       
Leland Beaumont
Instructor

"Wisdom-Directed Empathy in Politics
and Everyday Life"
Walter Moss

 

"In earlier works, I have identified empathy as an important value and written about wise people like Dorothy Day who have amply demonstrated it. Other scholars who have focused on the meaning of wisdom such as Tom Lombardo, Copthorne Macdonald, and Richard Trowbridge have also included empathy as one of wisdom's attributes. In this essay, we will examine empathy in much more detail, explore the multiple ways it relates to wisdom, trace its historical development, and indicate the many areas of human life, including politics, where it is important, now and in the future."

Walter Moss

Thanks to Walter again for another excellent essay, combining scholarship and personal wisdom.

Read the essay.



Stephen Awoyemi 
New Wisdom Page Advisory Board Member





Stephen Awoyemi has been a very engaged reader and contributor, and an enthusiastic supporter for The Wisdom Page for a number of years. He is a person of great positive energy and inner self-determination, who is deeply and sincerely pursuing the quest for wisdom within his life. His addition to the Wisdom Page Advisory Board enriches and expands our cultural, ethnic, and global diversity. He is a great friend.

Here is Stephen's short biographical statement newly added to our website:

"All his life, as far as Stephen Awoyemi can remember, he has sought for meaning. It is true that this is a universal hunger common to all humanity. But it seems the sacrifices he made on this quest were beyond the ordinary. After journeying through fundamentalist Christianity from the beginning and then breaking down with repeated relapses of religious Schizophrenia, he began to emerge in consciousness as he put all the pieces together in unravelling the mystery of life. The Wisdom Page contributed to his explorations of consciousness these past years. Stephen is a conservation biologist and President of the Africa Section of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB), and President of the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group (RCBWG) SCB. He graduated in October 2014 from an MPhil Course in Conservation Leadership in the University of Cambridge, UK on a Miriam Rothschild Scholarship. Previous degrees were BSc Zoology (2001) and MSc Zoology (2008) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Stephen has served on international boards and committees for thirteen years and currently works as Conservation Policy and Campaign Officer/Head of Abuja Office of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation."

     
 
Interview with Bruce Lloyd 
"On Wisdom in Business"


 
Bruce Lloyd, member of the Wisdom Page Advisory Board and Emeritus Professor of Strategic Management, recently had the following interview with Charles Cassidy, creator of Evidence-Based Wisdom website.

As Bruce states, "Wisdom is a way of repackaging values statements about relationships between people, relationships within groups and societies and the individual's relationships with the universe...In the end, the most important factor in improving the quality of your decision-making is the quality of your conversations."

Read the interview on the Evidence-Based Wisdom website. Thanks to Charles for conducting, writing up, and publishing the interview.

The Evidence-Based Wisdom website has been added to our Wisdom Blog Sites Page.

Bruce's Interview has been added to our Wisdom-in-Action Creating Wise Societies Page.

 
 
New Wisdom Verses 
Alan Nordstrom

 
 
Alan Nordstrom, our resident poet and literary visionary for the Wisdom Page, a "licensed verse practitioner" as he refers to himself, sent in the following "verses" over the last couple of months. Access and read Alan's website/blog.

 *  *  *  *  *  *



VIRTUE

for Tom Lombardo

A virtue is a value that one lives,
Which out of generosity one gives
To benefit whoever is in need
And proves the polar opposite of greed.


 *  *  *  *  *  *



 WISDOMPAGE.COM

Copthorne Macdonald was a modest man, 
Soft spoken and big hearted as men come, 
Who in the course of his accomplished span 
Of life grew wise: of life the very sum.

And better yet, he left a legacy 
So others might pursue him on that course 
Toward wisdom, often thought a mystery 
And yet of happiness the truest source.

A matter of the highest consequence, 
Pursuing wisdom offers something far 
Beyond wealth, power, fame and eminence; 
In all the heavens, it is our brightest star.

     Though it will take awhile to realize, 
     No time is better spent than growing wise.



 

New Online Courses:
Socratic Methods and
Understanding Fairness

Leland Beaumont



 
Leland Beaumont is a dynamo of thought and philosophical productivity. See the earlier review in Wisdom and the Future (August, 2014) of his online educational contributions and writings.

His most recent creations include two new wisdom related courses:



Socratic Methods

"Socrates was fundamentally concerned with the practical issue of helping people develop the reasoning abilities requisite to living a rational life. The Socratic Method is a way to seek truths by your own lights. ...What could possibly be gained by applying the Socratic Method to the most important questions of living? What could be lost if we do not?"





Understanding Fairness (Part of the Wikipedia Applied Wisdom Curriculum)

As Lee states, "The key insight the course seeks to convey is that the concept of fairness is an amalgamation of at least three different concepts. If we incorrectly assume fairness is an atomic concept, then we can argue endlessly about what is fair as we talk past each other.
This contributes to the many claims of 'that is unfair'." 
 

The Flourishing Earth Training Center
 "Free Your Mind" 
Rick Trowbridge

 

 
(The view from Rick's backyard)
 
In the last issue of Wisdom and the Future (Jan. 2016), I included a picture essay on my recent visit to Rick Trowbridge, Wisdom Page advisory board member, in his new home in Superior, Arizona. I plan on going back sometime soon.


(Rick and I standing on main street in downtown Superior.)

Rick has recently opened and begun advertising his Flourishing Earth Training Center in Superior. Here is his ad with phone number and email address, in case readers are interested and "in the neighborhood."

 *  *  *  *  *  *

FREE YOUR MIND

When you stop thoughts and are still and attentive,
you connect with powers beyond those of the material world.
  Learn to quiet the mind and end compulsive thinking.
  Learn to tune in to higher consciousness.

THE FLOURISHING EARTH TRAINING CENTER
Superior, Arizona

(520) 450-0864                   transletix@hotmail.com
Richard Hawley Trowbridge, Ph.D., Coach and Visioner

 Love                     Wisdom                        Peace


"Manifesto for Friends of Wisdom"
Nicholas Maxwell



Nicholas Maxwell, creator of The Friends of Wisdom website and social network of over 800 educators, writers, and advocates for the central importance of wisdom in higher education and guiding the future of human society, recently drafted a "Manifesto for Friends of Wisdom," which he plans on sending out to institutions of higher education across the globe.

"In order to solve the grave global problems we face - climate change, population growth, extinction of species, war, inequality and the rest - we need governments to act appropriately.  But governments are unlikely to be much more enlightened than electorates.  Hence we require the public to have a good understanding of what our problems are, and what we need to do about them.  That in turn requires that universities are devoted to intelligent public education about our problems and how to solve them.  At present universities, devoted primarily to the pursuit of knowledge, fail disastrously to do what is required.  As has been spelled out in detail in Maxwell's From Knowledge to Wisdom (Blackwell, 1984), we urgently need to bring about a revolution in academic inquiry so that the basic intellectual aim becomes social wisdom and not just specialized knowledge.  Problems of living need to be put at the heart of the academic enterprise.  Disciplines, the relationship between disciplines, and the relationship between the university as a whole and society, all need to change in quite specific and radical ways.  A new paradigm for academic inquiry is required.  The outcome would be a kind of inquiry rationally designed and devoted to helping humanity tackle problems of climate change and other global problems effectively, intelligently and humanely."

As Nicholas also states, further explaining the meaning and intent behind the Manifesto,

"I have drawn up a list of 23 structural changes (What Needs to Change) that need to be made if knowledge-inquiry is to become wisdom-inquiry."

 
University of Chicago Interviews on Virtue, Moral Psychology, and Wisdom



Recent thought provoking interviews on the University of Chicago Research Network include:

Conversations on Wisdom: Valerie Tiberius
Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota and author of Moral Psychology.

Dr. Tiberius's work involves a weaving together of philosophical perspectives and psychological research on wisdom and morality.

Conversations on Wisdom: Interview with Nancy Snow
Nancy Snow, PhD is a philosopher and the director of the Institute for the study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma.

"An excerpt from the documentary film The Science of Wisdom. In this interview, Dr. Snow discusses wisdom, virtue, and social intelligence, resource texts for virtue, and the interaction of virtue and oppression."

 
Global Grand Challenges: The Singularity Hub Space Series










Singularity Hub, a mind stretching, consciousness expanding online publication of Singularity University, recently published a highly informative and inspiring four part series on outer space, identified as one of humanity's "Global Grand Challenges." In the spirit of the cosmic dimension of this issue, have a look at the series. All four parts of the series can be accessed through "The Search of Extraterrestrial Life."


How Enlightenment
Changes Your Brain

by Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman
Reviewed by Leland Beaumont




"The authors describe the phenomenon of enlightenment in a wide variety of forms, endeavor to examine the science of enlightenment, and then describe how you can attain enlightenment...the authors argue that 'The ability to experience enlightenment, big or small, appears to be 'wired' into our brain and consciousness.'"

Leland Beaumont

Read the Book Review


Creating a Book Reading List on Wisdom
Leland Beaumont




Recently Lee Beaumont emailed me the following question,

"I just had a thought, and question I want to pass by you.
 
Can you (we) suggest a short reading list (primarily of books) that could lead an interested student (perhaps high school or college age) toward wisdom?"

I told him that I thought it was a good idea to create such a list, and a couple of days later, I received a follow-up email, Lee informing me that he had created the beginnings of such a reading list.

We decided to open up the question to readers. Have a look at Lee's list

He has divided his list into a set of basic categories:
  • Personal integrity
  • Rules of logic, evidence, and knowing how you know
  • Emotional Growth
  • Human Nature
  • Moral Virtue
  • Moral Guidance
  • Ultimate Objective
Also, to stimulate your thinking, have a look at the listings of "Reviews of Wisdom Books" and "Contemporary Books on Wisdom" on the Wisdom Page.

Email me your additional recommendations; I will pass them on to Lee, and I will publish the expanded list of recommended books in a later issue of Wisdom and the Future.

           

Recommended New Books on Wisdom, Evolution, and the University

       


Three new books relevant to wisdom recommended from various sources.

The Evolution of Everything: "The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating, brilliant argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world.

The Evolution of Everything is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch-the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence."

Becoming Wise: "I'm a person who listens for a living.  I listen for wisdom, and beauty, and for voices not shouting to be heard.  This book chronicles some of what I've learned in what has become a conversation across time and generations, across disciplines and denominations."

Understanding University: "Constitutes the final volume in a trilogy - the first two books having been Being a University (2010) and Imagining the University (2012) - and represents the trilogy's ultimate aims and endeavours. The three volumes together offer a unique attempt at a fairly systematic and exhaustive level to map out just what it might be seriously to understand the extraordinarily complex entity that is known across the world as 'the university'.


Recommended Articles on Anticipation and the Future
 




Two philosophically provocative and socially significant articles by my colleagues and friends, Wendell Bell and Roberto Poli, that recently were posted on Academiaedu.


The Implicit Future Orientation of the Capability Approach - DRAFT by Roberto Poli

"Whilst the future is an important, almost constitutive component of the capability approach developed primarily by Sen and Nussbaum, the usual versions of the approach do not make the future orientation of the approach sufficiently explicit. The aim of this paper is to propose a reorientation of the capability approach in order to make its future orientation evident. Following this kind of gestalt switch, the entire capability approach acquires a different flavour."


"What was, what is, and what will be: Rewriting the past and shaping the future" by Wendell Bell

From J. E. Greene (ed.), Race, Class & Gender in the Future of the Caribbean. Mona, Kingston, Jamaica: Institute of Social & Economic Research, University of the West Indies, 1993: pp. 115-138. 
 

Recommended Website/Newsletter: The Conversation
"Consumerism and Happiness"
 





The Conversation is an interesting online journal, combining current events, integrative and holistic issues pertaining to the human condition, and philosophical discussion, that I recently discovered.





As an introduction into the types of articles and essays contained in this daily electronic journal, recently The Conversation published  "Consumed: Why More Stuff Does Not Mean More Happiness" by philosophy professor Judith Stark.

An Entertaining and Provocative Classic Video




Recently recommended by James Dator of the World Futures Studies Federation,  "Why Man Creates/The Edifice," although dated in terms of cinematic and media effects, is both entertaining and insightful, containing interesting visualizations on the growth of human civilization and creativity. 


A Fan Letter on Wisdom and the Future and a First Book Review on The Psychology of the Future
 




As two closing items for this month's issue, first a very much appreciated fan letter from a reader:

"Tom - Thank you for producing this 'Wisdom Page' each month. I believe this is the only place where I can find stories that have been selected for their value to me and to anyone who enjoys thinking about the possibilities of life that has yet to come. The selection process you do must take a lot of time because the number of hours to research base articles with a mind as to the value of the materials' content to your readers, is mind-blowing. There are days when I actually postpone opening your e-mail because I know that the rest of my day (at least) will be spent going through the links to gems that I would never had seen, or even have known about on my own. I can only imagine the effort it must take you to find and review the material. It is so generous of you to do this for people who love the concepts presented on this site. There must be readers you have never even met, yet you give of yourself to bring these thought-provoking articles, along with your own essays and thoughts to them. I don't know how many people have told you, but I am sure they all share my appreciation of your hard work. Once again, thank you."
Kathy Pappajohn

 *  *  *  *  *  *




And second, Stephen Awoyemi is the first person who is reading the full draft of my new book The Psychology of the Future. I asked Stephen what he thought about the book thus far in his reading. This is the commentary he sent me. Thank you Stephen. 

"Reading The Psychology of the Future one appreciates that Tom Lombardo is an unsung hero whom the world desperately needs to hear from. His contribution demands a global audience in an age of increasing complexity and mega crisis. Dr. Lombardo painstakingly weaves an insightful narrative into the current picture of humanity's evolutionary reality in the psychological, sociological, and environmental dimensions. He proposes a grand theory of consciousness, which he terms "future consciousness," capturing that aspect of reality that is so habitual in our ever-forward thinking as Homo sapiens sapiens. Dr. Lombardo's exposition is a fertile ground for revolutionary ideas for humankind, in his brilliant articulation of what we are beginning to realize in our growth and our estrangement from failed models and traditions of seeing the world. Delving into the intricacies and finest details of humanity's self-evolution through the centuries, Dr. Lombardo reveals his own hard work and success in answering these big questions. He effortlessly demystifies the "why" of goodness and ethical living, clarifying with accuracy that ethics is an inescapable aspect of our psychological reality as humans, not just a matter of pleasing a deity or searching for rewards in the afterlife. This work is innovative and extremely creative. When one would have thought all has been said that needs to be said or thought about wisdom, Dr. Lombardo brings us to the edge of our seats in excitement, passion, love and the desire to self improve with clarity and efficacy, with our eyes looking forward in future consciousness."

Stephen Awoyemi

 


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
these
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.