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The Wisdom Movement

The Movement

We believe that a movement’s afoot and we resonate with these statements that seem to emanate from the movement’s ideals:

“I am on the track of a more essential thing: the compassionate uses of a mortal mind and body.”

–Czeslaw Milosz tr. by Catherine Madsen

“A man who has once perceived, however temporarily and however briefly, what makes greatness of soul, can no longer be happy if he allows himself to be petty, self-seeking, troubled by trivial misfortunes, dreading what fate may have in store for him.

Windows, Huntington Gardens

The man capable of greatness of soul will open wide the windows of his mind, letting the winds blow freely upon it from every portion of the universe. He will see himself and life and the world as truly as our human limitations will permit; realizing the brevity and minuteness of human life, he will realize also that in individual minds is concentrated whatever of value the known universe contains. 

And he will see that the man whose mind mirrors the world becomes in a sense as great as the world. In emancipation from the fears that beset the slave of circumstance he will experience a profound joy, and through all the vicissitudes of his outward life he will remain in the depths of his being a happy man.”

–Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness, 1930 p.227

We believe that today, as in every age, there is a group of humans who act out of these ideas.  We consider ourselves eager, practical participants in this movement.

Some others we find aligned in this movement today

Farnam Street – Shane Parrish curates an excellent blog focused on developing a set of mental models based on both classical wisdom and the latest brain research.

Brain Pickings – Maria Popova curates an inspiring and informative blog focused on mining the humanities for beauty, insight and meaning.

Ryan Holiday – wrote some interesting pieces on Stoicism’s applicability to entrepreneurial leadership issues.

The Great Books Foundation – carrying on the tradition of Socratic dialogue/Shared Inquiry around the classics started by Mortimer Adler back in the 1950’s in response to the need for creating a means to allow adult learners to develop their critical thinking capabilities as their responsibility as citizens in a democracy ramped up with the advent of nuclear weapons.

The Edges Define the Middle

What you will probably not find here:

  1. Assertions that Western Civilization is the source of all wisdom.
  2. Apologies for the many great ideas and practices that Western Civilization has brought to humanity.
  3. Assertions that quantum physics can be harnessed to power personal prosperity and bliss.
  4. Statements promoting any particular faith or dogmatic structure, though do not be surprised to find a variety of metaphysical inquiries in our search for useful frames for our thinking about reality and our role in it.
  5. Musings on the pursuit of happiness or wealth.  As Kofi Annan once said, “Happiness has not been one of my key goals.”

We Prioritize

As contributors to this movement, we seek to prioritize these values:

  • Clarity
  • Elegance
  • Relevance
  • Utility
  • Compassion
  • Connection
  • Appreciation of what’s beautiful and points toward what might be true
  • Service

“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion, all in one.”

–John Ruskin

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