Is Wisdom Possible in an ADHD World?
Notes From Chapter 15, Dare to be Wise
‘… step back and think about our frenetic, postmodern, quasi-apocalyptic, multitasking, dual-income, picking up, dropping off, stopping-by, hyphenated, bifurcated, emotionally hectic, intellectually overwhelming, economically challenging and spiritually benumbed lives.’
Eight Pillars of Wisdom from Text
Emotional Regulation – Coping
Knowing What’s Important – Making a Judgment
Moral Reasoning – Right from Wrong
Compassion – Kindness and Empathy
Humility – Perspective Beyond Oneself
Altruism – Social Justice and Fairness
Patience – Delayed Gratification
Dealing With Uncertainty – Handling Change
Dare to Be Wise
Is there a real place for wisdom in the modern world?
Wisdom means so many things it ceases to mean anything
Imaging core values commoditized and repackaged until vapid
Have we wildly overestimated the value of wisdom?
Search for the wise, the sage, just a hope to lose ourselves in the crowd
And is being wise hazardous in our modern world?
Why is wisdom important in our average everydayness and why is it so hard to achieve?
Each person comes to his or her own wisdom via a different route (Montaigne)
Aspiring to wisdom should be … for every motley amalgamation of citizenry
Figuratively hunger for wisdom to forestall spiritual or existential death
Montaigne: to philosophize is to learn or prepare to die
Wisdom in our elders because they are closer to death
From the Unnamed Stoic: ‘… it is a great thing to die honorably, wisely and with constancy’
Constancy feeds a behavioral foundation of wisdom: immense patience, aggregation of knowledge, moral judgment, sense of fairness, and other-centeredness …
Death jostles the viewfinder … it slows the clock for us to glimpse a more distant future
Modern technology and attitude collapses time and manufactures (false) urgency
Only the brave, strong, mindful and the poor (less self-absorbing toys) have a chance at resisting the urge to live faster
Does death circling us cleave decisions and behaviors that provide us aspirations to be wise?
Wisdom counsels a goodness that extends beyond the membrane of ego and self-interests
Wisdom gives us a chance to be both selfless and self-improved
Daring to be wise leaves us better off to surmount many things
Future of wisdom a distant and elusive utopian kind of aspiration
Oscar Wilde: A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at
Emerson: Wisdom builds out ‘secret currents of might and mind.’
Wisdom may be just an aspiration wrapped in mystery. If it loses its mystery, it eludes us
Discussion Points for Meet Up:
In trying to ‘define’ wisdom as some have asked us to do at our meeting, is it not most appropriate to say it is like Potter Stewart and porno: I know it when I see it?
Do modern distractions like personal devices that have infested our lives really create a mountain between us and the possibility of wisdom?
Is the perspective of death really necessary to attain wisdom and as we avoid at all costs thinking about death, is this one of the reasons we avoid daring to be wise?
Does a filter-feeding knowledge base that moves faster and faster in our modern times kill the possibility of avoiding the self-absorption we must throw aside to be wise?
Is the ‘mystery’ of wisdom, its elusive nature, a barrier in our modern times to the point where few from our modern developed world will ever be considered wise in the future?
To All the Wise Thinkers
Last year I read this nice book contemplating what it means to be wise. I bet this is a notion that most Thinkers aspire for but, as I know in my own short time here and there, fail miserably at the task. That doesn’t mean that I still do not aspire.
But when we think of wisdom, we normally ponder a contemplative mindset where a lifetime of learning opportunities coalesce into a state of mind where someone can help others through a ‘whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ collective that a wise person has available and communicates through.
To center our discussion, I would like to go over elements of the book ‘Wisdom: from Philosophy to Neuroscience’ by Stephen H Hall that I offer a link to the NY Times book review article below that certainly captures the tone if not the essence of the materials offered.
And if you happen to get your hands on this book, please concentrate on final chapter, ‘Dare to Be Wise: Does Wisdom Have a Future?’
This is the theme I would like to focus the discussion on. I feel we live in times where the contemplative mindset we ascribe to the wise is becoming less possible and held in lower esteem in a world I feel is obsessed with a constantly flowing ADHD consciousness where we filter feed often mindlessly through incomprehensible factoids with time only to await the next pile of factoids.
Can wisdom survive in this modern tidal wave of ‘stuff’ where we do not take the time to really understand anything and those that do are somehow lost in an irrelevant vapor trail from the jet stream of a culture hurtling forward fearfully.
Please come to this discussion and proudly proclaim that you are one of those nerds lost in that vapor trail and have some ideas on how the wise can rise again.