Wisdom Beat

Eclectic wisdom research

Using Science as our Guide to Wisdom

By Beau Cutts

“Twenty years ago I spoke with a well-to-do Savannah lawyer who owned a large, impressive house in the Isle of Hope section of Chatham County. A long walk ramp went out to his private dock in the Skidaway River.

I was there trying to get him to join The Dolphin Project and use his boat to take lay researchers out on the water.

“Y’all don’t need to go out in January,” he advised. “We don’t have any dolphins around here in winter.”

The facts, as demonstrated in time by members of The Dolphin Project, proved the gentleman to be mistaken. There are dolphins in our coastal waters in winter, although not as many as in summer. However, the attorney’s comment did suggest how difficult discovering scientific facts can be.

If you make less effort in spring compared to autumn, you may underreport the number of dolphins. To help reduce variables, you should make equal effort — in number of surveying teams on the water — year around to count, then assess seasonal changes in population.”

Read the article at http://www.bryancountynews.net/news/article/4349/

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Putting Knowledge Before Wisdom

BY ANNE BROWER FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

Harriet was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 82. She had her cancer surgically removed. The surgery alone probably cured her disease. However, an oncologist told her that surgery had given her an 80 percent chance of cure, but a year of chemotherapy would increase that chance to 90 percent. She opted for the chemotherapy.

I could not understand why she said yes to the debilitating chemotherapy regime at her age with her already 80% survival rate. However, she had an undying faith in the skill and wisdom of her doctors–to a fault.

Her chemotherapy induced incessant diarrhea and a 50-pound weigh loss, infected eyes, and abundant mouth wounds. However, she pushed herself onwards, carrying herself with dignity and grace, and living every moment fully.

Read more of the article.

July 21, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Political Wisdom: Finally, a Good, Personal Fight Over Health Care

By Gerald F. Seib

“Finally, Washington has what it loves in a good policy debate—which is a good personal feud within that policy debate. Carol E. Lee of Politico chronicles how President Barack ObamaMonday “accused Republicans of playing political games with health care reform,” but more specifically went after South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint “for suggesting a defeat on health care could be a ‘Waterloo’ moment for Obama.” Obama’s retort, as Lee reports, was, “This isn’t about me. This isn’t about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America’s families, breaking America’s businesses, and breaking America’s economy.”  To stoke the fire a bit more, Lee notes, “White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs defended Obama’s tactic of directly engaging DeMint and went a step further, calling out conservative columnist Bill Kristol as one of those Republicans who are peddling ‘a breathtaking message.’ Obama ‘could just have easily have quoted a Republican strategist today who said to go for the kill and asked opponents to resist the temptation to be responsible,’ Gibbs said, referring to Kristol’s Weekly Standard blog post that urges opponents of Obama’s reform plans to resist the temptation ‘to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible.’…The White House’s tactic of zeroing in on specific critics marks its more intense effort to thwart opposition to reform, while still appearing to spar above the fray by not directly naming names.””

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July 21, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

No place for wisdom where politics, economics intersect

“DWARD GLAESER is right that “a smart transportation policy would recognize the wisdom of using our existing infrastructure more efficiently, with the help of congestion pricing, rather than building more roads,’’ and that politicians don’t seem to be wise. But the current political system is such that politicians don’t have to be wise. In fact, wisdom is what would harm their political dividends because it would bring economic responsibility to citizens that they don’t want to face.”

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Meditation and the Practice of Virtue

“Establishing a meditative life can lead to a more settled and attentive mind, but to what end will you direct these capacities? If you are more attentive, to what will you direct your attention? If more settled, on what will you rest your mind?

The legendary Indian sage Milarepa (c. 1052-1135) is said to have used his miraculous siddhis or “psychic powers” to bring devastation to an avaricious landlord who treated his parents poorly. When meditation made its way to the West in the sixties, some of those most interested in its offerings were the special forces of the world’s military. Their uses of attention would be lethal. I raise this issue because in their descriptions of the meditative path, the contemplative traditions of all cultures emphasize the importance of virtue, and for good reason. Ethical conduct is not guaranteed by contemplative practice.  Meditation can be use for selfish as well as selfless ends, to win basketball games or turn a greater profit as well as to mitigate suffering. Therefore it is important at the outset to lay the sound ethical foundations for the meditative life. If one does this adequately, then one’s practice serves not only oneself, but others as well.”

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Neuroscience Finds Wisdom Centers in the Brain

“The nature of wisdom has long been the domain of philosophers, but University of California at San Diego neuroscientists Thomas Meeks and Dilip Jeste have thrown their hats into the ring with the likes of Plato and Kant. They analyzed decades of research and found that the multitude of characteristics associated with wisdom—including social decision making and control of emotions—may be accounted for by a surprisingly small number of brain regions: a putative wisdom network.”

Read the article.

July 14, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment