Wisdom Beat

Eclectic wisdom research

This Is Also Why You’re Dumb


“With just a modicum of common sense almost anyone can figure out why fast-food gobbling Americans are fat. But a new study shows that our binging is not just making us obese, but shrinking the size of our brains. And this mass idiocy brought on by obesity can be the only explanation for decision to test market its Double Down Sandwich combo– a sandwich that replaces the bread with deep fried chicken. As the voiceover on the TV ad enthuses “Two pieces of cheese, two pieces bacon, and two pieces of chicken … We didn’t have room for the bread.” (Before any of you comment “MMM…bacon,” please realize that this is only available in Rhode Island and Nebraska. Of course, in addition to the fried chicken, bacon, pepperjack cheese, and Swiss cheese, the whole shebang is smothered in the Colonel’s sauce (which is really a disgusting thing to call a sandwich topping if you think about it)

Which brings us back to how this could have possibly happened. Well, the research is quite clear: a study by researchers at UCLA found that the brains of overweight people were 6 percent smaller than those of the control group, and the brains of obese people were 8 percent smaller. Further, the brains of obese people appeared up to 16 years older.

And wait, that’s not all: The research also found that the brain atrophy in the frontal and temporal lobes, which control eating behavior and metabolism, could be a contributing factor to yet more weight gain.

Read the article.

So there you have it. Those who design and market KFC’s products are clearly obese, older people out to make the rest of the country just like them.”


August 31, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

The wisdom of definition

“A LAWYER friend of mine, grappling with a thorny constitutional matter perilously close to home time, was chided by his associate for “over thinking” the issue. There’s no proper quantity of thought, he snapped back, it’s merely a question of getting the problem right or not.

Obviously, many matters are more complicated than they first appear, especially those dealt with by highly skilled professionals.

But that’s only half of the story. As Lucy Allais, who teaches philosophy at the University of the Witwatersrand put it, people have philosophical commitments, even if they don’t realise it.

While it is often tempting to just “get on with it”, even the most practical actions are connected to further sets of beliefs. That is, theoretical assumptions are already subsumed in the decisions that people make.

As Columbia philosopher and world class wise guy, Sidney Morgenbesser, pointed out, pragmatism is great in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.

Allais is director of the new Wits Centre for Ethics (WiCE, which you are encouraged to pronounce “vice”). The centre aims, in part, to make the study of ethics accessible to the general public, and will be offering courses to professionals.”

Read the full article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

How to turn knowledge into wisdom

By Alice Landry

“Knowledge is information that you’ve been exposed to and integrated into your mind as something you know and are aware of.

Once you’ve been presented with something new and learn about it, at what point does that knowledge translate into wisdom?

True wisdom is more than just applied knowledge. You may be able to “see one, do one, teach one,” but that doesn’t necessarily qualify you as a wise person.

For example, you know you shouldn’t smoke, and you decide to quit. Yet you continue with a daily struggle, your stress level and blood pressure increases, and you end up substituting one addiction for another. Does that constitute wisdom?”

Read the article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Wisdom of the ancients

By Yang Jian

“WHEN people see the iconic China Pavilion draped in red cloth and formed in the ancient Chinese dougong architectural style at the Shanghai World Expo site, most will be curious about what will be exhibited inside the huge and fancy structure.

The pavilion is at first glance a very obviously Chinese structure. When the Chinese red veil is lifted, it will reveal a complex structure that celebrates a diverse range of traditional Chinese elements, including architecture, calligraphy, gardening and urban planning.

However, the inside will be full of modern elements. Visitors will be able to ride in a cable car, watch a movie directed by young Chinese director Lu Chuan and view a multimedia display of a top national treasure painting.

The exhibition will tell a Chinese story about a “city” and a “search.” The theme will be the “Search of the East” – looking for the wisdom that the ancient Chinese used to tackle urban problems, the design team for the inner exhibition of the pavilion revealed when it unveiled the exhibition plan in Shanghai last Thursday.”

Read the article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

The wisdom of being afraid

By Pamela Ziemann

“Most of us have been taught to ignore our emotions, yet they are one of the best sources of intelligence. If you’re receiving this weekly tip, chances are you have experienced fear when speaking in public. Fear is present when there’s a threat to your physical, emotional or mental wellbeing.

When dealing with fear, ask yourself what the specific threat is.

It never made sense to me that I could hang glide, bungee jump and skydive with less fear than I had before a speech. Then I realized speaking didn’t threaten my physical safety, but my emotional wellbeing. I wasn’t afraid of speaking, but the thought of having something to say and not expressing it. The specific threat wasn’t that the crowd would throw tomatoes at me, but that my expression was being suffocated. When you deny your own authority, you should be afraid!

Then ask yourself what action must I take to be safe?”

Read the article.

August 25, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Wisdom is what you make it


“It was Socrates who first said,”Wisdom begins in wonder.” Let me begin by acknowledging that there are differences among the world’s religions as to which particular canon, or certain pieces of what is called “wisdom literature,” belong in the Old Testament of the Bible. I consider the wisdom books of the Old Testament to be Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Sirach and he Book of Wisdom. One could also consider sections of the Book of Psalms, Song of Songs and Baruch as incorporating some of the wisdom literature, as well.

Some books are considered canonical by some religions and what is called “deutero canonical” or “apocryphal” by others. That is not a subject I really wish to discuss, so I will simply try to steer clear of it, navigate between the shoals and let the scriptural scholars discuss the fine points of canonicity. I would like to attempt to focus on the “person of wisdom,” which arises from the broad body of Old Testament wisdom literature.”

Read the article.

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Barry Schwartz on our loss of wisdom

By Barry Schwartz

“Barry Schwartz makes a passionate call for “practical wisdom” as an antidote to a society gone mad with bureaucracy. He argues powerfully that rules often fail us, incentives often backfire, and practical, everyday wisdom will help rebuild our world.

Barry Schwartz studies the link between economics and psychology, offering startling insights into modern life. Lately, working with Ken Sharpe, he’s studying wisdom.”

Read the article.

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Wanted: leaders that can extract wisdom from the crowd

By Joe McKendrick

“There’s been quite a bit of discussion lately in the concept of “crowdscourcing,” which is based on the logic the communities of interested participants can arrive at solutions quicker and more effectively than cloistered research and development departments.”

Read the article.

August 19, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

The status quo and the wisdom of the masses

By Rcentor

“The masses do have wisdom. Often the masses understand this country better than the politicians. But PT Barnum did not make money on the wisdom of the masses.

As I have written recently, we do have a health care crisis. This crisis stands in opposition to many Americans expressing satisfaction with their own health care situation.

Sometimes leadership requires leaders to get dangerously in front of the followers. One skill of leadership is knowing when those moments occur”

Read the article.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment

Who around you do you consider wise?

By  Xantheus

“WISDOM seems to be a difficult question for many.  I have found that wisdom comes AFTER one discovers how his or her “body, mind and heart(emotions)” are  all in alignment.  When they are not, Wisdom doesn’t come.  Its almost as if the mind is the least of the three, which contradicts most persons thought on the subject.  But then, contradiction, like competition, and the yearning to know even more becomes the fuel for keeping the train moving.  Sometimes the wisdom is found on the caboose instead of the engine”

Read the article.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Wisdom Blog posts | Leave a comment