The most influential factor in the development of wisdom appears to be an openness to experience and different modes of representing experience. Wisdom appears to stem from a capacity to reflect on and grapple with difficult existential life issues.
Wise people are not Pollyannaish. They are willing to explore the shadow side of life and are capable of expressing the wide array of human emotions in such a way as to derive meaning. This fosters a general sense of hopeful-ness. They seem able to first embrace and then transcend self-concerns to integrate their capacity for introspection with a deep and abiding concern for human relationships and generative concern for others.
Consequently, they reflect global concerns in their understanding of human issues and also project a sense of ease with themselves and others, as well as warmth and compassion. Consequently, wisdom as currently defined and measured in Western Psychology appears to have benefits both for the mental health and well-being of both the sage and those who are impacted by the sage’s actions.
To put this in the form of poetry – Rudyard Kipling’s poem IF, read by Sir Michael Cane fits (once again, because it’s so personal to me!)
More from Kaufman;
Thus, wisdom involves exceptional breadth and depth of knowledge about the conditions of life and human affairs and reflective judgment about the application of this knowledge. In order to exert judgment about when knowledge is applicable in a complex, dynamic human sphere, it is important to reflect on one’s own subjective standpoint to consider alternative frameworks and to be receptive to alternative modes of representation
Wise people are particularly adept at taking the perspective of others and providing a safe setting in which others can explore their own values, thoughts, actions, and decisions. By all research accounts thus far, it would be a useful skill for society to promote in its citizens because of the generative concern shown by wise individuals and their ability to engage others in an accepting, compassionate manner without judgment.
Wisdom has been conceptualized as:
(1) a rare, highly exercised and developed form of cognitive expertise about the domain of human affairs that allows for multiple conduits or
(2) a constellation of personal attributes reflecting a high degree of cognitive, affective, and behavioral maturity that allows for an unusual degree of sensitivity, broad-mindedness, and concern for humanity.
Using either conceptualization, wisdom research shows that it is a rare achievement, most often evolving
from unusual life experiences that foster introspection, reflection on the human condition, and counseling others. Openness to experience is the most frequent predictor of wisdom. Wise people are also found to think more dialectically, exhibit generativity and compassionate concern for others, and accept life’s limitations. Wise people show less despair and less dissatisfaction by grappling with existential issues and finding purpose and meaning in adverse experiences.
When in doubt, turn to the Stoics
My twelve arguments on the Decline of America. Demographics is destiny Japan style.
According to the UN’s most recent projections, the share of the Japanese population that was age 65 and older in 2015 was 26 percent. That compares to 14.6 percent in the U.S., 18.9 percent in France, 21.1 percent in Germany, and 22.4 percent in Italy. Further, Japan had a total fertility rate (TFR) — a measure of births per women of child-bearing age — of 1.41 from 2010 to 2015. Over that same period, the TFR was 1.88 for the U.S., 1.98 for France, 1.43 for Germany, and 1.43 for Italy. Japan’s TFR fell quickly in the post-war period, to 2.17 for the years 1955 to 1960, which was down from the TFR of 2.96 that the country experienced from 1950 to 1955. Most other advanced economies experienced much larger and longer “baby booms” after the war.
Japan has now experienced four straight decades of birth rates below the population replacement TFR of 2.1. Low rates of birth, and limited immigration, lead inexorably to a contracting workforce, which is debilitating for a pay-as-you-go pension system. Japan’s working age population — those age 20 to 64 — peaked nearly two decades ago. In 2000, there were 79.4 million people in Japan who were in this age group. By 2015, the number had dropped to just 72.1 million people. The UN’s median projection scenario forecasts Japan will have just 50.8 million people age 20 to 64 in 2050 — a remarkable 36 percent contraction over a half century.
Japan’s steady improvement in lifespans and its declining workforce has created tremendous financial pressure within the nation’s social security program. Japan’s system shares similarities with U.S. Social Security. It combines social welfare goals, which are met with income transfers, with an earnings-related benefit, and the system is financed mostly with payroll taxes imposed on current workers. Japan differs from the U.S. in that it chose to divide up its program into two tiers. The first is a flat-rate benefit, called the National Pension (NP), which gets half of its funding from a government subsidy financed outside of the payroll tax; the second is the earnings-related benefit, or Employees’ Pension Insurance (EPI).
….The reality is that Japan has no good options. When people live longer and have fewer children, the inevitable consequence is a shrinking pie from which to draw retirement benefits. The pie can be expanded by having workers stay employed longer, and the portion going to retirees can be reduced by having workers retire later in life. But these shifts won’t be enough to offset the effects of a rapid contraction of the workforce.
I’m a John Mauldin reader. His analysis is always deep, grounded in facts/data and he’s been in the financial world long enough to add a historical perspective to modern events. His series on the Great Reset (link below) is long but worth a read.
His recent article in Forbes explains where I think we are as a world economy. Since 2008 there has been a massive run-up in all sorts of debt. We never really took our medicine after the housing crash and instead inflated our way to a bigger potential issue.
The series of blog posts paint a picture of where we are as a State/County/City (pensions), Country ($21t in debt) and Globe (global debt to gdp is at 318%). There are ramifications for all the monetary policy. We can only speculate on the outcomes.
Forbes – Earlier this year, I wrote a series of articles (synopsis and links here) predicting a debt “train wreck” and eventual liquidation. I dubbed it “The Great Reset.” I estimated we have another year or two before the crisis becomes evident.
Now I’m having second thoughts. Recent events tell me the reckoning could be closer than I thought just a few months ago….
Here’s a note from Economic Cycle Research Institute’s Lakshman Achuthan:
Notably, the combined debt of the US, Eurozone, Japan, and China has increased more than ten times as much as their combined GDP [growth] over the past year.
Yes, you read that right. In the last year, the world’s largest economies are generating debt 10X faster than economic growth. Adding debt at that pace, if it continues, will boost the debt-to-GDP ratio at an alarming rate….
This Won’t End Well
I am trying to imagine a scenario where this ends in something less than chaos and crisis. The best I can conceive is a decade-long (and possibly more) stagnation while the debt gets liquidated.
But realistically, that won’t happen because debtors won’t let it. And they outnumber lenders. For this reason, something like “the Great Reset” will happen first.
The rational course would be to delay the inevitable as long as possible. Yet in the U.S. we’re rushing it.
I’m also reading a book, The Day After The Dollar Crashes, by Damon Vickers and although the run up and political theories that are nothing new took 3/4th of the book to get to the ‘what happens when that happens’ part, Vickers hypothesis is an either we go back to a money backed by a gold standard or we move to one currency. He does mention that we need to be very careful about a potential wag the dog war to deflect from the pain.
“A speculator is one who runs risks of which he is aware, and an investor is one who runs risks of which he is unaware.”
– John Maynard Keynes
“The biggest mistake investors make is to believe that what happened in the recent past is likely to persist. They assume that something that was a good investment in the recent past is still a good investment. Typically, high past returns simply imply that an asset has become more expensive and is a poorer, not better, investment.”
– Ray Dalio, founder, Bridgewater Associates, LP
A couple of documentaries that help to paint a deeper picture of money and the future:
End Of The Road – How Money Became Worthless
97% Owned – Economic Truth – How Money is Created
The Nature Of Money
The Big Short – 2015
This is a bit long, but it’s a good debate between the Republican Establishment and the Republican-Populist movement. The sides have ratcheted up and this is a debate within just one side of the two party system. Similar debates are happening in the Democratic party between the Bernie Sanders wing and the Hilary Clinton wing of their party. Sprinkle in the non-voting millennials and we have a recipe for a new America.
I’m hoping that there is a child in school right now that will bring sanity back to the public square. My theory on the direction America is playing out. Can the Elephants get their act together? Will the Donkeys find there a way? Who knows. Trump is a symptom of where we are as a society. The first Reality TV Presiden is playing out the drama and cliffhangers and manufactured tensions…just like you would see….on an episode of the Kardashians. And we are supposed to be surprised.
I cued this up to 1 hour 20 minutes, but worth a listen to the whole thing.
Interesting read on the purpose of education.
- Wisdom to understand the parts and know how they come together
- Wisdom to know when to pull out the cards and what response to use at what times
- Ability to get across your ideas
How are we doing as a society achieving these lofty goals? Should education be teaching practical skills like welding;
Recall Marco Rubio’s quip three years ago that “[w]e need more welders and less [he meant ‘fewer’] philosophers.” (He recanted earlier this year, realizing that, after all, both are important.)
or computer programming? Is STEM the answer, how about if we add STEAM (the arts)?
Rethinking the Purpose of Education
… First, education aims at “wisdom.” What is wisdom? It is, in the opinion of the ancient philosophers Cicero and Seneca, “knowledge of things human and divine.” It is an ordered reflection on the nature of reality in the broad sense. It is reflection on how the parts comprise a whole, and it is knowledge of that whole. Wisdom knows the human arts and sciences, it has some sense of the way those are ordained and arranged by God, and it knows how to tell the difference between the two.
Second, education aims at “prudence.” What is prudence? It is improvisatory wisdom. It is the application of the contemplative knowledge of the whole to the practical considerations of everyday life. It asks, “What does wisdom require of me in this situation?” And it knows how to answer.
Third, education aims at “eloquence.” What is eloquence? It is not flowery speech. It is not purple prose. It is not verbal pyrotechnics. It is the cultivated ability to discuss a subject with intelligence from all angles and comprehensively. It is the transformation of wisdom’s knowledge into human speech. This third aim is not optional, but is demanded by our very nature. For man is a speaking animal, and if ratio, “reason,” compels us to seek the fellowship of other rational animals, no less does oratio, “speech,” compel us to find the company of other creatures as loquacious as we are. Eloquence, furthermore, makes what we have learned available to others and makes it known in a persuasive way.
There is little hope that such a view of education will make great waves with our current educational establishment. It is too impractical, offers few material or corporate rewards, and creates too much potential for thought and the unapproved opinions to which such thought will give birth. Still, perhaps it’s not too late to see that this view is more in keeping with the kind of beings we are — those whose heads are raised from the earth — and is therefore better attuned to our higher aspirations. We are men before we are employees. Perhaps it is time for our educationalists to acknowledge that fact.
E.J. Hutchinson is Associate Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.
The difference between a depression and a recession;
Depressions happen in real markets with honest currencies. Prices deflate relative to the currency which causes a downward spiral of unemployment and asset devaluation. The currency remains stable, so the depreciation of other assets is more obvious.
Recessions are depressions in floating fiat systems. The currency is immediately devalued so the depreciation of assets is muted, money is printed up and floods the economy, interest rates are suppressed and government spending increases, masking the drop in GDP.
What you get in the first case are hard booms and busts. When the busts are over the bad debt is cleared and the economy can grow. In the second case, you get a muted, soft landing, and plenty to dull the pain.
The price to pay is an ever-increasing national debt that eventually implodes the entire system and threatens civilization itself.
From a blog comment. Rings true.
The Federal deficit (what we put on the credit card) was $1.1 Trillion (HERE)
The INTEREST payment on the debt we already have ($21 trillion) was $316 billion.
We collected, in the form of taxes and fees, $3.7 trillion. So about 10% of what we collect goes to debt service.
C.S Lewis Explains the Best Way to Handle Change
It is this change that English author C.S. Lewis so beautifully explains in his short story, The Great Divorce.
In the story, the hero explores heaven, purgatory, and hell, and meets a few of their respective occupants. During these wanderings, the hero encounters a downright pitiable man who is plagued by a gross lizard that clings onto his shoulder and whispers in his ear. The afflicted man is tired, sad, and frustrated. The lizard is sucking all the life out of him, and he wants it off so badly he’d be willing to undergo nearly anything if only he could knock the thing about a hundred miles away. He must get it off — or die in the attempt.
As the afflicted man thus stands and thinks about his misfortune, a brilliant angel appears and offers to save him. The angel offers to kill that lizard, and thereby free the poor man from his long-endured misery. Of course, the lizard immediately starts feverishly whispering all kinds of fears and doubts into the afflicted man’s ear. Frightened, the man makes the angel promise that, should he take the lizard off, the procedure would not kill him. The angel promises, and so moves to pry off the lizard. The man immediately recoils in terrible pain, shouting that this was far more difficult than he had ever expected, and that perhaps it would be better to pry off the lizard another day. Eventually, the angel persuades him, and the lizard is yanked off the sobbing man with such terrible force that he almost dies. Almost – for he revives a few moments later as a larger, more complete, and much more excellent version of himself.
This, implies Lewis, is the inevitable process of overcoming your fear of change.
It is not the change itself that you fear – it is the transition from Point A to Point B. That transition often appears so fearsome and daunting that the shift (however small) begins to seem deeply humiliating, senselessly painful, and nearly impossible. You become discouraged and afraid. In the meantime, you allow yourself to be lulled into complacency by the gentle whisperings of your own self-doubt. These whisperings are the lizard on your shoulder and should be firmly ignored.
No matter how hard your change is, remember that the reality of your fear is not coming from the change itself, but from the transition and how you approach it.
Will you approach your transitions with patience and courage, or will you allow yourself to be bogged down into inaction by your insecurities and fears?
More on The Great Divorce – HERE