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How do you define wisdom?
Who is the wisest person you know?
How can we bring more wisdom into our politics?
I recently encountered an article in the New York Times Magazine about the science of getting older and wiser. Before reading it I stopped to consider if I'm getting wiser or just getting older. It's hard to say. Not the getting older part; the getting wiser part. When I think about people I see as wise there are things they have in common, including a lively curiosity about life (which they see as an endless learning process), an ability to admit when they're wrong or don't know the answer without getting defensive, and the ability to laugh at themselves. They're smart people, but knowledge isn't wisdom so much as the ability to apply that knowledge, along with the ability to empathize and attempt to understand people who are different ... or difficult.
The wise people I know are funny, too, with humor ranging from dry to sly to self-deprecating to truly witty. They also are emotionally and intellectually flexible, able to roll with life's punches and adapt to changing circumstances without resorting to blame or victimhood. Turns out those are especially useful qualities when confronting the increasing indignities of an aging body.
If you're interested in seeing how wisdom was defined and studied by researchers, check out this list of 39 questions to tally up your own Wisdom Scorecard.
So, what do the experts say?
True personal wisdom involves five elements, said Professor Staudinger, now a life span psychologist and professor at Columbia University. They are self-insight; the ability to demonstrate personal growth; self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history; understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute; and an awareness of life’s ambiguities.Here's that element of open-mindedness and curiosity I was looking for:
Modern definitions of wisdom tend to stress kindness — even if it’s not on the order of Buddha, Gandhi or the Dalai Lama. Wisdom is characterized by a “reduction in self-centeredness,” Professor Ardelt said. Wise people try to understand situations from multiple perspectives, not just their own, and they show tolerance as a result.And no, Intelligence does not equal wisdom:
“There’s evidence that people who rank high in neuroticism are unlikely to be wise,” said Laura L. Carstensen, a psychology professor and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity in California. “They see things in a self-centered and negative way and so they fail to benefit emotionally from experience, even though they may be very intelligent.”Excuse for me being just a little snide in noting many of our Republican friends' shortcomings in their failures to live up to such standards. But then, I am failing to live up to such ideals myself by engaging in such an ingroup/outgroup approach regarding people who think differently or have different values than I. And that's without getting involved in local pie fights! (Ok, I don't get involved, but I do sometimes show an unseemly interest in them, which ends up being bad for my emotional equilibrium and therefore unwise.)
Which brings me back to my question: How can we bring more wisdom into our politics?
How can we reject unsustainable ideas without demonizing or dehumanizing our opponents? How can we take the long view when it comes to the political and social changes we want to see right now? For me this means understanding that "things in this life change very slowly if they ever change at all" and taking the long view towards my efforts, letting my discouragement be transitory and resisting the occasional urge to walk away and chuck (or upchuck) it all. When talking to people who see things differently than I do it means not closing my mind or my heart to them, but instead trying to really hear where they're coming from and where they want to go.
Who is the wisest person I know? I apologize in advance for publicly embarrassing this particular kossack, but my two role models for approaching old age with wisdom are my late grandfather, who always kept learning new things and developing new skills late into retirement, and someone I'm proud to call my friend, side pocket.
I mean, look at his profile.
My only claim to fame is I went to every Netroots. Also license DLY KOS.Srsly? Doesn't that just say it all? Every time I see side pocket in person I'm struck anew by his genuine enthusiasm, his avid curiosity, his gentle humor, his open-heartedness, his attitude of gratitude, his kindness and compassion, and the great pleasure he takes in learning and understanding the world. I've never seen him be jaded or cynical or mean-spirited. It's not like he hasn't had challenges or bad things happen to him, either. He's what I hope to be more like when I grow up.
side pocket in Sedona, taking time from his vacation to focus positive energy for paradise50 , who was undergoing cancer treatment.
Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Can Be Found Below the Orange Group Hug.
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We invite you to join in this effort to build our community. There are many ways to pitch in.
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THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY
The DC and Maryland Kossacks welcomed Chaucounne on her visit to attend a conference in DC. It was a last minute meet-up pulled of by mimi.
Here's one photo:
L-R: mimi, kim (wife of olliegarkey), olliegarkey, webgenie and Chacounne
Thank you, sidnora, for the great photo diary recap. So many terrific photos of our NYC Kossacks and all their food pr0n. It looks like everyone had a really good time. There's still time to rec her diary.
Here's only two photos of the many that belinda ridgewood, joanbrooker and Denise Oliver Velez provided:
Four Kossack regional groups descend on the California State Capitol
to demand that Governor Jerry Brown ban
the oil and gas production process known as fracking
Representing Northern California, the SFKossacks, Central Valley Kossacks, Paradise & Chico Kossacks and the Silicon Valley Kossacks gathered on the mall of our state capitol in Sacramento on Saturday, March 15th to protest fracking. Governor Brown has the ability to ban the environmentally destructive, water-intensive oil extraction practice known as hydraulic fracturing in California. The state is in a severe drought and the last place our water should go is into fracking. It is estimated the protesters numbered around 4000. We endured the hot sun which sent the temperatures into the 80s as we gathered midday to make a lot of noise and get the attention of the Governor.
Please note red arrow pointing to our Daily Kos banner to gather all us Kossacks together!
Please visit paradise50's diary for his terrific photos!
You can join SFKossacks by sending a Kosmail to navajo.
You can join Central Valley Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to tgypsy.
You can join Paradise & Chico Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to smileycreek.
You can join Silicon Valley Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to Glen The Plumber.
wink from Netrootsradio.com by KosMail to schedule airtime with them to live broadcast your Event. Wink & Justice will then promote it on The After Show radio program!
Saturday, March 29th
Houston Kossacks Meet-up
TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Fadi's Mediterranean Grill
4738 Beechnut Street • Houston
ORGANIZER: Send Chrislove a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Houston Area Kossacks: Meet-Up Scheduled for Saturday, March 29 (plus a note on future meet-ups)
3. Libby Shaw
5. Bree Davis
7. Mary (Honorary Kossack)
8. Alan (Honorary Kossack)
Mr. Libby Shaw
Saturday, April 5th
Baja Arizona Kossacks 4th Annual Picnic
TIME: 4:00 PM
LOCATION: Home of Mr. & Mrs. sneakers563
Address by Kosmail to RSVPers • Tucson
ORGANIZER: Send Azazello a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Baja Arizona Kossacks Open Thread
9. Desert Rose
10. chloris creator
Saturday, April 5th
Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks Meet-up
TIME: Noon - 3:00 PM
LOCATION: Pyramid Alehouse, Brewery & Restaurant
1201 First Avenue South • Seattle
ORGANIZER: Send EagleOfFreedom a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks April Meeting
3. John Crapper
4. John Crapper's S.O.
6. bleeding blue
DAY TBD, April TBD
Potential Boston Kossacks Meet-up
[Address] • [City]
ORGANIZER: Send GreyHawk a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: Boston Kossacks - Up & At 'em!
2. Hawk Wife
Saturday, May 3rd
DKos Asheville Kossacks Meet-up
TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Bywater
796 Riverside Dr. • Asheville
ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.
Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]
7. GulfGal 98
8. Otteray Scribe
10. people power granny
Tuesday, May 13th
SFKossacks Roll Out the Red Carpet for LeftOfYou & Expat Okie
TIME: 11:00 AM, Early lunch!
LOCATION: Yank Sing
Rincon Center, 101 Spear St. • San Francisco
ORGANIZER: Send navajo a kosmail to attend.
3. Expat Okie
4. side pocket
5. Justice Putnam
about your event or if you have changes or additions.
EVERYONE is welcome, tell us what you're working on,
share your show and tell, vent, whatever you want.
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