Saturday, August 31, 2013


When you graduate from a four-year program of liberal education, you will possess a wider range of significant knowledge gathered from many fields of academic inquiry, and clearer understanding of how those various disciplines comprehend their subject matter and their methodologies—most especially in your major field(s).

You will be more confident and disposed to continue pursuits of inquiry auto-didactically, employing those skills of study and research you have practiced as a collegian, and with an appetite for learning whetted by the challenges you have previously met.

Having now learned better how to learn, you will have developed an appetite for life-long learning that you’re prepared and eager to pursue, whether in conjunction with your work career or as fruitful leisure activity.

Your wider interest in and comprehension of the world should sharpen your concern for its well-being, for the thriving of its species and the viability of its ecosystems.  Your liberal education should have liberated you from self-centeredness and disposed you toward developing a wisdom that seeks to realize what is of greatest value for yourself and others—to discover it and to make it so in an ever more flourishing world.

In sum, a true liberal education leads to the flowering of self-actualization and to fruitful words and deeds that follow from one’s blossomed powers, along the way toward wisdom.



The challenge of the sonnet is to fling
A five-beat line across the page and like
A spider hope it finds someplace to cling,
A daring high-wire strung from pike to pike.

You cannot know when you begin where you
Will go, what course you’ll take, what trail you’ll blaze
Or what elusive game you will pursue
While line by line meandering through this maze.

At some point, though, a clearing opens wide—
You see before you what it was you sought
And now have fewer courses to decide
Until your shapely sonnet’s fully wrought.

     There’s some mysterious imperative
     That brings a sonnet forth and lets it live.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013


     Pace, Sha-drai, Shalom, and Om bring peace,
     Letting the flurried mind slow down and cease,
     Slipping into a meditative trance
     Wherein, if fortunate, you’re blessed to glance
     At Essence and achieve beatitude,
     Most easily attained when not pursued.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

     What is that Bliss that saints and sages seek,
     That rapturous and transcendental peak
     From which they view with cosmic clarity
     The holy essence of reality?

     Once long ago I caught a glimpse of it
     And labored since to find what’s requisite
     To apprehend such Bliss in its full glory,
     The hoped-for happy ending to our story.

     The best I’ve learned is that serenity,
     A poised and tranquil manner, is the key,
     A meditative rapture opening
     The soul to what sweet messengers may bring:

          A taste of honey from some occult comb
          Reminding me of our eternal home.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

“Too soon old, too late smart,” the saying goes.  We can do better.

We can learn to wise up sooner in the course of our lives.  The culture that cultivates our attitudes and our behaviors can be upgraded.  To be wise is to work to realize what is of highest value, bringing that into being, making it so.

Therefore, learning what is valuable and necessary to our optimal thriving is everyone’s proper pursuit—the “pursuit of happiness,” of the highest happiness we can achieve for all, for not only humans but the biosphere that sustains all life on Earth.

We can grow wise.


Friday, August 23, 2013


for Nicholas Maxwell

         Though we may aim at wisdom as our goal,      
         Proclaiming we are Homo sapiens,    
         It’s obvious we’ve less than full control    
         Of our misdeeds, with many sins to cleanse.

       How likely is it then we can grow wise
       Unless it’s patiently and one by one,
       For it takes time and care to realize
       What roads to follow and what ways to shun?

       To turn away from error and return
       To innocence in search of sanctity
       Means we must learn to patiently discern
       What serves the Earth and saves humanity.

            For what is wisdom but to realize
            What is of value to our enterprise?


Thursday, August 22, 2013


               What does it mean, then, to be wise?
               It means always to realize
               In both the short and the long haul
               The happiest results for all.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Although a “Global Wisdom Culture” sounds
Ridiculous to those who know what fools
We Homo saps can be, there may be grounds
To think we’ll learn to play by wiser rules.

If for no other reason, we now see
What misapplied intelligence has done
To urge our world toward catastrophe
That even abject folly seeks to shun.

It’s only love of life and other creatures
That can impel our kindred to grow kind;
We all by our behaviors must be teachers
Of qualities by which we are defined:

Though we have strayed from where we ought to go,
It’s Homo sapience we’re meant to show.


Sunday, August 18, 2013


If we are consciously and intentionally to create a Global Wisdom Culture, we must first designate the values, principles and standards that would define it, and then determine how best to inculcate the global citizenry into such a culture, inducing them to outgrow and transcend their previous cultural conditionings that conflict with the ideals of a GWC.  Teaching by example and genial persuasion must be the methods used, not coercion.  What is wise must be reasonable, and the benefits of behaving wisely should be clearly demonstrated and convincingly urged.


Friday, August 16, 2013


   However much we cultivate the arts
   Of grace and peace, there’s still a violence
   Within the lower regions of our hearts,
   An instinct for survival and defense;

   And though we aim at magnanimity
   And mean to resurrect our sinking souls,
   Insults and threats to our security
   Still undermine our high resolve like moles.

   What measures then might yet transform us to
   The sapient ones we nominally profess
   Ourselves to be?  What course should we pursue
   To rectify ourselves and reach success?

        I think we’ll find no answer from above;
        The only way is falling into love.


Thursday, August 15, 2013


       We’ve come to recognize our agency
       As Evolution’s leading edge on Earth;
       What used to be unconscious mystery
       We see now as our greatest source of worth.

       It falls then to our minds’ intelligence
       To chart the course of further flourishing,
       And though this daunting venture is immense,
       The task is ours to make the future sing.

       Whatever was the source of life’s arrival,
       The torch has passed to us to keep it going;
       We’re now responsible for our survival,
       For which we must seek out a higher knowing,

            And nothing less than wisdom will suffice
            If we’re to make our Earth a Paradise.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


        Mind is implicit in the universe,         
        Unfolding over eons into us,
        The grandest gift we know it could disburse,          
        Though not the only one that ever was.

        The odds are infinite that other minds         
        Have manifested in the vasts of space;         
        And that the cosmos shows implied designs         
        That we will soon discover how to trace.

        But should we then personify this source,          
        As ancient sages did who first inferred         
        Some deity had set us on our course        
        By the authority of His high word?       
             If only for the sake of poetry, 
             Let’s grant our Source a personality.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

for Paul H. Ray



“Creating a global wisdom culture.”  What might that mean?  More fundamentally: what is wisdom?  What does it mean to be wise?

We probably know wisdom when we see it and exclaim, “That was the wise thing to do” or “That was wise behavior or a wise attitude or perspective,” meaning that some other alternative would be ill-considered, erratic or stupid, and thus proving less valuable than the outcome of a wise choice.  Wise choices bring valuable results.

Therefore, a global wisdom culture would cultivate and grow the best harvest of benefits for all.

By that measure, prevailing human cultures in the 21st century are less than wise, but rather cause much harm to human beings, to other creatures, and to the viability of the planet at large.  We might more aptly dub ourselves Homo errans than Homo sapiens.

True, we are prone to error, legendarily fallible—born broken, some traditions proclaim—but yet redeemable, we may hope, tractable to wiser discernments and behaviors.  And that would be the point of learning to make wise choices and take wise courses of action.  We can do better than we have done, and the world now urgently needs us to do so.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013


     There’s no religion or philosophy
     So far that wins and rules all hearts and minds,
     That works to lift us out of misery,
     Leading us from temptations of all kinds.

     Where then is wholesome wisdom to be found
     That may be cultivated in our souls,
     Sprouting in us until our minds grow sound
     And all are then pursuing worthy goals?

          For every choice you make, one rule applies:
          Before you act, consider—“Is this wise?”


Monday, August 5, 2013


Now that the word global has grown so pervasive, I say it’s time to develop a culture that suits our era and our urgent planetary needs: a Global Wisdom Culture.

Culture is not simply something that befalls us and assimilates us into itself from when we’re born, but it is also a shaping force that can itself be reshaped intentionally, as social scientist Paul H. Ray and others declare.  This is a proposition to examine, and one with vital implications.

Sociologist and survey researcher Ray and his colleague Sherry Ruth Anderson published in 2001 an influential book, The Cultural Creatives: How 50 Million People Are Changing the World, the premise of which is that established cultures can be intentionally redesigned or reprogrammed to be more salutary, just as an individual can learn to live more healthily by practicing wholesome regimens.  People can change and cultures can change, even radically and rapidly—and now is an urgent time for such world-wide cultural changes to evolve and manifest.

The fundamental question to explore in this regard is “How can a culture be redesigned and changed intentionally and successfully?  This is a question for social scientists and socio-cultural engineers to address, as in fact many such opinion leaders are even now doing with concerted efforts to leverage a “global shift” in human life ways toward practices that are sustainable and life-enhancing planet wide, evolving toward a viable Earthwise and future-friendly culture.


Sunday, August 4, 2013


  What once I saw as a transcendent light
  That brightened my then cold and lonely soul,
  Illuminating me with mystic sight,
  Revealed a vision that would make me whole—

  Though only for a day or two until
  The dull, bleak sublunary trance returned,
  For visions are not subject to one’s will,
  Or not by any means that I have learned.

  What yet remains in memory still glows
  As hope that I may someday see beyond
  That veil of mystery where no one goes
  Without a sacred sorcerer’s magic wand.

       Yet glad enough am I that once I saw
       What seemed a realm of Light and Love and Awe.


Saturday, August 3, 2013


    Beyond the Veil, what mysteries lie concealed
    That by and by will finally be revealed?
    For let’s assume, as many have declared:
    From ultimate extinction we are spared;

    What seems like death to those who still remain
    Is merely moving to a higher plane,
    Transcending time and space until again
    We choose another round as mortal men.

    If this be so, then what we are to do,
    The sages say, is ardently pursue
    Those goals we choose when once again the Veil
    Descends and we return to what seems jail.

         But think instead that this is all a sport,
         The way our spirits frolic and cavort.


Friday, August 2, 2013


      I may be one among the last to live
      Before all hell breaks loose upon this Earth,
      Before we show what no God would forgive:
      Our negligence of what all life is worth.

      We’ve learned enough cosmology to know
      That out of absolutely nothing we—
      This universe that set our lives aglow—
      Emerged from some divine mentality.

      And yet a stupor has enveloped us,
      A spell of grandiosity and greed
      So that all portents now are ominous
      Unless we find out what we truly need:

           Implicit in our souls to realize
           In time—is that we can and must grow wise.