Saturday, January 31, 2009


Old saying: “Handsome is as handsome does.” Same goes for wisdom, I’d say: it’s not whether you are wise, but do you act wisely? We’ll know if you possess wisdom by judging your decisions and your behavior and seeing whether they work to the benefit of yourself and others since to be wise is to realize (i.e., to understand and to make real) what is of value to yourself and others (in the words of philosopher Nicholas Maxwell).

How you live, how you conduct yourself in all circumstances, reveals how wise you are and is typically a humbling assessment to make since you’re likely to find folly abounding in your personal history, just as Shakespeare’s Puck observed of us: “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” Foolishness, stupidity, obliviousness, denseness, dullness, doltishness—not to mention viciousness—these are the traits that define our humanity as the wayward and sinful species the Bible declares us to be: fallen from grace, a species fatally flawed. Wisdom is . . . therefore rare.


Thursday, January 15, 2009


“Just think before you speak,” my Dad would say,
exasperated with my babbling,
since he was all for logic and the way
of cool, deliberate, careful reasoning.
“He walks and talks and wastes his time,” once wrote
my fourth-grade teacher on my year-end card,
which got me sent, a tie around my throat,
to private school, where discipline was hard.
But still my adolescent way was rash,
impulsive and impromptu and half-assed,
the teenage way—indecorous and brash,
yet, buckled down, my manner changed at last,
and I became reserved and reticent,
a way that I now work to circumvent.