Tag Archives: wisdom

30 Days of Wisdom — Day 8: Blinded by Science


Welcome to Day 8!

I like this one,

The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.
― Isaac Asimov
tags: life, science, wisdom 7417 likes

Isaac Asimov (/ˈaɪzɨk ˈæzɨmɒv/ eye-zək az-ə-mov;[2] born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov; c. January 2, 1920[1] – April 6, 1992) was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards.[3] His books have been published in nine out of ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification.[4] (wikipedia)

90,000 letters and postcards?! Awesome. I haven’t read much science fiction, but I knew he was a big deal when I was a kid. My parents had a lot of his books on our bookshelves. I think my dad read him most; he doesn’t seem my mother’s taste at all.

Asimov died in 1992. Before the Internet. Before MS-Windows was released. Before widespread Starbucks coffee shops dotted the map like confetti.

Here’s what was released in the 1980s:

Personal computers
Graphical user interface
Video game consoles
Cable television
Answering machines
Cell phones
Portable phones
Fax machines

That’s plenty. The 80s were also a big moment for biological engineering, including cancer research in mice and food / agricultural advances which we likely wish hadn’t happened as well.

But this isn’t about science, as much as it is about wisdom.

It seems impossible for mankind to keep up with the breakneck pace of science and I think that’s ok, not sad. But that’s also not what he’s saying. What he is saying, is sad: that society doesn’t gain wisdom as quickly as science does.

But that was before 1992.

I think if Asimov was here to see the social media explosion and how it has ushered civil revolutions, information sharing, blogging, and global awareness, which I think has enhanced wisdom.

On the other hand, social media has also ushered in new ways to bully people, ways for unpleasant people to be incredibly unkind to one another in hateful and spiteful ways and been a great way for anonymous people to be completely awful to people who dare to have a contrary opinion.

I guess the heart of this quote is true — that societal wisdom is slower than the pace of science. But I think that’s what happens when science advances, which can be more easily quantified, than societal wisdom, which can take generations to assess. I do feel as though society is advancing in its widsom.

We have more awareness about:

the ecology
social injustice
disease and cures
equal rights
music and so much more.

I don’t think it’s sad that society’s wisdom isn’t as speedy as science. It’s human.

Thank you.

30 Days of Wisdom — Day 7: Sufferin’ Socrates


So I had this low thought this morning, that my sense of “wisdom” in my life is inauthentic. That only true wisdom comes from knowing what we don’t know and then experiencing or discovering it as insight. Here is today’s quote:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.
― Socrates
tags: knowledge, wisdom 8032 likes

Last week on Facebook, a friend posted his status about other peoples’ New Year’s resolutions. He stated that some people spoke of getting to know heaven better while other people spoke of moving away from their concepts of hell. He posited (and I agreed) that we all have the capacity to create our own heavens and hells right here and that we may as well just live the best lives we can.

That got me thinking. This is not always a good thing. It started me down a path of wondering “What the hell I do know?” and then this quote. So it’s all about timing as we know. But it also has a lot to do with staring down the barrel of 30 days of writing about other peoples’ thoughts about wisdom, which is sort of a heavy subject. I should’ve chosen 30 Days about Ice Cream.

So … about that thought …

I write a lot about a lot of different things. I seem to be a generalist. One thing I am sure of though is that optimism begets optimism as much as pessimism begets more pessimism. This thinking then led me down a path which was most unpleasant. The bottom line is that I felt like I was a fraud. There. I said it. Plain and simple. That I was a fraud who writes about her insipid observations from the comfort of her home at the pleasure of her discretion and that is that. That in order for me to actually have a right to be spouting off here as I do, to wax philosophic as I do and to encourage anyone, including myself, to look on the sunny side of things means that I don’t know pain. I don’t know suffering and I don’t know hell.

This has long been a sentiment about myself that I’ve managed to quiet for the most part, but sometimes it just comes back into my consciousness like a freakin’ freight train and it literally derails me for hours.

Last night, my husband was talking about a book he’s reading, Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani. He’s almost done, he reports, but he’s been bristling lately from it because he said she was starting to sound preachy.


That word hit me like a grand piano. I sank internally and he noticed it immediately.

“What?” he asked.

“Preachy. You said ‘preachy.’ Am I preachy?”

“No. You just share your observations. You don’t tell people how to live, in fact, you make it clear that you’re no expert about it…”

And down the rabbit hole I went.

“No! That’s what’s great about your stuff! You are humble. You say you don’t have all the answers! You know this about yourself! It’s good….”

Where did that rabbit go? “Humble?”

“Yes, you are humble about it. You know that your life is fleeting. You know this is all we have. You know that you need to break cycles, pay attention to your patterns, do the best you can….”

Ouch! A root, or is a rope? I didn’t see that coming. Humble… Am I humble? Am I grateful? Or am I just a fraud…

I gave up. I fell asleep reading some Alice Munro because I wanted to read more Nobel Prize writers. My husband bought me two of her books for Christmas. I like her, but she’s spartan. Canadian. You can tell she grew up in the cold; her timing is precise and she doesn’t waste words like I do. I like word wasters savorers like Fitzgerald and Twain and just about every other human being who talks too much.

So when I woke this morning, the concept of humility came up. I wondered about my humilty: has God or the Universe shown me what it means? Do I really have ANY idea of what it means? My children are healthy, my marriage is strong, my life is blessed: I am an educated white American female in the 21st Century… that’s pretty kush.

So then that got me thinking, that I don’t know suffering and that the suffering I endured as a child and as a young adult and even now as a white American mother in one of the country’s most affluent counties is bunk.

I have friends and loved ones who have traveled the world; they speak of great art, literature, architecture and crowding, suffering and joy. I have not traveled the world. I have been to England twice, Canada many times, but mostly one place, Bermuda, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle and Las Vegas. I have not seen drought or famine. But I have seen the wretched, the “tired, [your] poor, [your] huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” One of the saddest things I’ve seen lately was a collection of gray, dirty, weathered, soggy and sad-looking teddy bears nestled and tied to the trees and desolate front porches of homes as memorials where drive-by shootings or child deaths occurred in Buffalo.

Does this lack of worldliness make me a sham? For about four deep and dark hours this morning, I thought so. Then because it’s a mess, I started to vacuum my house, clean up the bathroom, dust and dump stuff out of the basement and clear some stuff out and I came to the conclusion, with Socrates on the mind, that he never rode on a plane; nor do I believe Shakespeare ever saw Africa. That worldliness might invoke a greater appreciation of suffering, but it doesn’t necessarily validate it … or better still, that a lack of worldliness doesn’t INvalidate anyone’s concept of suffering. We can create our own little hells, right here, without moving an inch.


Wild stuff. And with that, >poof!< the suffering –the feelings of fraud– that I unconsciously invoked while feeling sorry for myself, went away. What this tells me more than anything is that I need to keep writing and that it’s OK that I’ve lived the life I have; it’s not a sin, or something to feel guilty about (DAMN YOU, CATHOLICISM!) simply because I’ve lived the way I have so far. Would greater suffering or more epic harm to my family make me a better person or writer??

I didn't feel stupid anymore, I didn't feel insipid nor did I feel unwise. It was as though that pocket of low pressure arrived to flush out my self-pity crap; that Socrates is right: when we allow that we know nothing at all, is when wisdom can thrive.

So how about you? Do you ever feel fraudulent? Do you ever compare your suffering or woe with someone or conditions that are impossible to empathize? But that's the point I suppose: that even though we might not be able to have those experiences, we know what it's like inside ourselves, to feel low and to feel suffering. That's when we become wisest; that's when we can connect.

Thank you.

30 Days of Wisdom — Day 5: When Your Name is Safe In Someone’s Mouth


I can’t make these things up. Today is Day 5 of 30 Days of Wisdom per Goodreads.

Here is today’s quote (and I will say right now and likely again during this series that sometimes the quotes make no sense):

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.
― Jess C. Scott, The Intern
tags: desire, emotion, friendship, honesty, imagination, individuality, life, love, passion, reality, relationships,romance, truth, wisdom, wise-words 10824 likes

First, I will try to ignore the use of “they” and “their” in a book about when one person loves another. They and their are plural.

It’s one of those things that BUGS THE CRAP out of me, but it’s how we all speak these days. In speaking, I can understand it better than when using it in writing when a writer has time to read, edit, fix and present it.

Onward: I guess it makes sense. I have heard my name said by people who have treated me well, and by people who have not treated me well, and I think what Scott is saying actually sounds true.

I had a friend who used to say my name, reader, in the middle of a sentence, like how a mother would, to remind you, reader, that you are being spoken to and that you should pay attention, reader, to what you’re being told.

She was bossy and an old soul, like 80-year-old pissed grandma old. Super bossy and super judgey and we don’t speak anymore. I couldn’t handle it.

I have friends who don’t even say my name. I wonder what’s that all about. I say peoples’ names, when it feels organic; I like to do that because I like to be deliberate in what I’m saying or clear when in a group. I’m not like a robot though.

Another person I know says my name in a way that makes me feel like I just fell down and need help getting up.

I had teachers who respected me and who said my name in a collegial and respectful way; it worked: I liked performing and working for them. I had other teachers who disliked their jobs and lumped my name in with that entire vibe and I disliked being in the room with them. One teacher, my home-ec teacher leeched alcohol and I consistently disappointed her with my rogue-going.

I’m curious about this book, The Intern.

It’s Young Adult fiction. I think I’ll pass.

But here’s the blurb

* Book #1 (Lust) in Jess C Scott’s Sins07 “seven deadly sins” series—a teenage version of Dirty Dancing meets Punk’d.

17-year-old Suzie Q, smart kid and closet dance enthusiast, travels with a classmate to a world-class city for an internship program. She finds herself undeniably attracted to the suave hip-hop instructor, Jo.Zee, who recruits her into a dance fitness DVD he is producing. When Suzie sees (or thinks she sees) the real Jo.Zee, she must decide if she will trust him…or her instincts.

Genre: Contemporary Fiction / YA with adult crossover appeal

* SINS07 is a series featuring lighthearted tales that explore each of the seven sins in order, beginning with lust.(less)

I’m guessing that Suzie Q. (wow, that’s imaginative) doesn’t feel her name sounds safe when it comes out of Jo.Zee’s mouth.

I have to stop now.

This quote had potential when it was taken out of context. Now that it’s suddenly in context, it’s hard for me to stomach.

I need a cracker.

The point is that I get what the writer is saying: you can listen to the tone of how your name is stated. You can close your eyes and hear it. You can replay it and notice how you feel when you hear it. Do you feel safe when you hear it? Does it make you want to hear it more from that person? That’s inner wisdom, that’s worth paying attention to — that’s the seat of intuition.

Try it… it could be revealing.

Thank you.

30 Days of Wisdom — Day 4: Mark Twain! Bring it!


I’m so psyched. I love Mark Twain. Let’s get to it:

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
― Mark Twain
tags: individuality, majority, minority, pause, reflect, wisdom 30581 likes

Ruh-roh. Am I supposed to pause and reflect about my admiration for him because I LIKE to think that I’m not alone? That I’m in some form of majority because he was so clever and his writing is so timelessly true?

I am also completely surprised that his quote is not as popular as that George Washington Maurice Switzer fella from Day 2.

While I believe that Twain is on to something, absolutely, I also will submit that I believe we are in a time of huge personal pride for individualism, personal civil rights, and greater awareness of our fellow man.

Orrrrrrr…. maybe it’s just within the very small pocket of people I prefer to hang out and converse with.

Yeah, I think that’s likely more the deal. The internet is rife with weirdos. Nevermind. Twain was right.

I was watching something over the weekend where a parent was watching a kiddo on a skateboard. Then the conversation turned to Twitter’s “Vine” video app which loops a 6-second clip of genius for all the world to see. It went something like this,

“Vine? What’s vine? YouTube this! It’s great!” said the crotchety and half-dead 40-year-old man.

“Vine is 6-seconds! YouTube!? It’s more like three minutes. Who has time for that?!” she said as she skipped away.

I want to say that moment was in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” but I can’t be sure, my cobwebbed brain is filled to the gills with pointless shit like wondering about whether the pH in our hot tub will ever stabilize.

It was her response, “…three minutes. Who has time for that?!” that just sucked all the wind out of my sails. I weep for the future where everyone will have the opportunity to take everything personally, out of context, on behalf of someone else and repeatedly so in an endless and vapid race for relevance and matter in a world where no one has time to look at anything beyond six-seconds long.

Everyone has an opinion. Everyone feels a need to shout it from the rooftops. Everyone has to get in everyone else’s shit and dissect it and tell them how they could have done something better, faster, stronger… more like mmmmmyeah: someone else.

Me? I’m all about independence, but the funny thing about that, is that it’s very popular. I wrote about this a while ago.

Miley Cyrus endeavors to be artful and freakin’ inde-freakin-pendent y’all with her tongue and twerking and wrecking ball screeching and devil horns and foam fingers. Little kids everywhere are going, “Where the where is Hanna Montana?” as their mothers careen feverishly about their homes to turn off the screens and wait for the seven horsemen because you KNOW they’re paying attention to Miley. (I want to be the first to predict that she will soon drop her surname. Just let me have this.) I know she’s sitting around thinking about me. “Hmmmm… How do I crush that Hater, Molly… She’s so hatin’ on me… She doesn’t respect my art…”


Miley’s crusade is nothing new. It makes me wonder though about whether she is a pawn or truly being her own gal. The unending peer bashes she gets from her fellow “artists” is equally confusing and also leaves me thinking it’s all part of a machine.

It’s the popular thing to do these days, have an opinion about Miley Cyrus. I don’t entirely blame people either. She’s like this combo lightning bolt / barometer / tornado / wrecking ball for American Pop Culture society. It’s a fence to be on the side of: pro-Miley or anti-Miley. Me? I can’t be bothered with it. The more gray matter I devote to her crusade the stupider I get.

Then I’m all alone again, with Twain, ironically and secretly hoping and begging that more people will join us in our “Who gives a poop about Miley” brigade. Which then begets its own form of isolation and foam finger-pointing.

It’s a tricky road. Just think for yourself.

Thank you.