So far we’ve looked at the virtues of:
- beauty – living authentically and taking care of our physical well-being and surroundings (body, presence, home, and garden)
- friendship – treating the planet and other beings as well as we want to be treated
- pleasure – agreeing to seek out new experiences as well as make time to do unproductive things.
I have the capacity for choice so I challenge my thinking, live intentionally and courageously act on my convictions in the face of opposition.
|growth||Becoming a more complex person, challenging my beliefs, understanding and developing my mind: critical thinking, self-reflection, subject expertise. Having the courage of my convictions, choosing me for me.|
|choice||Having the capacity to make choices|
So, wisdom huh? Not just nous, but a bit of book smarts too. A little something to have my back when I am out in the trenches defending my point of view. Or choosing who my friends are…
With a family history of dementia and Alzheimer’s in mind and the recent-ish discovery of the importance of ongoing development and use of our critical capacities, this is the place for goals on maintaining cleverness. I love Sodukos and will happily spend hours on them, but I feel that I should make the effort to come to terms with cryptic crosswords. They come up again and again in lists of ways to keep your brain young. I’m shuddering as I think it – I am so utterly crap at them that they give me tantrums.
Some of my other virtues have an element of research about them, e.g. creatures requires information on appropriate and food and habitat plants. But I have been thinking that maybe I could pretend to be back at University – give myself a monthly research question and see what I can learn that will contribute to the development of my virtues.
And because I know it is too easy to get stuck in our own little rut, I will try out new things. You just never know.
I wasn’t initially sure there was a place for goals in choice. But the other day I watched this really interesting TEDx talk (which starts immediately) by Ruth Chang on making hard choices. She suggests that when we make decisions we usually assume that subjective elements (like my virtues) can be ranked and dealt with as if they were objective quantitative objects – we tend to assume that of two things, one is better, or worse, or the same as the other. To use one of her examples, it’s like choosing between a high fibre bran cereal or a chocolate doughnut for breakfast – these two things are not objectively better or worse or the same. But when you look at them subjectively, they are “on par”. Our choice between them comes down to the things that we value – when we create reasons to support our decisions we “become the authors of our lives”. We choose to become bran people or doughnut people.
And this is kind of what I am trying to get at within the virtues framework. To consciously make choices, not have them thrust upon me. Some of them will be baseline, e.g. that ALL people deserve equal consideration, and some will be contextual, e.g. today I will have pain au chocolat for breakfast.
Wisdom goals in summary:
- learn how to do cryptic crosswords
- develop a series of small monthly research projects
- make choices with the virtues framework in mind
- challenge myself to try new things
How do you feel about that? Are you like Katy who wonders why I need a plan for breathing? Or are you like Toseland who thinks this is a waste of time and would be on the doughnut in a flash? Does the notion of wisdom even make sense? Or do you have a better way to describe it?
Next time I’ll be showing you the money.