Leland (Lee) Beaumont has been corresponding with several of us for more than a decade in dialogue about what we mean by practical wisdom and where more formal ideas about knowledge should fit in. A little constructive synthesis amidst all the dialectical debates between right and wrong, good and bad, science and religion, the daily cut and thrust of liberal vs conservative politics and truth vs fake-news.
His many articles published at Best Thinking and organised as a course on Wikiversity in the last 3 years or so represent a great collection of evolving resources in their own right, but recently he posted a 30 minute summary on “Living Wisely by Seeking Real Good“. Worth 30 minutes of anyone’s time. [Neat evolving dynamic feature of Wikimedia is that Pinker’s latest “Enlightenment Now” is already in the further reading list!]
Understanding reality and being motivated towards the good involves topics that might easily be cast as conflicting positions and binary dichotomies but what this simple presentation highlights is that real good is an integration across all of these driven from basic human dignity – the same dignity that underpins the ubiquitous golden rule and the original UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights and Freedoms. Plain and simple yet, as a distillation of so much material, quite profound.
Whilst many epistemological questions of why and how will always require more detailed consideration, of rationality and science, philosophy and theology, even if wisdom itself remains aloof from definitional consideration, it’s good to progress through life with the basics in action at all times.
The trick is realising the integration and convergence of the true and the good, when they might appear as divergent axes on a typical Boston Consulting 2 x 2 grid.
[Post Note: Would love to see a Cynefin (Certainty & Chaos) version of that 2×2 grid.]