The Wisdom Page 


Why Profiles of Wisdom?

Two of the key questions which have occupied The Wisdom Page during the past 14 years are: What is wisdom? and How can we develop it? Ancient spiritual traditions can help us answer both questions if we delve deeply enough into their practices. So can insights from personal growth psychology. But perhaps we can learn most from the study of wise people — People who deal with life situations exceptionally well. People who not only espouse the highest values, but live them. People whose concerns extend far beyond themselves.

Much of the academic research on wisdom has involved studies of exceptional people. Scholars have looked at the specifics of their attitudes, ways of being, and life histories and have drawn conclusions about what wisdom is and how these people became wise. Some of us appreciate scholarly analyses, but others would rather consider the raw data for themselves, get their own insights from it, and draw their own conclusions. Hopefully, this new PROFILES OF WISDOM section of The Wisdom Page which focuses primarily on the life stories themselves will meet that need.

PROFILES OF WISDOM has three subsections. The first of these is: WISDOM PORTRAITS OF WELL-KNOWN 20TH CENTURY FIGURES. Historian Walter Moss has a long-term book project in mind, a book tentatively titled Portraits of Modern Wisdom. Walter will be writing some of the essays for this book himself, and here you will find the first of his portraits, "The Wisdom of Carl and Paula Sandburg." Walter is also encouraging others who are familiar with the life story of some well-known 20th century wise person to write a portrait of that person to be posted here on The Wisdom Page — and if the book comes together as hoped, possibly make it into the book. Check out Walter's Portraits of Modern Wisdom: An Introduction, and if interested, email him at
(FYI, see my review of his 2008 book An Age of Progress? at

The second subsection, PORTRAITS OF PRE-MODERN WISDOM, will be devoted to prominent people in the pre-modern era and their relationship with wisdom. If you have studied the life of such a person and have insights to share, please write me (Cop Macdonald) at See, for example, Alan Nordstrom's "Shakespeare's Take on Human Wisdom."

For the third subsection, PROFILES OF OTHER WISE PEOPLE, I am looking for text, audio, or video contributions — not of well-known people in this case, but personal stories concerning some wise person you have known and whose wisdom has impressed you. If interested in contributing to this third category, email me at For starters I have put up a profile of Alice Burkhardt, one of the wisest people I have ever known.