A look at the lives of exceptional people who exhibited qualities
Profiles of Wisdom? The
best way to get a handle on wisdom what it is, and how it is developed
may well be to examine the life stories of wise people.
of Modern Wisdom: An Introduction (Word format)(or PDF)
Moss describes the need for this project, and extends an invitation
to those who might want to contribute an essay.
portraits of well-known 20th century people
Wisdom from Russia: The Perspectives of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton by Walter Moss. A scholarly and yet personalized discussion, as seen through the eyes of Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton, of numerous significant Russian literary figures such as Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Berdyaev, Chekhov, and Pasternak, and their insights into the nature of wisdom.
Olaf Stapledon: Wisdom in the Cosmos by Tom Lombardo. My new book, The Psychology of the Future, includes a section on Olaf Stapledon, whose integrative breadth of vision encompasses futures studies, science fiction, and philosophy, and whom I believe was an exemplar case of a wise person. Having just finished reading a biography of Olaf Stapledon (Robert Crossley’s Olaf Stapledon: Speaking for the Future), I am even more convinced that Stapledon was a twentieth-century figure of great wisdom and immense philosophical significance.
Wisdom of Dorothy Day Walter Moss has updated his “Wisdom of Dorothy Day” essay. It is part of the Profiles of Wisdom series, which also includes his essays on the wisdom of Carl and Paula Sandburg, Andrei Sakharov, E. F. Schumacher, and Anton Chekhov, as well as essays by him and Alan Nordstrom on the wisdom of W. H. Auden, Shakespeare, and others. The primary reason for Moss’s update was his desire to take advantage of Jim Forest’s new biography, All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day (2011). After reading it, Moss incorporated the new insights of Forest. Forest was also kind enough to read the revised essay and make suggestions regarding it.
Wisdom, Humor, and Faith: A Historical
view (Word format) (or PDF)
Here, Walter Moss examines these qualities and their
relationship as manifested in the lives of many prominent historical
W. H. Auden's Wisdom,
Faith, and Humor (Word format) (or PDF)
Anglo-American writer W.H. Auden is considered one of
the 20th century's great writers, and in this essay Walter Moss
looks at key aspects of Auden's life and character.
The Wisdom of Carl and Paula Sandburg
(Word format) (or PDF)
The book's first essay, by Walter Moss, is a wisdom-focused
portrait of renowned poet and Lincoln biographer Carl Sandburg and
his wife Paula.
Sandburg's Wisdom through Humor (Word
format) (or PDF)
In this essay Walter Moss focuses on Carl Sandburg's
humor, and indicates how that humor was connected to his wisdom.
The Wisdom of Andrei Sakharov (Word
format) (or PDF)
Here, Walter Moss reviews the life and developing wisdom
of this Russian physicist winner of the Nobel Peace Prize,
and champion of freedom and human rights.
The Wisdom of E.F. Schumacher (Word
format) (or PDF)
As Walter Moss puts it, this forward thinking economist
and environmentalist "attempted to apply wisdom to numerous
aspects of twentieth-century life, not only to economics and the
environment, but to science, technology, culture, education, religion,
and the relations of rich nations to poor nations."
Wisdom of Anton Chekhov (Word format) (or PDF)
Maxim Gorky called Chekhov "a great, wise, and
observant man," and in this essay Walter Moss tells us about
Chekhov's "practical wisdom that enabled him to care for those
he loved and to help others."
of pre-modern wisdom
An Introduction to Lao-Tzu by John van Huizum. A selection of quotations from "The Way of Life" with personal commentary and reflections on the wisdom and the value of the ideas of Lao-Tzu to contemporary life.
Take on Human Wisdom (Word format) (or
PDF) This essay by Alan Nordstrom looks at
what we can learn from Shakespeare's plays about his take on wisdom.
of other wise people
Wisdom Writers: Franklin, Johnson, Goethe, and Emerson by Walter G. Moss. As the author states the main concern of this essay is to demonstrate how four prominent men, living in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, valued and greatly respected the capacity of wisdom. Another well-researched, thoughtful, and intellectually engaging essay by Walter Moss. Though the focus is primarily on how these four figures understood and pursued wisdom, the essay is highly relevant to our general understanding of wisdom.
Invitation to Contribute the Story of Some Wise Person You Have Known
The person needn't be famous, just wise. Just tell their
story in text, audio, or video format, and have it posted here.
McClusky: A Wise and Good Man Deeply impressed
by this man, Walter G. Moss tells us about McClusky's positive outlook
on life, his concern with helping young people, his modesty, and
more. (doc file)
Friend Alice Burkhardt Cop Macdonald presents
a profile of this remarkable woman a story that first appeared
in his book Getting a Life.