Would The Wisdom Page Be Useful in Your Research?
The Wisdom Page is a resource that could be of value for certain kinds of wisdom research. It is, of course, useful as a source of wisdom-relevant information. Beyond that, however, because it that attracts wisdom-interested visitors from around the world, it is potentially useful for recruiting research subjects and communicating with them.
Let me begin with a brief introduction. My name is Copthorne (Cop) Macdonald, and I am a writer, an independent scholar, and a former communication systems engineer. My 1960s engineering-related positions included Project Manager, Visual Communication and Display, at Westinghouse Electric Corp. in Pittsburgh; Manager of the Electronic Design Department at Ball Brothers Research Corporation in Boulder Colorado; and Director of Research at Vidcom Electronics in New York City. In the early 1970s my interests began to broaden, and writing became an important part of my life. To date I have written eight books (three of them on aspects of wisdom), contributed to four other books, written ten scholarly papers, and have had more than 120 article-length pieces published. Most recently, I wrote a chapter for a scholarly book on the life work of Nicholas Maxwell philosopher of science and advocate of wisdom-inquiry in academia. (The chapter is on line at http://www.wisdompage.com/MaxwellinContext.html. More about my background is at http://www.wisdompage.com/aboutcop.html.)
In the late 1980s, concerned about the failure of both individuals and societal institutions to work "for the good of the whole," I became interested in wisdom. In 1993 I wrote Toward Wisdom, a general-readership book that explores the nature of wisdom, the impediments we face in our quest to become wise, and practical steps one can take to overcome the obstacles. This was followed in 1995 by a book that focuses on practical everyday wisdom: Getting a Life: Strategies for Joyful and Effective Living. Intended for the general reader, Getting a Life is also being used as a college text. My 2004 wisdom book, Matters of Consequence, is a more scholarly work. Its 500+ endnotes cite 300+ publications, and it, too, is being used as a college course text. The book focuses on ways and means of bringing personal and societal wisdom together. It has been praised by many leaders in the transformational community and has received highly positive reviews in publications of The World Future Society, The Institute of Noetic Sciences, The Scientific and Medical Network, the International Futures Forum, and other publications. (See the comments at http://mattersofconsequence.com/0comments.html and the reviews at http://mattersofconsequence.com/0reviews.html). Information about all three books and free downloads of eBook editions of the books are at http://www.wisdompage.com/ebooksinfo.html. A complete list of my publications can be seen at http://www.copmacdonald.com/pubslist.html.
WISDOM PAGE BACKGROUND
My interest in education for wisdom had its first expression in those two 1990s wisdom books. In 1995, just after the second book was published, I faced the question, "What next? The Internet had recently given birth to World Wide Web, and my communication background and interest in wisdom education came together in a decision to create "The Wisdom Page -- a site devoted to wisdom resources." During the past 12 years the site has grown in usefulness and visitor numbers, and is currently located at www.wisdompage.com. It has content in the following categories:
The site also incorporates several Web 2 features, including an RSS feed and monthly email newsletters to notify interested people of new content, streaming audio and video, podcasts, a custom search engine focused on wisdom-related issues, and free downloads of doctoral dissertations and eBooks.
THE POTENTIAL ROLE OF THE WISDOM PAGE IN WISDOM RESEARCH
In the late 1990s there were meetings in Burkina Faso of a Council of the Wise. As I understand it, this was a group of people from different countries and backgrounds who wanted to foster the development of wisdom in African culture. A useful outcome of these meetings was the identification of four levels of wisdom:
Visitors to The Wisdom Page are a diverse group, but all are interested in wisdom to some degree. Based on my 13 years of experience running the site, I believe that it is visited by people from all four categories. At one extreme are the merely curious. At the other are the recognizably wise.
The Wisdom Page not only gets wisdom-interested visitors, it gets many of them. These days a Google.com search for the single word "wisdom" returns about 100 million pages. The Wisdom Page is consistently among the top 10 of those 100 million, on the first page of the search returns. This makes it an easy destination for individuals interested in wisdom. Each month the website is visited more than 10,000 times by people from more than 90 countries. There are also repeat visitors, and some 200 of them have signed up to receive monthly newsletters which alert them to the latest additions to the site. Many others, via automatic RSS feed, receive those updates the day they occur. Also each month, more than 20,000 requests for electronic documents are successfully filled.
With the Internet and its communication capabilities, researchers no longer need to rely on a local pool of subjects for their investigations. Subjects can, in principle, be anywhere in the world. But in the vast expanse of cyberspace, how do you find them?
Enter The Wisdom Page. In one's local community, a small fraction of the people are likely to have an active interest in wisdom. In contrast, those who visit The Wisdom Page all are interested in wisdom some just mildly interested, others passionately interested. Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that among Wisdom Page visitors, the percentage of those at level 2, 3, or 4 of that wisdom-development hierarchy is going to be appreciably higher than in the general population. In a sense, The Wisdom Page is a people-filtering attractant, selectively drawing to it people with wisdom on their minds. Because of this, The Wisdom Page would appear to have potential as a tool for recruiting subjects for wisdom research projects.
How might that be accomplished? I could, for example, create a visually prominent section of the site that would explain the project, state what the qualifications and expectations of the subject would be, and provide the potential subject with an easy and informative way to contact the lead researcher. One could, for example, seek subjects
Once the subjects were chosen by the researcher, questionnaires and evaluation-instrument documents would be made available to them via email or downloaded from the site itself. If personal interviews were a necessary part of the project, arrangements could be made to conduct at least some of them on line via Skype or Skype plus telephone.
If you see possibilities here for your own work, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let us explore those possibilities, and discuss how you and I might collaborate to make it happen.