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February 04, 2008


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Good questions all. I'm convinced the unexamined gift is still worth giving.


The impulse springs eternal.

JJ Commoner

It would be useful / interesting to map these questions and points onto the themes and stories outlined in Yale psychologist Daniel Levinson's "The Seasons of a Man's Life".

Levinson was obviously interested in the full range of people, not just men, as he followed up his classic with "The Seasons of a Woman's Life" almost 20 years later. Well, unless he got yelled at a lot for being a chauvinist. I'm pretty sure both men and women like to give as they get older .. in my perception and experience (and as a large generalization), women start giving (a lot) earlier and as a more central role in their individual identities.


Yes, JJ, stages of life, rites of passage, the creation of identity across domains, the hero's journey. In Bill Gate's recent speech you can sense a metamorphosis, or shucking off of an old shell.

Antoine Möeller


Wisdom is a gift; you can't train for it, inherit it, learn it in a class, or earn it in the workplace--that access can foster the acquisition of knowledge, but not wisdom.


Larry has a nice, well thought out endorsement too.


Excellent joke goes like this. "Old man how did you gain such good judgment?", asks the young man. Old man says,"Experience." Young man ask, "Well, how do you get the experience?" Old man says, "Bad judgment." Or as Blake put it, "If the Fool would persist in his folly he would become wise."


Wisdom is a gift. Given by whom and how? When given from teacher to student, master to acolyte, parent to child and back again, where does it come from? Part from tradition and culture, and part on the spot creativity born of play and necessity. Wisdom is a lot like slack, when it is short supply, it is a precious resource, but if you nurture it and help it grow you will always have it with you and when you give it away it comes back to you one thousand fold.

It is true, though, that the role of pedagog is limited, the primary one being to keep the student safe while skills and limits are mastered. If you kill yourself trying too much too soon as a young fool, you never get to be a wise old Fool. Hubris has a way of taking care of itself.

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