Wise Reasoning is an antidote to our cultural woes

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Mainstream media is eroding our ability to reason wisely. When we are chronically exposed to news that highlights our differences, rather than our similarities, and plays on our emotions, rather than appealing to reason, we lose our ability to use wise reasoning. This furthers social division, reinforces intolerance, and fuels conspiratorial thinking. Here is how to combat this trend.

So what is wise reasoning anyway?

For millennia philosophers have promoted wisdom as an attribute that can strengthen societies and help us to overcome all manner of challenges. Contemporary scholars are still working to clearly define what wisdom is, but they do have some clear agreement on…


Them = Authorities, Institutions, Government Leaders

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Curiosity could very well be the value that transforms the world. If you are a seeker of truth, you won’t find it without being deeply curious. It’s the value that will keep you looking even after you suspect you’ve found the answer. What if all of our societal challenges could simply be solved by approaching life with a sense of curious wonder?

I think they could.

There is even evidence that those who approach life with a higher degree of curiosity, are more immune to partisan thinking. I don’t find this surprising, but I love this research because it backs…


It can keep us from resembling a nation of paranoid psychotics

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As humans, one of our core motivations is to share our inner experiences with others. Starting in infancy we learn to shift our inner states to attune with those around us, and throughout our lives, we rely on others to help us regulate our emotions. We are biologically primed to be moved by the emotional states of others and to seek the resonance that comes from shared emotional experiences.

As adults, checking our emotional state with that of others can come in the form of a “reality check.” How often have you asked a friend to check your assumptions, help…


How living from your “wise mind” leads to a wise heart

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In Part 2 of this series on Wisdom is a Skill, we covered living from the wise mind; how to recognize that mind state, and how to find yourself in that balanced place more often.

What is really beautiful about living from a wise mind, is that it encourages you to naturally cultivate the traits that we all associate with wisdom. For example, psychologists have found open-mindedness to be one of the traits associated with wisdom. By being mindful (aware without judgment) of your thoughts and feelings, you will notice that you have emotions that conflict with your rational thoughts…


To practice wisdom is to practice living from the balanced state of the wise mind

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In The Skill of Wisdom: Part 1 we defined wisdom as insight in action: The integration of the rational brain (knowledge), with the emotional brain (experience), which creates insight; or deeper, intuitive knowing. This deep knowing put into action is wisdom. To practice wisdom is to practice living from the balanced state of the wise mind.

Dr. Marsha Linehan, the founder of DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), says “Wise Mind is like having a heart — everyone has one, whether they experience it or not.” Thus, this is something we all possess naturally, even if we are not aware of it…


We all have the potential to become wise

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If you ask 10 people What is wisdom?” you will likely get 10 different answers, but connecting them are likely underlying themes, such as having a wealth of knowledge, but knowing the limits of that knowledge, taking different perspectives into account, giving good advice, or having self-awareness. Often we decide who is wise by observing the outcomes of the decisions they make in their lives and the quality of their relationships. We see the wisdom they hold through their actions.

Often wisdom is used synonymously with knowledge or insight, but if you dive a little deeper, you will find that…


If only we were all taught to communicate this way

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As humans, we are wired to connect with one another. We need personal relationships as much as we need food, water, and the air we breathe. Considering how vital it is that we have strong connections with others, it’s shocking how little most of us are actually taught about creating and maintaining these connections through good communication.

Anyone who has been in a conflicted relationship (umm everyone), knows how frustrating it can be to do your best to express your feelings and still be misunderstood. You re-word, you cool off and re-visit, and still end up in an argument. …


The elements that transform a run-of-the-mill experience into a defining moment

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Take a quick mental inventory of your “keepsakes.” Most of them are physical reminders of defining moments; love notes, wedding photos, a childhood memento, a souvenir from a magical trip- they help us to remember moments of significance in our lives. These objects bring us back to the pleasant emotions of that experience. A beautiful blend of elements merged to make those moments so special that we want to emotionally revisit them.

But what elements must fall into place to transform an experience into a defining moment? Can we purposefully create more defining moments in our lives?

In the book…


Hope is not an emotion, it’s learned through experience

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What comes to mind when you think about the word hope? For me, it’s wall art and mugs; “hope” written in cursive, accompanied by words like faith, love, and dream. It is not a positive association. As much as I love to feel inspired, I am not a fan of inspirational décor. It doesn’t suit my taste, and more importantly, I think it dilutes the meaning of words that are actually profound concepts. Reclaiming and connecting with the meaning of the word hope, requires a reintroduction.

Defining Hope

We often say we “feel” hopeful, but hope is not actually an emotion. It…


Stop wasting your efforts and start removing the obstacles to well-being

Ganesh- Remover of Obstacles by Photo by Lokesh Paduchuri on Unsplash

If your a regular reader of Medium, it may have occurred to you how much people seem to love self-help how-to articles. We are suckers for an interesting story about a clearly defined problem- one that personally resonates with us, and then we want to be told how to solve that problem with actionable steps. We want a quick and dirty list, a step-by-step map to becoming a better/happier/more productive human.

The problem here is that suggesting action, without talking about what is getting in the way, is a half-baked solution. It can feel inspiring, but it is a backward…

Aimee O'Neil MSW

Curious and compassionate mind explorer, who is working to make wisdom cultivation the next big thing. www.wisdomcultivators.com

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