The Plight of the Founder

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
The Plight of the Founder

August 10, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” – Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 12:57

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,181. Gold closed at $1,338 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $42.69 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.545%. Bitcoin is trading around $590 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

My mind wanders off of the beaten path once again this week as I finish up A Lodging of Wayfaring Men by Paul Rosenberg for the second time. As I read this book, I can almost ‘see’ the plight of the founder as it has played out over and over again throughout human history.

In order to understand the plight of the founder, we must first understand a key function of life… all life. The basic laws of thermodynamics tell us that closed systems naturally evolve towards a state of maximum entropy; entropy being the amount of energy not available for work.

Life systematically reverses entropy. Continue reading “The Plight of the Founder”

Cede Not the Power Within

submitted by jwithrow.
Click here to get the Journal of a Wayward Philosopher by Email

Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Cede Not the Power Within

July 13, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free…. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us…” – Valerie, V for Vendetta

The S&P closed out Tuesday at $2,152. Gold closed at $1,335 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $46.80 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.51%. Bitcoin is trading around $660 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

I’m not exactly sure where this entry is going to go. As regular readers know, I sit down weekly to write about whatever is on my mind.

No script. No filter. No agenda other than the spreading of ideas.

I do try to tie these entries in with one of my books or finance courses for commercial purposes so I can tell wife Rachel that I did some work today, but I am not always successful in that endeavor.

What’s on my mind this week is power – personal power. Continue reading “Cede Not the Power Within”

The Power in Paradoxical Wisdom

submitted by jwithrow.sunrise

There is a certain power that one stumbles upon once they accept the “paradoxical wisdom” concept.

This power is not physical in nature. It is not like money power or political power which must be grabbed by men (or women) of ambition. It is a power only found when one is not seeking it; it is not something to be sought after and possessed. For this reason it is a power that is not corrupting and it is not fleeting. The power inherent in paradoxical wisdom is one of peace and serenity.

It is the understanding that there is something greater and more important than money, status, or worldly power. It is the understanding that each one of us are so much more than what we appear to be on the surface and that each one of us is here in this moment for a very specific reason; we are not irresponsible little people that are here by chance.

There is an inner calmness that develops once one comes to the realization that he (or she) does not know. The trivial occurrences of the day become completely irrelevant.

Those who have not yet found this power worry and fret over small mishaps or social popularity or what have you. But those who have found the inner peace care little for any of these things.

This is why those who possess calmness of mind and spirit cannot be gossiped about or ridiculed. They are not very interested in playing the worldly game of ego, power, or status and so insults do not bother them in the slightest. This makes it very unsatisfying and a bit embarrassing for the one doing the insulting; insulting another without receiving a reaction is like playing a game of catch with one’s self.

The power contained within paradoxical wisdom allows one to maximize his (or her) productive energy. He no longer wastes energy worrying about trivial events. He no longer wastes energy worrying about physical appearance or fashion. He no longer wastes energy worrying about how he is perceived by others. He no longer wastes energy playing the power game.

As it turns out, we tend to waste quite a bit of energy just in perceived self-defense or in attempts to justify our thoughts and actions to others. This wasted energy can be applied in a much more positive and creative way once the need for self-defense and justification fades away.

The power found within the paradoxical wisdom concept stems from acceptance.

Once one understands that he does not have all of the answers then it becomes acceptable for him (or her) to be fallible and make mistakes. And it becomes acceptable for him to stray from the popular path in search of knowledge and wisdom. And perhaps most importantly, he no longer needs to justify his thoughts or actions to others and he no longer feels as though others should justify their own thoughts or actions to him.

He is free.

Paradoxical Wisdom

submitted by jwithrow.Agora

Let’s go back to ancient Athens.

Somewhere around 400 B.C., a man named Chaerephon asked the Oracle of Delphi if there was anyone alive wiser than Socrates.

The Oracle responded that there was no one wiser.

When he learned of this, Socrates suggested that his must be a paradoxical wisdom because he knew very well that he possessed no wisdom at all.

Socrates set out to interview the other men in Athens who were considered wise – statesmen and poets mainly – and Socrates found that each man did indeed consider himself to be quite wise. But Socrates did not find them to be wise at all.

Socrates determined that the Oracle was correct. He was indeed the wisest man in the land – but only because he was aware of the fact that he possessed no wisdom at all.

Socrates was quoted as saying “All I know is that I know nothing”.

It was this paradoxical wisdom that enabled Socrates to both learn with an open mind and to develop the Socratic Method of problem solving based on logic. Socrates was able to admit that he lacked wisdom and because of this he dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. In this pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, Socrates discovered a profoundly higher purpose.

This was demonstrated in Plato’s account of Socrates’ self-defense at his public trial in 399 B.C. The charges brought against Socrates were corrupting the youth and impiety – the penalty for which was death. The trial took place in the People’s Court located in the agora (city square) of Athens. The jury consisted of 500 adult men, each 30 years old or older.

In his trial, Socrates demonstrated to the jurors that their moral values were misplaced because they were each primarily concerned with money, status, and politics whereas they should be primarily concerned with the welfare of their souls.

“Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting any one whom I meet and saying to him after my manner: You, my friend, a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all?”

We share this brief interpretation of Socrates’ philosophy because we think that there is tremendous value found in the paradoxical wisdom concept.

How often are we inclined to think that we have all the answers and that our way is the only correct way? How often do we tend to ridicule and look down upon others who do not share our way of thinking? How often do we impede our own ability to learn with an open mind because of our tendency to believe in our own wisdom?

Paradoxical wisdom is the key to humility. Those who think that their way is the only way tend to be arrogant and rude towards others. They simply do not know that they do not know.

We suspect that this is what Christ meant when he said, according to Matthew, “Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”.

And we suspect that in just the same way this is what is meant in Hinduism, as translated from the Upanishads: “The Brahman is unknown to those who know it and known to those who know it not”.