A Time for Wisdom

Knowledge, Detachment, Tranquility, Transcendence

Paul McLaughlin Mark McMinn

These are divisive and volatile times. A mere tweet inflames the passions of millions while the click-bait media amplifies every red-hot amygdala with an Internet connection. We feast on a stream of extremes, hyping ourselves into a chronic state of fear. Anyone not in our tribe is a threat; anyone with a different opinion is evil. We are mired in the right now, ignorant of history, blind to the future, lacking all sense of proportion in our judgments. We thought that technology would save us by connecting us to each other and to all the world’s information. Instead, it reinforced old battlelines, created new ones, and eroded the one virtue that we need now more than ever: wisdom.

A Time for Wisdom is for a beleaguered audience that wants to cultivate this virtue and elevate themselves above the noise and toxicity of the modern world. Written by a pair of psychologists, it unpacks the research that has been conducted on the subject in recent years but that hasn’t been communicated to readers in a relevant way. What’s more, the book takes our current scientific understanding and integrates it with timeless concepts of wisdom that have, for millennia, guided men and women through life’s troubles. With this as their foundation, the authors lay out four practices to pursue wisdom in our daily lives. These include receiving knowledge; practicing detachment; experiencing tranquility, and cultivating transcendence. These are profound and spiritual ideas that can quiet the shallow cacophony of the crowd and bring us inner peace. The authors make these practices clear and accessible and show us the immense satisfaction we can enjoy by aspiring to live by them.

A Time for Wisdom is an invitation to step outside the circus of contemporary life, to break free from its fanfare of foolishness. It commends a course of action towards the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, towards calm and clear moral reasoning. And it gives us a recipe for self-transcendence so that we—like the great sages and scientists before us—can rise above the immediacy of the moment and a taste of the numinous and the infinite.