Acquire Wisdom Over Wealth

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty. -Proverbs 10:14

The rich man’s strong city above is his inner wisdom. The destruction of the poor occurs because they haven’t sought wisdom first. Without models to improve their worlds, the poor of spirit are continually stuck in self-destructive cycles.

Religion as a Model of Accepted Irrationality

It’s become very popular to hate on religion, to blame religion for all sorts of atrocities, from terrorism to the crusades.

The rationale goes, that religion is a fundamentally irrational, hateful set of ideas. If we simply cut out the irrationality of religion from our collective experience, we’d eliminate war and hate forever.

I won’t disprove that here, but let’s just assume that some power structures benefit by convincing people of evils which weren’t there. And they sell their own perverted version of “religion” to do it.

That being said, it does make sense to use a model of irrationality to shape your life.

Acquire Wisdom First

So what is wisdom?

Wisdom is the ability to optimally (effectively and efficiently) apply perceptions and knowledge and so produce the desired results.

– Wikipedia

So wisdom is a model for the way the world works. But it’s also a model for how we work best within the world. Religiously speaking, we use wisdom to get the results which give us the fullest life possible.

Incline thine ear unto wisdom and apply thine heart to understanding.

– Proverbs 2:2

So really, the quote above is telling us to acquire working models for the world and ourselves first. These models must improve both ourselves and our worlds in their application.

Admit the Limits to Your Intelligence

The world is a big place. There is a lot to know.

Admitting the limits to your intelligence means focusing on building and testing models, above acquiring facts. It also means being aware of irrational ideas, and using them as necessary.

Religion and Science Are Supposed to Work Together

Religion gives us wisdom presented as the religious metaphor, and science gives us the methods to test which models work and which don’t.

There is no great battle between irrational religious people who want to murder everyone, and the upright scientists who drudge on, facing pure rationality in a world of irrationality.

We test models by putting them to work, and measuring their results. The religious models of wisdom which work we can keep for ourselves. The others we let go of.

Negation of A Model for Wisdom Isn’t Wisdom

Understand, dismissing a religious model just because it’s irrational gets you nowhere. The world we live within is irrational. There are predictable models, yes, and reason takes us very far, but reason alone is an insufficient tool to understand the world.

It’s insufficient because it gives us nothing new, only what’s already there.

Which new models will you begin testing today? Which models have worked in the past?

Give More Get Superpowers

Do you consider yourself an especially “good” or “bad” person? If so, you have a leg up on everyone else who’s indifferent to their moral code.

A new study at Harvard says that people who consider themselves morally “good” or “evil” have more willpower and strength compared to people who don’t consider themselves either.

Good People Give More

People who volunteer their time are getting much more in return. This is especially true for entrepreneurs.

Volunteering sets you up to begin giving without expecting an immediate return. Which is arguably the most important trait you can posses if you wish to succeed in business.

Compounding Their Ability to Provide

It is one of the most puzzling truths there is, but busy people get things done quicker than people with nothing on their to do lists. Becoming a busy person is easiest by volunteering if you’re stuck in a rut.

Years ago I used to volunteer at ECHO. Working in the hot sun, talking about simple technologies really got me excited about building things to improve the rest of the world. I ended up leaving two years later to volunteer for three months in the Panamanian rainforest.

Pushing Them to New Places

After a month in the rainforest, I was forever changed. Each night I fell asleep to howler monkeys and a thousand insects. But something in my stomach worried me.

If you’ve seen Apocalypto, you might understand. I was devastated by the idea that civilization had ruined this natural order of life, and replaced it with something dead.

Agriculture and chemicals instead of a living cornucopia.

Forcing Them to Reconcile Their Experiences

For a few months afterwards, I was shell shocked. I struggled to find a way to fit within society, without being what I had termed one of the “destroyers”. It seemed living within civilization and living a good life were diametrically opposed. Because civilization has so many ugly pieces to it.

Eventually, I reread my old favorite book in elementary school, The Giver. It seemed to deal with a lot of the things I’d experienced.

In it, the main protagonist is separated from an “ideal” society. He is given a special teaching, and he realizes his society is really dead. So he takes it upon himself to revitalize society, and turn it into something more human.

Creating New Insights

Now, I’m not saying we can all turn society and the crowd into something completely human. But we can make the sacrifice and turn our own little piece into something human and real.

And that’s what building a business, being a giver is all about. Making the game of being human a little better.