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Philosophy as Food for Life

John's reflections, Storytelling Leave a comment

This week, I happened upon an article in the New York Times entitled “Philosophy’s True Home”. The author, Scott Soames, is director of the school of philosophy at the University of Southern California.  Professor Soames weighs in on a debate among contemporary intellectuals about what philosophy’s place should be. He argues against the prevailing view that philosophy is an isolated, “ivory tower” discipline, cut off from virtually every other progress-making pursuit of knowledge—including the “hard” disciplines of math and science—as well as from the actual concerns of daily life. Philosophy’s status as a somewhat esoteric and intellectual university-based discipline should not lead us to the conclusion that it is divorced from the rest of … Continue reading

The Value of Rekindling your Past

John's reflections Leave a comment

I often joke with colleagues, clients, and friends that we human beings need to learn the same lessons over and over, until we internalize them and integrate them into our worldview. Based on recent experience, this seems to be true for me.  In the past few weeks, with people requesting more of my personal anecdotes, I’ve been reflecting on my time at the winery where I worked for several summers during my student days. I had not thought actively about this phase of my life for many years. So, in essence, I was now “reprocessing the experience”, in more depth than I had ever done previously.  It occurred to me, with some … Continue reading

Tapping into my own human spirit

leadership, Storytelling Leave a comment

When I began my meanderings into the realm of Greek mythology last week—my rumination on Sisyphus and existential philosophy, and making connections with my job as a winery worker—it was not without some hesitation. Not wanting to make my blog—or any of my writing—self-absorbed, I have often shied away from writing about myself and my personal experience. Now, I am beginning to think that such reticence is probably misguided.  My views on this are changing for a simple reason. In the past 10 days, I have received a truly inordinate number of favorable reactions from a variety of people about my last two posts. Several long-time readers commented that these were among my … Continue reading

The road to self-engagement: we are free to shape our worlds

John's reflections, Storytelling Leave a comment

Throughout my career, both in business and as a teacher, I have encouraged people to explore a diversity of subjects in their education, and to seek out a variety of experiences in their lives. One of the ways this all became part of my own story of identity happened during my undergraduate study and work at the Bordeaux winery, which I was describing in the previous post. In fact, I was somewhat surprised by some of the connections I could make between a liberal arts course of study (I was reading particularly history and literature, with some philosophy mixed in) and the physically demanding manual labor of the winery.  As an aspiring scholar of literature … Continue reading

The road to self-engagement: part 1

John's reflections Leave a comment

As we have seen in the recent example of Captain Abrashoff and the crew of the Benfold, effective leaders can engage team members by providing—even co-creating—a sense meaning in the workplace. In the case of Abrashoff’s battleship, the crew was able to achieve a form of discipline that stemmed from relentless focus on a shared purpose. People had a clear sense of doing something that transcended their individual work, of participating in a worthwhile team effort.   During the week, an insightful reader asked a question about what she sees as a different form of engagement in the example of Otis, my inspirational van driver from Denver. Of course, it is all well and good to speak of … Continue reading

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