[convertkit form=3500216]

Jason Merchey

[00:00:00] Miriam: Welcome Jason. I’m very happy to have you join the leave better podcast. Something I pulled off your website that I found to be just thought provoking: “When you know what your values are and actively and passionately apply them in your life.

[00:00:14] You have found yourself, and that is likely to make a positive impact on the people both near and far. This is a life of value.” Mic drop right there. this conversation is gonna be so great because we are talking about wisdom. You’ve got a book out there called wisdom, a very valuable virtue that cannot be bought, which is a mouthful to say mm-hmm

[00:00:39] I bet it’s incredible to read it’s on my list now. Welcome to the podcast. I can’t wait to see where this conversation goes.

[00:00:46] Jason: Yeah, thanks so much. I love being quoted just right off the bat. I mean, you know, kidding aside, of course. It does signal that that you, you know, care enough about your guests to to look into them, which is you know, one of the marks of a.

[00:00:59] Have a great host. [00:01:00]

[00:01:00] Miriam: Well, thank you.

[00:01:02] So why don’t we start out with, I gave a teeny little introduction, but it doesn’t actually tell who you are and what you do. So why don’t you fill in the gaps? Tell us what I missed and what you wanna highlight.

Introduction Jason

[00:01:14] Jason: Okay. Well, I began to study psychology at the junior college level and found it to be so interesting.

[00:01:23] And then I was thinking that I wanted to be a clinical psychologist.

[00:01:28] I wrote a thesis on social perceptions of suicide. But during that time I decided, you know, maybe I would.

[00:01:34] Do something else. So I twist it and turn toward this thing that I call values of the wise,

[00:01:41] If there is such thing as a wise person, then what, what values are they interested in? And which virtues would they, you know, seek to cultivate within themselves and, and what kind of life would they lead?

[00:01:52] The quotations that they’ve left behind a little bit of biography and just to kind of try to stitch it all together and say, you know, Hey, if, [00:02:00] if Helen Keller and. JFK and Martin Luther king Jr. And Gandhi are all talking about this same value theoretically or arguably well, then it must be a pretty good value because those people and other exemplars lived wonderful lives achieved much.

[00:02:17] And so we should, you know, kind of try to peer in on what they were thinking and how they educated themselves and, and what moved them.

[00:02:25] Miriam: Yeah, that feels pretty profound even in, in and of itself. So I’m gonna ask you kind of a 1-2 sentence question.

[00:02:33] My kids tease me all the time because I’m like in one sentence or less …

Wisdom vs Foolish

[00:02:37] Miriam: When you think about the differentiator between wisdom- wise and not, wise or and foolish, or wise and ordinary, give me a sentence that differentiates those two spaces.

[00:02:51] Jason: Okay. I like that constraint that makes me self- discipline myself.

[00:02:56] . A wise person is [00:03:00] relatively hesitant to foreclose on some idea or ideology.

[00:03:09] And instead kind of holds that tentatively and is always willing to change and doesn’t feel ashamed if they do need to change.

[00:03:17] Miriam: Ah, that feels, that feels like a go on plaque, maybe. Well spoken

[00:03:22] I appreciated on your website, you had that quote from Albert Einstein wisdom is not a product of schooling, but a lifelong attempt to acquire it.

[00:03:32] Right. And I feel like his words probably are dovetailing with your words in your mind, as far as this idea of. We’re not gonna be black and white. It’s not that wise people don’t have positions, but they’re open to entertaining ideas other than their own. And they’re not so quick to just jump down your throat and tell you why you’re wrong.

Lifelong Education

[00:03:57] Jason: I think that that Einstein quote is a [00:04:00] kind of a brilliant example of, we should think that, you know, you don’t just get it at age 18,

[00:04:06] in fact Mortimer J Adler, who is, you know, one of these big names in the world of the Western intellectual tradition and great books and such, he says that he’s read books numerous times throughout his life. And each time they make a bit of, they make a, a difference in a different way. It’s as though he sees things that he didn’t see before and he thinks, well, the book hasn’t changed.

[00:04:27] It must be me. I must have changed.

[00:04:30] And you know, so he believes in lifelong education and he doesn’t even necessarily believe that that. Youths adolescents are, are ready for those big ideas.

[00:04:41] If you ask an 18 year old, what is the purpose of life? The answer you’re gonna get is probably a little shallow, or maybe it, it parrots something that they just saw on YouTube or something. As you get older, you start to realize, well, gosh, maybe my day, my days are numbered.

[00:04:57] I might only have what, 20 years [00:05:00] or 30, if I’m lucky. You don’t even know if you have 20 years. You may have 20 more minutes. So that’s right.

[00:05:06] Miriam: I think that something that’s so fascinating about what we’re talking about.

Current Truth

[00:05:13] I am not a relativist. I do believe that there is actual truth. However, there also is this thing that is your truth at the moment. And some of that has to do with brain development

[00:05:25] 22 year olds brains. Fully done yet. Right?

[00:05:30] Right. And by the time they’re 25 or 30, they’re more mature. And then by the time they’re 60 or 70 certain parts of the brain have died off and new parts have arisen new pathways.

[00:05:43] What, you know, and wisdom is such a fascinating topic because it is hard to pin down.

[00:05:51] As you, asked this question at the very beginning, you said, okay, if you’re looking at Helen Keller and Gandhi and Martin Luther king.

[00:05:59] And if they have some [00:06:00] of the same values, we should pay attention to them.

Values Among Leaders

[00:06:03] Miriam: So I wanted to ask what are some of the common values that you’ve seen as you’ve done your research among these great leaders?

[00:06:12] Jason: I riffed off of Abraham Maslow, who came up with this famous theory about the needs that human beings have with, you know, food, shelter, clothing, sex, et cetera, at the, at the base level, meaning it’s the most, they they’re the most persistent needs, but once satisfied, the human mind always wants to go up the ladder toward greater and greater actualization, like the embodiment of your best self or, or the loftiest. Thing that you can achieve.

[00:06:48] So, you know, self-esteem is on there and belonging and you know, things that you would get from work like fulfillment or meaning, and then, you know, the highest levels it’s, [00:07:00] it’s even more sophisticated.

[00:07:01] And, and so, you know, I think that maybe Einstein called Gandhi a Great Spirit. Because Gandhi tended to dwell at the highest level. I mean, I think when Gandhi died, he had two possessions you know, spectacles and a cane I think maybe were not counting his lo cloth but you know, his spectacles fetched like a, you know, couple hundred thousand dollars in an auction because people were like, that is, those are Gandhi specs.

[00:07:28] He only had one. Maybe he had two pair. That’s what he had. He didn’t have a mansion.

[00:07:32] You think of the opposite of Gandhi as being somebody like Jeffrey Epstein, you know, he’s got everything a person could possibly want. That’s not enough. He also wants the souls of children, you know, to, to put it crudely.

[00:07:45] And you could see how he sort of stuck at that lowest level.

[00:07:48] He probably had great food, great wine sex with the 17 year old. And then, you know, back to food again. Yeah. Maybe a yacht, you know, a twirl around in the yacht or something, but really shallow levels of development.

Societal Values

[00:07:59] [00:08:00] I think that, you know, a case can be made though that certain values tend to crop up when you, you know, read people from Seneca on, through to Toni Morrison or, you know, whomever and people are always popping up like Ms Gorman. , Amanda Gorman, she’s 17. She made a big splash at Biden’s inaugural address because her poetry was, you know, very forceful and her presentation was sort of like otherworldly mm-hmm . And so she’s really young and obviously she’s tapped into some sort of special something wisdom, I guess you might call it because she’s interested in this rather than, you know, TikTok.

[00:08:36] Of course. Society is always kind of claw at those people being like, Hey, you should be interested in TikTok.

[00:08:42] You know, if Britney Spears. Alone on the desert island with a bunch of books, she would never have gone in the direction she did. It’s probably due to the, you know, her parents and people in the music industry who are like, here’s what, here’s what you’re capable of.

[00:08:56] Think about the money it’s gonna get you. And the attention from men, it’s gonna be amazing. Let’s [00:09:00] do this.

[00:09:00] And the parents of course hooked into that. I think in arguably

[00:09:04] anyway, just arriving to, to the main answer to the question is I think that there. You know, less than a hundred, let’s say values and virtues that wise people are attracted to and, and can exemplify.

Values of the Wise

[00:09:17] Jason: I guess if I were to name the 28 that I like the most, I would call them the values of the wise and, you know, they range from creativity to wisdom you know, creativity being first in, in alphabetical order and wisdom being last and, you know, included the lists are unusual choices such as humor. Or honor things like this.

[00:09:41] But essentially if you find a quote that you love, you know, one that was attributed to Gandhi incorrectly, I think I read be the change you wish to see in the world. You know, that fits into some sort of category of value, right?

[00:09:52] He was talking about human values, the things that. At the highest level drive human beings. And so you can, you know, choose [00:10:00] whichever value you think it’s about, but by all means, please read what he wrote and be interested in it and, and categorize it in your mind.

[00:10:07] According to some value, maybe do what some people do. They take a marker and they write on their mirror, be the change way to see in the world. They remember it, right, right. When they’re, you know, doing their hair

Reflecting on Our Values and Actions

[00:10:17] Miriam: I think that you’re, you’re not incorrect. There are hundreds of values and it sounds like possibly your book categorized 28. It seems like most people have the ability to hold five, maybe six. I had an interesting conversation with my son the other day, and I was talking about an influencer who was talking about the death of his dad

[00:10:39] on his deathbed. He asked his dad. What do you wanna say to us, or mm-hmm, , you know, kind of, what are your final words? And, and his dad had a series of short sentences be kind, take care of your mother do the work, you know, things like that.

[00:10:55] So I was talking with my son about what would that set of values be?

[00:10:59] If you know, [00:11:00] if that was me,

[00:11:00] what have you heard me talk about?

[00:11:02] And it was a very interesting conversation because everything he said. I had said many times, but things that I thought were values that I was speaking out loud, they are values. I do take action on them, but clearly I don’t make them as verbal as the others because he didn’t pick up on them.

[00:11:20] And I said, man, I gotta ramp up my game a little bit about what it is I talk about because these other things are as important.

[00:11:28] You know, I was saying things like Well, he was saying, I was saying things like:

[00:11:35] Take action.

[00:11:36] Be respectful.

[00:11:38] I was good with that. Those two were good.

[00:11:40] Don’t spend more than you earn.

[00:11:42] I was onboard with that, but I wished he had said

[00:11:46] Always be grateful.

[00:11:47] That is a value I hold and I speak in my journal, but apparently I don’t speak it out loud, quite as much as I need to, you know,

[00:11:56] Own your own life.

[00:11:58] Those are some of the things,

Deathbed Values

[00:11:59] Miriam: What are some of [00:12:00] the small sentences you would be saying on your deathbed of your values?

[00:12:07] Jason: Yeah, that’s a good question. And just as a little feedback, I think you know, a parent who speaks with their. Child about those kinds of things is obviously trying to transmit wisdom. And that is, that is laudable also to connect it, connect some. You know, content to some sort of process or value is also useful.

[00:12:28] So if they come home on time, you know, I appreciate your punctuality or I like the way you treated that person that was very respectful or the way you accepted losing that contest. That’s magnanimous. You know what I mean?

[00:12:43] So it associates actions that could be wisdom with the value of the virtue that was in your opinion involved.

[00:12:52] So I would say,

[00:12:53] Remember that there is this thing called honor or

[00:12:56] Wisdom is much deeper than [00:13:00] mere knowledge or

[00:13:02] Always try to keep your sense of humor, even if life is getting you down or

[00:13:07] Development is when you try to make progress in your life, be it intellectual, emotional, spiritual, physical, whatever, keep going for development.

Values in a Sentence

[00:13:18] Miriam: Those would probably be some examples. Yeah. And are those things that you see yourself saying, or are you saying that’s how you would give the sentence to the values?

[00:13:28] I mean, like what, I guess my question is, what are your sentences?

[00:13:33] Jason: I, I probably would be you know, I probably would exhaust myself to death sharing, you know, all the things I wanted to share on my deathbed. I was, I’m sort of a perfectionist, so I would be the kind of person who would. You know, get, get my scribe, you know, I’m gonna start, I’m gonna start speaking now and just on, on and on and on.

[00:13:54] But I think that’s one of the reasons why I, I find that books are worth the [00:14:00] trouble. And I mean the writing of them, because that is a way to put down writing now while you’re still alive.

[00:14:07] For the most part, you know, if you say it in writing and you publish it, it’s kind of you saying

[00:14:12] “here I stand. I can, I can do no other “as Martin Luther, Martin Luther said.

Complexity of Wisdom

[00:14:18] Miriam: What did you learn about yourself as you wrote that book?

[00:14:20] Jason: This latest one, I would say, you know, wisdom is very nuanced and it is composed of different parts and it’s contextual in nature.

[00:14:31] So you can make a statement that you think you believe, but if you go on. If you go

[00:14:40] around to the other side of the mountain and look up, you’re gonna see something different and you’re gonna say, okay, well, I know I said such and such and I, I don’t think that’s wrong.

[00:14:49] It’s just that I think it’s a little more complex now.

[00:14:51] Or, or maybe you’ll, maybe you’ll say it’s actually simpler than I thought,

[00:14:55] so you don’t really wanna you know, Chronicle your wisdom with [00:15:00] a a hammer and a chisel in a, in. Piece of stone because you won’t be able to erase. You should probably do it in a word processor.

[00:15:08] I forgot your question.

Make a Decision

[00:15:10] Miriam: What did you learn about yourself as you wrote the book? Right, right. That was at a high level. How about at a, at a more basic level?

[00:15:18] Jason: I, I realized that a, I had to make a decision along the way. I decided up front, I would share opinions, stories about things that I’ve done in the past that I thought reflected wisdom, or that did not reflect wisdom foolishness, maybe about myself.

[00:15:32] Mm-hmm and those provided little footholds, I think for folks who were a little less abstract.

[00:15:38] And, but I also had to ask. Am I going to speak about the social, cultural, political, religious values issues going on around me? Because you know, the book kind of gets frozen in time it kind of captures.

[00:15:54] The zeitgeist of the time and place in which the author finds himself.

[00:15:59] [00:16:00] I had to ask myself, what’s more important to say what you think with little reservation and run the risk of having somebody be able to slam you in some sort of a review or whatever, or are you gonna try to go, you know, right to the middle and try to avoid stepping in pitfalls.

[00:16:20] And I chose the former.

[00:16:23] Miriam: I wanna jump back to your the statement you made just shortly before this the context of these values.

[00:16:31] I took a test. I’m gonna go with five or six years ago and I don’t remember the name of it, but it basically categorized these 20 values that pretty much every normal human being has and holds, but it put them in the order of your own personal importance.

Value Test

[00:16:49] And what it meant is that you believe both these things are true and valuable, but when push comes to shove, you’re gonna choose this value over that value.

[00:16:57] And. [00:17:00] Like a simple example, I would say, would be relationship and truth. There are certain types of people who will basically allow the relationship to go away to camp on what is right. There are other types of people who also believe in truth, but who will elevate the value of relationship over what they think to be true.

[00:17:24] And society actually needs both kinds of people because the one kind of person keeps society together. And the other kind of person keeps society ordered.

[00:17:34] And so you have, you know, the policeman who has to say you broke the law and the judge who has to say you broke the law. And the priest who gets to come in and offer you, solace while you’re in jail and bringing comfort in this way or the other, like the one person can understand that, yes, this fundamental truth was broken, disturbed, et cetera.

[00:17:59] But I [00:18:00] choose to remain connected to you as a human being because of your humanity.

[00:18:04] And the other says, I get that you’re a human and you don’t deserve to be, you know, strung up, but I’m not gonna let this pass.

[00:18:14] Right. And the type of person might be the nun who was featured in the, the movie dead man walking.

[00:18:23] She, it was, she was played by Susan. And I dunno if you remember the movie, but Sean pin I believe was, was sentenced to die. And, you know, Sean pin was kind of a hardcore guy, but because she, or because her role was to provide comfort to death row inmates, she made a huge impact on him. And, and, but, you know, spoiler alert by the end he was crying.

[00:18:46] . The nun is like, I’m gonna, not only am I gonna give of my time to you, but I’m going to love you. It is gonna be based on you as a human being who deserves respect and should be treated like a Thou, a T H O U.[00:19:00]

[00:19:01] We’ll relate to like that. And we’ll see if we can’t even preserve your life because, you know, she was in, in one sense, she was trying to you know, get him to. Admit that he was wrong, which is something that you virtually never get the typical death or inmate to do. But she was trying to get Sean Penn’s character to accept that what he did was wrong.

[00:19:24] Not because it, it entails some sort of salvation in an afterlife, but because it’s the right thing to do and it kind of draws his life to a completion in, in a way that wouldn’t be done. If he was going to the elector chair saying, I didn’t do this. And the system’s corrupt and you know, the prosecutor, you know, and the family, the family doesn’t know anything.

[00:19:48] And I didn’t do that to that person. It’s like, when you could really accept what you did was wrong. and think of it in a, in, from that complex perspective, like why did you do that? What was going on in your world that you would [00:20:00] do that to another person that’s really rich stuff. And it reminds me of the idea of restorative justice, which as you probably know, is a thing and, and as far superior to incarceration.

[00:20:12] So yeah, go ahead and talk about it a little bit. I am aware of it, but I don’t believe I could speak to it. Very eloquently. So speak a little bit about restorative justice.

Restorative Justice

[00:20:24] Jason: I’m not sure if I can speak to it terribly eloquently, but you know, criminal justice is based on, on a theory. And the theory is kind of muddled in this criminal justice system in America, but it has a lot to do with separating the dangerous person, the rest of society.

[00:20:43] And that’s a good thing. However, it also has to do with a kind of a pernicious type of social control.

[00:20:50] And it serves a way of, of punishing the offender by subjecting them.

[00:20:56] What I think could note, could be described as nothing less than, you [00:21:00] know, inhumane treatment, be it, the cell, the size of the cell, the fact that, you know, they don’t really do a very good job with education or any type of real. You know, self growth, but rather it’s kind of just like biding your time.

[00:21:16] It’s pretty well known that folks, you know, fleece each other and engage in various kinds of crimes in jail, up to, and including sexual assault as a punishment for not participating, et cetera, cetera, etc. So, If that’s what the criminal justice system is based on to say to somebody, I sentence you to, to live in this for the rest of your natural life, which might in some cases be 70 years.

[00:21:42] And there’s a, you know, asterisks here and that is that you may not have done the crime because as you know, from the innocence project, a lot of people didn’t even commit the crime. Yeah.

Example of Restorative Justice

[00:21:52] Anyway, so restorative justice, as a way of saying, instead of doing what’s called the, what I’ve been describing is retributive justice. [00:22:00] As in retribution for a crime, we’re going to re request and require that you try to restore what you have done by committing the crime. So for example, they might.

[00:22:11] The victim and the perpetrator in the same room at the same time with some sort of qualified mediator, counselor type of person, to be able to protect the, the victim. And once that, that inmate has has reached a level of development in the recognition of their crime that they’re able. To talk to the victim and accept responsibility for it. And to some degree, apologize for it.

[00:22:42] I mean, I’ve seen examples. I forget if it was a movie or movies or Netflix or whatever, but I mean, the inmate is crying. The victim’s crying, my wife’s crying, I’m crying, you know, and it just leaves you with the completely different sense than if you were to just imagine somebody sitting in a [00:23:00] six foot by 10 foot cell, smoking cigarettes and doing pushups for the rest of their life.

[00:23:05] There’s two very different paths to where trying to make something positive come of, of the situation.

[00:23:13] Miriam: Yeah. Well, the one you’re describing is “preventing more harm” to society, obviously not to the individual. The other is bringing something positive out of the harm that was done. And those are very different end goals.

[00:23:30] I was thinking when you were talking about the nun, that the reason that, that conversation, and if that person was guilty for them to express that they were guilty or confess that they were guilty is that it brings congruence- inner and outer congruence, which I, I believe is a value

[00:23:47] when people don’t feel like their insides match their outsides, there’s all sorts of stress and anxiety and depression. All sorts of mental health issues come from when you’re [00:24:00] living one thing on the inside, and you’re saying something else or living something else on the outside.

[00:24:06] Jason: right. And self sabotage mm-hmm yep.

[00:24:11] Miriam: That’s something my talk about all the time.

A Message From LeaveBetter

 

Self-Sabotage and Value Systems

[00:24:51] Miriam: Mm-hmm how how would you see or say people self sabotage themselves with their value systems?[00:25:00]

[00:25:00] Jason: Well, you know, I think they’re probably levels and of course you would be the better person to speak to this, but because of your expertise, that is You know, there’s the sort of clinical counseling level where you would investigate and explore in concert with the client. You know, why did you do what you did?

[00:25:23] Let’s think about the deepest levels of that. It was obviously kind of a negative outcome. It’s not what you say you want for yourself. Didn’t provide good results. So why did you do that? That’s one level of examination of self sabotage.

[00:25:38] But there’s a kind of a lighter and, and more arguable sense. I think that I can speak to as well. And that is, you know, if all you do is absorb the culture’s mores and, and values. You may only achieve, you know, kind of a minimal level of, of moral [00:26:00] development.

[00:26:01] And along with that, you know, psychological, spiritual, emotional development. And that would be sad because that’s not achieving a person’s high as potential.

[00:26:11] So it’s not. Self sabotage in the sense that you drank again, which is obviously, you know, suitable for that clinical space to, to examine.

[00:26:21] But if all you do is say, I go to church on Sundays, I try to listen to the homily. It really is boring, but I do it anyway. And maybe, maybe later that week, I might think about it.

[00:26:33] I don’t know. Maybe I’ll think about when I’m gambling, cuz it’s kind of boring when you’re at the gambling table and you have extra time on your hands. Or maybe if my wife and I are fighting, I’ll throw the homily at her as a way to try to score a point. That person is just basically picking up on. What they heard and, and that’s only like one level above a parrot, which can also repeat things that have been said to it repeatedly.

[00:26:57] Yeah. So I think to be able to think for yourself [00:27:00] would be the, the virtue that would overcome that type of self sabotage.

Match Your Heart with Your Actions

[00:27:04] Miriam: Yeah. There’s no integration of the information. It’s, it’s a different form. Of non- congruence it is still the inside not matching the outside, but the issue is that this virtuous thing, whatever it is is on the outside of you.

[00:27:20] And it’s only penetrated, you know, sunscreen deep and it’s not actually getting through to your core.

[00:27:27] I was talking to a friend today about a situation I had seen with a people- pleasing person who looked like they had empathy because they did whatever the other person asked them to do. But I knew them well.

[00:27:42] And actually empathy is something they struggle with. And It was sunscreen, deep empathy. Right. You know, it wasn’t to the core, to the heart, to the marrow.

[00:27:53] So if someone would like to grow in their assimilation of values [00:28:00] what is your opinion is a way to up your values game .

[00:28:04] Beyond reading, because unfortunately I have found so many people today do not read

Values Inventory

[00:28:12] Jason: I have a little inventory that a person can take for free and with no advertisements where it, it helps them to understand their values better.

[00:28:22] Mm-hmm and the way that I do that is by throwing. 175 or whatever quotations at them. And I say, rate this quote on a scale of one to 10. Yeah. And, and the computer is able to assess, you know, do they tend to like a certain value more than. So the computer can tell you, you really seem to like the creativity, ingenuity and vision. Quotations and what you, you know, the one you like the least is truth and justice, and here’s how the other ones rank as well.

[00:28:56] And so that’s a, a way to, you know, kind of characterize, [00:29:00] if you just have more consciousness about what your values are, then that can go a long way to Helping your values game.

[00:29:09] Because some people, you really confuse them. You know, if you, sit down and say, excuse me, can I ask you, what are your values?

[00:29:16] It’s just the, conversation’s probably not gonna work out right. For one reason or another. Agreed. That is to say that maybe the, the person who lives in that town, they just don’t really think about it. They think about other things.

[00:29:28] Yeah, sometimes they do because they sometimes say “I stand for freedom.”

[00:29:34] And so then obviously you’d wanna know what exactly do you mean by that?

[00:29:39] Yeah. And of course, if they say, well, I mean, I mean I support the freedom to say whatever you want and not be censored.

[00:29:46] Okay. That’s good.

[00:29:47] How about the freedom to choose whether or not you’re going to raise, you know, a fetus into a child and care for them until they’re 25 years old.

[00:29:56] Is that, is that freedom to you or is that somehow different than freedom?

[00:29:59] And [00:30:00] so it can lead to like a very three dimensional, very in depth, look at you know, what your values are.

[00:30:06] If you just kind of think about, ’em talk about, ’em read about, ’em think about ’em while you’re walking in a forest. You know, do things that are values oriented and it’s different than what you’re gonna get.

[00:30:19] If you just adopt this standard you know, values of society, which tend to be what, like the pursuit of money is extremely important.

[00:30:28] People need to like you,

[00:30:30] they need to like, whatever you say on social media you know

[00:30:33] You’re sort of a a consumer first and foremost.

[00:30:38] There’s another tribe out there whom you’re supposed to hate.

[00:30:40] You know what I mean? Things like this.

Values of Others

[00:30:42] Miriam: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that last few minutes took my brain so many different places.

[00:30:48] I was thinking at a smaller level, an easy way to find out what people value – you know, what is important to you?

[00:30:56] And I loved your question about, well, what does that [00:31:00] mean?

[00:31:00] And then, but then you took it, you know, does it mean this? Does it mean this does mean this?

[00:31:04] And they were all maybe politically opposite or religiously opposite.

[00:31:08] And what I have found in today’s day and age, Is that people are not good at holding other people’s values that are diametrically opposite of theirs without getting hot under the collar.

[00:31:22] And one of the spaces that I’m trying to encourage is civil dialogue about things that maybe you don’t believe. And can you see this person and have a respectful conversation and allow them to stretch your thinking if they’re a different political party or if they’re a different religious entity or if they’re a different gender or, you know, whate whatever, can you take the other person’s perspective long enough to understand why that particular thing is important to them?

[00:31:53] Or do you X them immediately?

Books

[00:31:56] Miriam: I wanna jump back to the book space and I [00:32:00] want to ask you’ve written at least three or four. I understand it to be difficult to write a book. I have not written a book. I have started several books, but I have not finished several books.

[00:32:13] Talk to me about the process of beginning, middle and. Of that rolled in along with your value systems, because I’m pretty sure your values drive your actions or behaviors. And those are the things that get the books done. And I, I just want to understand, I wanna pull this conversation out of the abstract and into the concrete, because out of any.

[00:32:41] There’s any number of people who are abstract and are like just traveling along the rails with us. And then there’s another subset of people that are like, what are they talking about? I want, I would really like it to be practical as well.

[00:32:55] Jason: You know, I’ve taken many, many classes and it can be difficult to [00:33:00] read memorize, write et cetera, in a subject that doesn’t really move you.

[00:33:07] So that’s why autobiographies are somewhat of the easiest stuff to write, because it’s you telling your story about yourself, right. And your move to do that because you have you find meaning in that in one way or another.

[00:33:22] There’s a kind of movement now to do stuff at the end of your life, where you pass on your story and your values, whatever to, to your children and grandchildren, you know, in the form of a book.

[00:33:34] Maybe in a form of various audio recordings or whatever, but that can, you you’d be motivated to do that because you want them to know these things and you want them to know you and maybe think highly of you. So obviously you gotta know, you have to know something about something because you can’t write a book.

[00:33:52] I could not write a book about mountaineering or Splunking. Because I don’t know anything about those two things. It would be [00:34:00] impossible,

[00:34:00] but if you’re, mark Twain, you’re interested in stuff, you could write a stack of books, and do numerous speaking tours, and his way of thinking about things was unique enough that. If he put it in writing,

[00:34:13] it could be very useful to other people because he had an inimitable style.

Write To Your Interests

[00:34:17] . So anyway you know, why would I write a book about wisdom is because I’m that interested in, in the subject and because I think I have something to share and because. For me, authorship represented values, like education, communication mastery of a subject. There’s probably some self concern in there, you know, I dunno if I’d say self aggrandizement, but. You know, if you knew that you’d have to put your book through a shredder, as soon as you wrote it, it wouldn’t be quite as exciting as if you know, people are gonna read it.

[00:34:51] The good news for aspiring authors is that now is a pretty easy time to get your book published because you, you know, we live in a, in an era where [00:35:00] you don’t have to ask anybody if, if they will accept your book, you put it up on Amazon or do you know something similar with it and the answer’s.

[00:35:07] Yes.

[00:35:07] Miriam: How about getting you through the process?

[00:35:11] You have to have sticktuitiveness because you feel like doing something in hour, one doesn’t mean that you’re gonna. Motivated enough to continue, but that’s, that’s what your art requires.

[00:35:23] If you know, Michael Angelo started to chip away at that piece of marble that became David. Which it took him months to find, by the way looking for the right piece.

[00:35:35] He finally found it. And you know, if he would have chiseled for five days and been like, this is kind of hard on the wrist. Geez. I think maybe I should go back to painting, you know, we would never have, we would not have David. Yeah. But it’s because he was relentless with it and perfectionistic and truly cared about the art and what he was trying to demonstrate that it just kept him.

[00:35:57] Kept him going.

[00:35:58] You kinda have to have that [00:36:00] fire within to deal with the challenges that writing a book and perfecting a book and proofreading a book and publishing a book and promoting a book are gonna cost you. So if you don’t love it, Don’t do it because you’ll certainly face the costs. The question is, are the benefits gonna outweigh those costs?

[00:36:19] Yeah, well spoken.

[00:36:21] I love that word. Relentless. It’s one of my favorite words. It just speaks to grit and stick- to- it-ive-ness.

[00:36:29] Well, we’re coming up to kind of about the end. I wanna ask two other quick questions besides your own, what book would you recommend to someone if they wanted to grow in terms of wisdom?

Books on Wisdom

[00:36:43] Jason: Hmm, well, I think it probably would be Steven S Hall’s 2010 book called wisdom from. Philosophy to neuroscience. I was influenced greatly by Steven Hall’s book. He certainly interviewed dozens and dozens of big names [00:37:00] in philosophy, psychology you know, neuropsychiatry, all kinds of stuff.

[00:37:04] He starts out with Confucius and Socrates and goes right up to, you know, what is an F MRI scan and what does it reveal about the brain?

[00:37:11] What is the brain doing when you’re meditating? What is the brain doing when you’re competing with somebody? Psychological game, et cetera, etcetera.

[00:37:19] Miriam: Well, we’ll put that in the show notes for sure. How can people find you and reach you,

[00:37:25] Jason: well, the book can be found@amazon.com

[00:37:27] I’d say, instead of searching for the word wisdom, they should maybe search for my, my name. And then I have the, the website that, that we’ve been discussing a bit called valuesofthewise.com and you know, there’s a lot of things you can do on the website that don’t cost money and don’t require a subscription or anything. I, I just put it out there because I want people to be interested in these types of things.

[00:37:50] I think if somebody were to, if actually, if somebody were to, to have, a hours to. To kill, they could do worse than you know, hanging around the website because there’s a lot [00:38:00] that you can explore.

[00:38:01] Miriam: Yeah. I only had a little bit of time to look at it, but my first thought was I’m coming back. There were some great things to check out and I definitely am going to do it.

[00:38:12] Before we started recording. I had mentioned charities that I regularly gift. And you had chosen the Sheldrick wild animal trust, you’ll be receiving an adoption of a tiny orphan elephant. You’ll get once a month for a year, an update on that orphan.

[00:38:29] I know of the charity. I also search on charity navigator.com and try to go for those four star charities.

[00:38:36] If you ever spend a little time looking at their website, you know, the way that those little elephants you know, they deserve good things in life rather than to be abandoned due to this strange human desire for Ivory.

[00:38:48] Jason: Yeah. The height of non- wisdom, the height foolishness, we’re destroying our global treasures for something that’s just folly.

[00:38:58] Exactly.

[00:38:58] So, oh my [00:39:00] goodness, Jason, thank you so much for your time and your wisdom. And let’s do this again sometime.

[00:39:06] Yeah, it’s been a pleasure.

 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.

Music by Tom Sherlock.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.