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In this soul-stirring and wide-ranging episode of Global Spirit, host Phil Cousineau takes us on an adventuresome journey through the wisdom traditions which have been around since the days of the Greeks and Romans.

Ask the person-on-the-street what wisdom is and you will no doubt hear a variety of responses. Some will mention the world's religions and the virtues which give meaning to life. Others will point to the spiritual teachers of our time who have provided resources for contemplation. One person might refer to the secular writings of scientists and philosophers while the next one might chime in with a good word for the wisdom of poets, musicians, and filmmakers. There might even be one person among their number who aligns her life by the crazy wisdom of comedians.

All of these approaches to wisdom are valid: there is no "one size fits all." We stand on the shoulders of a large band of seekers who have sought wisdom everywhere they could. What we know is that deep wisdom is needed in our time to save the species and the planet.

The two guests on "The Call to Wisdom" are eminently qualified to discuss this rich subject with ease and great insight. Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known author and speaker. The author of many books including Crones Don't Whine, Urgent Message from Mother, and Like a Tree.

Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. graduated with first-class honors from the University of Queensland with degrees in psychology, physiology, and neuroscience, while he worked as a circus acrobat and held world records in high diving and the trampoline. He went to Stanford University as a Fulbright scholar and passed licensing exams in medicine, psychology, and psychiatry before moving to the University of California at Irvine where he is currently professor of psychiatry, philosophy and anthropology. He is the author of Essential Spirituality and most recently, The World's Great Wisdom: Timeless Teachings from Religions and Philosophies.

To Continue This Journey . . .

  • See our profile of Jean Shinoda Bolen in the Living Spiritual Teachers Project. It includes a biography, a quotation sampler, links to reviews of her books, and other resources.
  • In the program, Phil Cousineau describes our situation as "standing at the crossroads of wisdom or catastrophe." Do you find that an adequate description of the world? Why or why not? What kind of wisdom has made the most sense to you and given your life meaning?
  • Discuss which combination has more relevance to you: humility as the gateway to wisdom or mystery as the key?
  • Share your reactions to Jean Shinoda Bolen's comments on the association of wisdom with women even though the patriarchy still is dominant in so many places.
  • If you accept the idea that we are experiencing " a wisdom deficit" in these times, who is responsible for that? Is it families, religions, educational institutions, or individual choice?
  • Which of three film clips spoke to you most clearly about wisdom and its importance to you?
  • What spiritual qualities should accompany wisdom as you seek to cultivate and nurture it in your heart, mind, body and soul?