Thursday, July 03, 2008

Bioethics: Finding Our Shared Moral Core

Under the direction and management of psychologist, author and founding member Valerie Tarico, Phd, the Wisdom Commons is one of the newest ethics initiatives of the Women’s Bioethics Project.

The purpose of the Wisdom Commons is to affirm, inspire, and shed light on humanity's shared moral core, meaning the convergence of our religious and secular wisdom traditions and emerging wisdom culture. Many times we define ourselves in terms of our differences. But the truth is that some of our deepest concerns and highest values transcend the boundaries of culture and tradition. Early in childhood, before we even can walk and talk, the moral emotions, empathy, shame, and guilt begin to emerge. They guide us as we take our first steps toward living in community with each other.

Around the world people recognize that the joy and pain of others are similar to their own joy and pain, and wisdom traditions express this through different forms of the golden rule. We also generally agree about what kind of qualities we seek in our friends, our leaders, and ourselves. These instincts, emotions, understandings and agreements form our moral core. This moral core in turn serves the well-being of the intricate web of life around us and, foremost, the well-being of humans within that web.

The Wisdom Commons belongs to all who use it and contribute to it. Members have the ability to create personal wisdom pages that include their favorite quotes, stories and so forth from the library. A personal wisdom page can also include content that is authored by that member. Over time, we seek to build a diverse community of stewards reflecting the various traditions of our users. These stewards will also create personal wisdom pages so that their core values are visible to our members and users.

The Wisdom Commons emerged out of two years of conversations among people who share a passion for these issues. It was catalyzed into existence by a five day event in April of 2008, Seeds of Compassion, the realization of a dream by the Venerable Tenzin Dhonden and Dan Kranzler of the Kirlin Foundation. Seeds of Compassion brought over 150,000 people together to discuss how best to nurture compassion in our children and communities. It was televised in 24 languages around the world.

It is impossible to acknowledge everyone who shaped or contributed to the project, but they include Valerie Tarico, Brian Arbogast, Jennifer Hobbs, Katherine Triandafilou, Porter Bayne, Kathryn Hinsch, Darcy Rubel, Yaffa Maritz, Lee Colleton, Clif Swiggett, Bruno Alabiso, Jonathan Mark, Kathy Washienko, Matt Lerner, Mike Mathieu, Laura Peterson, John Rae Grant, Brynn Arborico, Marley Arborico, Zuzana Nemcova, Iris Chamberlain, Jean Harrison, James Peterson, Ruth Lipscomb, and others.

The Wisdom Commons draws much inspiration and some of its structure and content from The Virtues Project International, which provides curriculum, training and inspirational materials that elevate virtues in every day life. Many thanks to Linda and Dan Popov and John Kavelin for their thoughtful, patient labor of love. The beauty and meditative feel of the Commons are the handiwork of Jody and Cynthia Baxter, who created

Please join us

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