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Welcome to The PERENNIAL podcast with J.W. Bertolotti from the Perennial Leader Project. PERENNIAL brings you short reflections on ancient wisdom for everyday life. Each reflection is based on ancient philosophical and spiritual traditions designed to help you live your highest good. To learn more visit perennialleader.com
 
In Search of Wisdom with J.W. Bertolotti explores how to integrate timeless wisdom into everyday life. We engage in meaningful conversations with leading thinkers in philosophy, leadership, theology, and everything in between. We leave no stone unturned In Search of Wisdom. Learn more at PerennialLeader.com.
 
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show series
 
Joshua is the host of he podcasts In Search of Wisdom and Philosopher, Monk, & Mystic where he engages in meaningful conversations on how to live in a complex world. In addition to the podcasts, he also writes articles on wisdom, has a weekly email called PATH, and offers coaching and consulting. All of his work is captured under "The Perennial Lea…
 
In this episode, I speak to Catherine Wilson the author of How to Be an Epicurean: The Ancient Art of Living Well. Catherine received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and has taught at universities in the US, Canada, and Europe. Her research is focused on the relationship between the natural and social sciences and classical philos…
 
This reflection begins with a passage from poet and novelist Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749–1832), known today simply by Goethe. This passage provides insight into finding our path in life. Goethe wrote, "Everyone holds his fortune in their own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type…
 
In this reflection, we explore navigating the inner voice. To begin, we turn to the Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh for wisdom. Van Gogh offers this practical advice, "If you hear a voice inside you say that you cannot paint. Then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: …
 
We turn to the ancient practice known as the view from above in this reflection. The philosopher Pierre Hadot said, “Philosophy deepens and transforms habitual perception, forcing us to become aware that we are perceiving the world, and that the world is that which we perceive.” How do you perceive the world? Are you seeing clearly? [...] Follow Pe…
 
You often hear people saying that you should "stand up straight". Likely, they are talking about the health benefits of having good posture - reduced pain over time being one. However, is there more to this than just the physical aspects? Is standing up straight actually representative of some deeper philosophical idea? On this episode, I talk abou…
 
In this episode, I speak to Lodro Rinzler the author of Take Back Your Mind: Buddhist Advice for Anxious Times. Lodro’s work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Good Morning America, CBS, and NBC. He is the author of seven meditation books including The Buddha Walks into a Bar and is the co-founder of MND…
 
The word "hierarchy" comes up quite often, but what does it really mean? Is it just those at the top oppressing everyone else below? Or is it something that, perhaps, even has some good aspects? And is it even possible to eliminate the bad aspects of the hierarchy, or hierarchies in general? In this episode, I explore the tangly topic of hierarchie…
 
In this episode, I am sharing a portion of the conversation we had with Kristi Nelson the author of Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted. Kristi has spent most of her adult life in non-profit leadership, fundraising, and organizational development. In a wide variety of roles, she has helped to lead, fund, and …
 
Today I speak with Tim Ash, a recognized authority on evolutionary psychology and marketing and the author of the recently released book Unleash Your Primal Brain: Demystifying How We Think and Why We Act. Tim and I had a great discussion on the human condition. We cover sleep, group dynamics, being an individual, evolution, and much more. You can …
 
In this reflection, we explore the topic of gratitude. The Roman statesman and philosopher Cicero called “gratitude not only the greatest of all virtues but the parent of all others.” But, how do we avoid taking things for granted amidst life’s challenges? The French philosopher and writer Voltaire, known for his wit, once quipped: "Life is a shipw…
 
In this episode, I speak to Susan Liautaud the author of The Power of Ethics: How to Make Good Choices in a Complicated World. Susan is the founder and managing director of Susan Liautaud & Associates Limited, which advises clients from global corporations to NGOs on complex ethics matters. She teaches cutting-edge ethics courses at Stanford and ha…
 
You're here because you think I've found the immortality code, right? Or maybe you think I know a good place to buy psychedelics? Though those may be true, this episode will actually be covering a philosophical view of conquering death. Interestingly enough, this idea is a very, very old idea. It dates back to Ancient Egypt with a story that you ma…
 
We turn to the philosopher Socrates for wisdom in this reflection. A curious paradox of wisdom is the need to let go of the traditional idea of knowing. Socrates now famously stated, “All that I know is that I know nothing.” [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagram: instagram.com/searchofwisdompodcast Sig…
 
In the West, we highly value the individual. Surely, all of our laws are built on the individual. However, human beings have evolved in groups, and so our psychology is fundamentally built on tribes. This can create a conflict: should we conform to the group or be an individual? If we always conform to the group, we risk group destruction. At the s…
 
In this episode, I speak to Andrew Lynn the author of the book Classic Philosophy for the Modern Man. Andrew is a lawyer, writer, and author of the ‘Classics for the Modern Man’ series. His mission as a writer is to draw upon classic texts and traditional wisdom in order to help us answer the most profound questions that we face as human beings. Th…
 
We turn to the philosopher Seneca (4 BCE — 65 CE) for wisdom in this reflection. Seneca’s writings serve as one of the most important bodies of work for Stoic philosophy. In his essay On Anger, Seneca stressed that anger is the most destructive of the passions. [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagram: in…
 
Language is an interesting thing. We don't choose our mother tongue in the same way that we don't choose where we are born, yet the language we speak literally shapes our lives. Human beings have been speaking for a very, very long time. So long that you could even say that our whole identity is built on the language we speak. In this episode, I ta…
 
Ad hominem is a very common logical fallacy which can be simply stated as a character attack. Essentially, when a person does not have an actual rebuttal to an argument, they will often try to derail the conversation to focus on the character flaws of the person making the argument. BUT does that mean there is no room for character evaluation? Shou…
 
The Wisdom of Questions - We begin this reflection with the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Rilke wrote in Letters to a Young Poet, "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers [...] Follow Perennia…
 
In this episode, I speak to Simon Drew the author of the new book The Poet & The Sage. Simon is a poet, musician, photographer, and philosophical mentor. He is someone that I’ve listened to many times over the years through The Practical Stoic podcast which has now transformed into The Walled Garden. In the conversation, Simon and I discuss: The Po…
 
The movie "Moana" is an archetypal story that was told incredibly well (and with a bit of good humour thrown in). Like many archetypal stories, the origins can be traced back to ancient religions and very old philosophical ideas, such as that of Chaos and Order. Moana is the hero, of course, who is able to save her island and her people using their…
 
We turn to the philosopher Seneca (4 BCE— 65 CE) for wisdom in this reflection. The poet Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with this one wild and precious life?” Around two thousand years before Oliver, Seneca wrote in his treatise On the Shortness of Life similar questions on living a meaningful life. Seneca put it this way, "…
 
One of the things that doesn't paint humanity in a good light is how we deal with good news from others. Good news in our own lives? Well, that's just amazing! Good news for someone else? Meh. It turns out that there's actually a reason behind it, and, dare I say, a logical one. However, it is truly a shame that we can't be truly happy for others w…
 
In this episode, I speak to Benjamin Lipscomb the author of the new book The Women are Up to Something: How Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch Revolutionized Ethics. Benjamin is a professor of philosophy, specializes in contemporary ethical theory, the history of philosophy (particularly the history of ethics), legal …
 
We turn to the philosopher Heraclitus (535–475 BCE) for wisdom in this reflection. Heraclitus wrote, "No one ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and they are not the same person." [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagram: instagram.com/searchofwisdompodcast Sign-up for The PA…
 
John Giordano is an expert in the treatment of addiction, mental health, and the founder of The National Institute For Holistic Addiction Studies (NIFHAS). He is also the author of several books on addiction and recover. Over twenty years ago Giordano founded the prestigious G & G Holistic Addiction Treatment Center in North Miami Beach, Florida — …
 
How often have you heard the advise: "just be you", or some variation it? "Just do you", "to thyself be true", etc. It's actually great advice! We absolutely SHOULD be true to ourselves, but there's a problem... it isn't always easy. Sometimes it is. That is, when society's expectations align with you being you. A lot of times, however, it is not e…
 
We turn to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121–180) for wisdom in this reflection. His journal, known today as Meditations, serves as one of the greatest works of spiritual and ethical reflection ever written. [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagram: instagram.com/searchofwisdompodcast Sign-up for The…
 
In this episode, I speak to Dr. Brian Russell the author of the new book Centering Prayer: Sitting Quietly in God’s Presence Can Change Your Life. Brian is an award-winning professor of biblical studies and a transformational coach for pastors and spiritually-minded professionals. He is also the host of the Deep Dive Spirituality Conversations podc…
 
The Taos believed that life is divided between Chaos and Order. Too much order? No challenge. Too much Chaos? Well... Chaos. Though they believed the best life is lived right in the middle, it's rare that we are exactly in the middle. In fact, we often sway in between Chaos and Order throughout our lives. That means that sometimes, unfortunately, w…
 
Play - it's all about having fun, right? Well, yes... and no. Play is actually vitally important for our development. In fact, it is very crucial in how we ingrain ourselves in society. Playing teaches us how to win, how to lose, how to court the opposite sex, our own physical limitations, and much more. In learning about play in humans, it's inter…
 
In this episode, I speak to Lyanda Lynn Haupt the author of the new book Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit. Lyanda is an award-winning author, naturalist, ecophilosopher, and speaker whose writing is at the forefront of the movement to connect people with nature in their everyday lives. In the conversation, Lyanda and I …
 
In this episode, I speak with Brandon Tumblin from The Strong Stoic podcast to discuss Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In the conversation, Brandon and I discuss the perils of spite and resentment, the virtuous path, integrating the shadow, and much more. Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagr…
 
Thuraya is the host of the Burnt Sugar Podcast. She was born in the Middle East into Islam and immigrated into a Western country when she was still a young girl. Having recognized the conflicts in many of the basic tenets of Islam and the West, she was challenged to question religion, values, and identity. In this episode, we discuss Thuraya's jour…
 
In today's episode, we reflect on the words of the Buddha for wisdom. Specifically, the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings of the Buddha, and one of the most widely-read Buddhist scriptures. [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagram: instagram.com/searchofwisdompodcast Sign-up for The PATH our free newsle…
 
Imagine the most bitter, resentful, spiteful person. They stay inside all day, yet crave society. They have no friends, yet when they meet someone they instantly want to take advantage of them. They both love and hate themselves. This person is the character Dostoevsky created in his book "Notes From Underground". In all truth, we all have a little…
 
In this episode, I speak to Dr. Michael Ward the author of the new book After Humanity: A Guide to C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man. Michael is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, and Professor of Apologetics at Houston Baptist University. You can learn more about Michael and his work at michaelward.net. If you purchase After Hum…
 
Don't you just love it when people tell you to "not be so naive"? This is actually good advice - being naive leaves you very vulnerable, and there are undoubtedly people who will take advantage of that. At the same time, we must steer away from bitterness and resentment, and this mentality seems to be at odds with being naive. It's a bit of a conun…
 
In this episode, we reflect on the path of virtue. Sages throughout history have generally agreed that virtue is the path to the good life. And choosing the way of “virtue lies in our power, and similarly so does vice,” wrote Aristotle. [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagram: instagram.com/searchofwisdo…
 
It's not uncommon to hear advice that presumes that people are entirely logical. In other words, they we are "slaves to our rationality". Examples of this include things like "just pull yourself up by your boot straps" or "just DO it!". Though things like discipline and perseverance are undeniably important, this advice doesn't consider humanity's …
 
In this episode, I speak to Dr. Beverly Lanzetta the author of many books from A New Silence, The Monk Within, and Sacred Seasons (a new daily reader). Beverly is a theologian, spiritual teacher, and the author of many ground­breaking books on global spirituality and new monasticism. In the conversation, Beverly and I discuss: Searching for Wisdom …
 
In this reflection, we explore the idea of true greatness. According to Nietzsche, "The formula for greatness in a human being is Amor Fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it." [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: t…
 
There are "epochs" in life where we are essentially different people. Many of us, for example, are vastly different (hopefully so) than the teenage version of ourselves. Life goes on, and we are forced to go with it, but do we always do so with grace? Of course not! In fact, teenagers in adult bodies are a regular sight. This is a bloody shame, as …
 
In this reflection, we explore the idea of changing the world. According to Tolstoy, regarded today as one of the greatest writers of all time when it comes to change, we often look externally. Tolstoy wrote, Everyone thinks of changing the world. But no one thinks of changing themselves. [...] Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/…
 
Naya is a psychologist and cognitive behavioural therapist. She works with patients in her daily life where she helps her patients change their behaviour through changing their thoughts. CBT is actually built on Stoic principles, and so Naya is very knowledgeable about Stoicism as well. In this episode, we discuss psychology, the biggest problems s…
 
In this reflection, we turn to the philosopher Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) for wisdom. What initially comes to mind when you think of sitting quietly in a room alone? Pascal writes that the inability to sit quietly alone in a room is the source of all humanity’s problems... Follow Perennial Leader Project: Twitter: twitter.com/searchofwisdom Instagra…
 
Self-improvement is important for happiness in life, but also for the maintenance of society. We need competent people to keep the plumbing going! However, it's not all rainbows and sunshine. Improving oneself comes with a cost. As you become better, you inevitably lose people around you. This makes sense philosophically but also mathematically. Th…
 
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