Be sure not to miss John Bradshaw's interview this coming Wednesday, July 14th on 11 AM (Pacific Time) on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel.
Second Chances host Susan Armstrong will interview John about his latest book, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop The Moral Intelligence To Do The Right Thing, At The Right Time, For The Right Reason.
You can also check back here on the AAR blog after. We'll be posting a link to the recorded program!
Note: this article was originally published in the Cutting Edge Spring/Summer 2009 Newsletter.
John Bradshaw's latest book, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason, released April 28, 2009.
Reclaiming Virtue is a very ambitious book. I originally conceived of it as part of my own Stage Four recovery work, but I later came to the realization that the book is more like a record of my own struggle over the past 50 years.
Many people say that the answers to all of our moral problems involve going back to traditional values - although no one ever defines exactly what "traditional values" means. They would benefit from a book by Stephanie Coontz titled The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap, which shows that the American family has changed many times throughout our history.
Early history supports Coontz's thinking, as Boston's most influential Puritan clergy from the Synod of 1679 included in their list of sins teenage pregnancy, drug abuse, frivolous lawsuits, greed and excessive profit taking, and women in lewd clothing. Worst of all, the family was breaking down - a complete loss of discipline. For those who use the family systems model to understand addiction, trauma and neuroses, it seems as though some of today's problems are a collective repetition compulsion from the past. We know that families become dysfunctional because they use faulty solutions to solve distress. Mom's a prescription drug addict, so Dad tells the kids to take over her chores and keep her problem a secret. Everyone in the family overfunctions to help Mom's problem and, low and behold, it gets worse. The solution becomes the problem. Traditional values, as many understand them, are part of a solution that has become the problem.
As Reclaiming Virtue is more than 500 pages long, what follows is a brief summary of major elements of prudential ethics. They are based on the Greek tradition of Heraclitus (who was called the first moralist in Western philosophy) and include the virtue that Aristotle called "phronesis" (prudence). Prudence was later incorporated into the work of Thomas Aquinas (called the universal doctor of Catholic theology). These men saw prudence as the governing virtue of all virtues. They understood prudence to be a fully practical knowledge - the "know how" to make the right moral judgment in the right context at the right time! They believed that it is far better to be just and honest than to merely know how to define these virtues.
Studies in evolutionary psychology, clinical psychology, and the neuroscience of the brain support the fact that the mind (Dan Siegel) and free will (Jeffrey M. Schwartz) are distinct realities in relation to the physical brain. Studies of Silvan Tompkins, Allan N. Schore, and Joseph LeDoux point to affect (or feeling) as the primary motivating factor of human behavior, giving the prudential ethics of Aristotle and Aquinas a solid grounding in modern thought. Here are some of my ideas for new prudential ethics:
The Meadows of Wickenburg is proud to announce that John Bradshaw's latest book, Reclaiming Virtue, is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Bradshaw has written three New York Times bestselling books (Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child; Creating Love; and Healing the Shame That Binds You), and is a Fellow of the Meadows.
"John Bradshaw has written this book for the millions of decent, caring people who are struggling every day with painful choices, who are appalled- as he is- by the greed and shamelessness that plague our society, and who long for guidance for themselves and their children in an increasingly complex world." (Amazon.com)
With positive reviews from Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and Common Boundary magazine, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason will be released on April 28, 2009.