Wisdom in Society and Corporate Culture
Now more than ever, communication between the generations is essential if we are to begin solving the problems facing our companies, our nation and the world.
American culture celebrates the vigor and exuberance of youth. While adding to the vitality of our society, this joyful celebration is often at the expense of the cumulative knowledge of earlier generations. The drowning out of voices from these earlier generations represents a great loss to not only our corporate culture, but our society at large. It runs the risk of cutting us off from their hard-earned wisdom, which might otherwise inform and guide Americans of all ages.
Therefore, for the good of our shared humanity, the health of our corporate culture, society at large, and not least, our ability to meet future challenges, let us work together to dismantle the barriers between the young to the wise, thereby safeguarding the continuity of our collective history.
Consider “Notes to our Sons and Daughters” a small step in that process, an opening salvo in the much-needed conversation between the generations.
As a culture, we are obsessed with youth – and that’s not a bad thing. Young Americans exude a vigor that is inspiring and infectious. But as globalization makes us more aware of the valuable contributions being made by other cultures, let’s not lose sight of the hard-won wisdom acquired by seasoned Americans.
I conceived “Notes to Our Sons & Daughters” as a way to stimulate a much-needed conversation between our youth and our wise. Photographer Philipp Scholz Rittermann and I asked a cross-section of seasoned county residents what they would like to pass on to our collective “children.”
In their portraits, you can see them wrestling with this question. In their words, excerpted here, you can hear observations that are poignant, humorous, provocative, insightful – in a word, wise.
– Alexis Dixon
Making portraits of the individuals in this group has been an extraordinary privilege, one for which I thank Alexis Dixon, the originator of “Notes to Our Sons & Daughters,” who invited me to participate.
Contemporary American culture is focused on youth, materialism, celebrity, and staying forever young but devalues the sovereignty and wisdom gained through a life well lived. Each of the individuals portrayed here contributes to our community in essential ways, be it through science, business, the arts, philanthropy, volunteering, direct community engagement, or other means.
During our portrait sessions, the conversations among our subjects, Alexis, and myself were so engrossing and varied, I would sometimes forget I was there to photograph. Hearing about key mentors, pivotal experiences ranging from joyful to tragic, lessons learned, and how these changed their actions going forward in fundamental ways was truly inspiring. This project is a bid to validate wisdom and to shine a light on some of our region’s living treasures.
It is my hope that some of the empathy, vision, strength, and authenticity we witnessed in our conversations is visible in these portraits.
– Philipp Scholz Rittermann