The Search For Wisdom with Jacob Needleman, Ph.D.

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For the past 50 years, Jacob Needleman has probed the world of ideas in search of what is wisest in life. Here we explore some of life’s larger questions, such as: When is love born in the human heart? Why is knowledge inseparable from goodness? What does it mean to live in the now? Attention is something that is uniquely human. Needleman says, “When you give your attention to yourself, inwardly, it transforms something, you become another person. When you give your deep attention to another human being, they flourish. The earth needs human attention. Love is an act of giving what only human beings can give…Essential love is the love that only attention and conscious energy can bring…[I]n order to sustain love, you have to bring intention into it and intentional love is work and great work, joyful work, but still work…You cannot sustain a relationship just by the force that made you fall in love.” (hosted by Phil Cousineau)


Jacob Needleman, Ph.D. is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University and former director of the Center of the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also served as a research associate at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

His books include:

To learn more about the work of Jacob Needleman, Ph.D. go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • What is philosophy and how can it be a dynamic, vital, and juicy search for wisdom
  • Why is knowledge inseparable from goodness
  • Why do we need wisdom of both the head and heart to truly see into reality
  • How attention is an energy that is uniquely human
  • What is love and how may it be sustained
  • What is time and how can we experience life more fully in the present moment
  • Why is man an “unfinished animal”
  • What are the two fundamental natures of humankind: the external, social, and emotional nature and the divine nature

Host: Phil Cousineau      Interview Date: 2/3/2014      Program Number: 3501

Music Playlist

From Album: 17 Seconds to Anywhere
Artist: Liz Story
1998 Windham Hill Records #01934-11291-2

Opening Essay: Track 02 Rumors of Discipline
Music Break 1: Track 04 Voices
Music Break 2: Track 02 Rumors of Discipline
Music Break 3: Track 01 Captain April