(Coming every couple days are additional posts answering questions related. A time-line found at the bottom of this post. More soon…Today? An invitation to adventure…
Forego the words of the chemical pushers and the flashy screen images as much as you can. Listen to the ancients (pre-pharmacy and pre-internet). There is perennial insight. It is insight that needs to be recovered by each generation. It is an inheritance that can be lost like any other. The gift is there. What will I do with it?
From Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics: “But the virtues we get by first practicing them, as we do in the arts…Similarly, it is by doing just acts that we become just, by doing temperate acts that we become temperate, by doing brave acts that we become brave.”
Oh Aristotle! It is so straightforward. Dear reader do you hear the gospel (good news)? By doing we become. By doing. We are like clay…matter. What form we take is determined by our doings. You and I are both material and artist! Oh the weight! Is it exciting or is it burdensome? Is it adventurous or is it despairing? The way the gospel of Aristotle appears to you and me will be a result of our character. But don’t be deceived by appearances. They too are a product of character.
I want to stay on the hilltop today. I want to sit for awhile in the air of clarity. I want to get at the crux of things and know the relations..the fundamental hinge points. Here is a relation for me to meditate on. Character is a product of doing. Character is like art. Character is a production. Character is the effect. My doings are the cause. By putting my doings in order I can make something. What is sexier than a virtuous human? What is sexier than calm, patience, endurance, prudence, courage, temperance, justice? Seriously!
There are all kinds of questions from the he who wants to learn more:
What is character? (POST 2: On Character) 7/28/20
Where do I get a model of the form I am trying to shape my character into? POST 3: On Ideal Models) 7/31/20
What is the production process like? More specifically, how long does it take? What are the steps? (POST 4: Expectations about process) 8/4/20
What does the production process feel like? (This is one of the most important questions to answer because we, in our undeveloped states, are susceptible to being guided by undeveloped feeling. If it hurts and we are not ready for that, we may be tempted to flee the production process and miss out on the high-quality art that is the potential of the productive process? (POST 5: Feeling and production) 8/7/20
Finally, the darkest question: is it possible for doings to develop character if those doings are determined by less-developed character? (this is mostly a theoretical question or a question from the tempter. Of course it is possible. That is the quick answer. How? Why is there the appearance of impossibility? These take more time to respond to. But don’t doubt the possibility of improving. You have evidence in your own life of some improvement at least. If you find yourself at the bottom of the proverbial barrel, then you have evidence of the same: doings create character. Though your evidence will be of how bad doings create bad character. It is evidence none-the-less. The question of development is harder to answer, but the practical link between doings and character is obvious. (POST 6: The Paradox of Development) 8/11/20
So, in coming posts, interspersed with regular economic analysis, answers/thoughts on these questions. But a return to the theme worth meditation: do you want to calmly face the pornographer, the chemical pusher, the sugar salesman? You need temperance. Do you want to calmly face the the aggressor who comes in many shades? You need courage. Do you want to calmly give each his due with the measure of equality warranted in giving and taking? You need justice.
Aristotle’s claim is that they are within reach. We have the material. We have the time. We just need to do!