Alienation From Self, Aristotle, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Christianity, Cultural Traits, Culture, Ethics, Eudaimonia, Happiness, Human Nature, Ideas, Judaism, Life, Living, Memes, Morality, Morals, Pride, Purpose, Quality of Life, Religion, Religious Ideologies, Self Image, Self-Flourishing, Values, Well Being

Pride in Aristotle and Christianity

“The description of the proud or magnanimous man [in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics] is very interesting as showing the difference between pagan and Christian ethics…”.  — Bertrand Russell.

SUMMARY:  Pride to Aristotle was a virtue, and a means to happiness, but to Christians, it is a sin, and a means to unhappiness.

(About a 7 minute read)

In Judaism, pride is called the root of all evil, a valuation that seems in part to have been carried over into Christianity, for Christians regard pride as the first and foremost of the Seven Deadly Sins.

In Catholicism, the Seven Deadly Sins are not to be confused with “Mortal Sins” — they do not automatically damn you to hell if you fail to repent of them before death, but they are pretty much bad enough anyway.

In contrast to the Jewish and Christian views, pride was an actual virtue to Aristotle.  Which of course, raises the question, “Why did Aristotle think pride was a virtue?”

Continue reading “Pride in Aristotle and Christianity”

Alienation, Alienation From Self, Boredom, Cultural Traits, Culture, Emotions, Free Spirit, Fun, Goals, Happiness, Human Nature, Impermance, Life, Living, Love, Meaning, Nature, Passion, Play, Purpose, Quality of Life, Spiritual Alienation, Spirituality, Television, Vacilando, Values, Work

The Passionate Life: Living in the Moment vs. Living for the Moment

(About an 8 minute read)

“Don’t cry over things that were or things that aren’t. Enjoy what you have now to the fullest.” — Barbara Bush

“Your passions cannot soar unless you release them from the hands of time — the left hand of the past, and the right hand of the future.”  — Some ditz or another of no importance.

 

She looked to be about 15 in her red shorts and white T-shirt.  She was sitting on a boulder at least four times her size, bouncing a tennis ball on a racket.  Her face said she was bored.

Her father had left her there, promising to be back in just a few minutes.  He wanted to “try a few casts in the lake”.  Then off he went down the shore, pausing only now and then to dip his line, before disappearing out of sight around a bend in the water.

Continue reading “The Passionate Life: Living in the Moment vs. Living for the Moment”

Abuse, Alienation, Alienation From Self, Emotional Abuse, Human Nature, Judgementalism, Life, Love, Lovers, Marriage, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Quality of Life, Relationships, Religion, Religious Ideologies, Romantic Love, Self Image, Sexual Abuse, Sexuality, Spiritual Alienation, Spirituality, Values, Verbal Abuse

The Cheating Wife

(About a 2 minute read)

Father, I have seen how the morals you demand of me
In the name of your God and his hell
Are like winds from two quarters
That carry the dust to my eyes
No matter which way I turn
So I can no longer see the path I’m on,
Nor which path to take from here.

Father, I have seen how the morals you demand of me
In the name of your God and his hell
Are like tungsten rods encasing me,
Confining me to inaction and encouraging resignation
To my hell, the hell my husband
Has created for me that may yet
Prove to be a death camp.

You tell me right and wrong never alter,
Never turn from one into the other,
That I must keep my vows and stay with him,
Merely praying that your God will change his heart.

I am weary now like a bison after wolves
Have chased her for miles to her last stand,
I am all but exhausted and ready to die.
Your words do not comfort me, nor encourage me,
But sound only like you want me to surrender
To the fangs of my enemy, that he might
Rip my throat and my life from me.

You say I must not cheat.
But I am ready to cheat.
I have met one who comes walking
In the grace of love for me.
One who does not merely speak of love, but loves.
One whose touching me has passed a spark
To the dry and brittle twigs of my self-esteem.

He wants me to live, and through him,
I want to live too.

Yes, I know that I’m weak,
Too weak to love myself without him.
But he ignites me, and my weakness
Will soon enough burn away in a bonfire.

Father, have you never been so beaten down
You could not stand up without someone’s help?
Have you never been so tired
You could not go on without first you slept?
Have you never been so defeated
You could not renew yourself?

Father, in your eyes I am no more than a whore,
I am no more than a law-breaker, an outlaw.
But have you considered this:
Even a whore has a right to life,
Even an outlaw has a right to live,
And how moral can your morals be
If your morals deny my life?


This poem was inspired by a poem on Sarah’s blog, “Fresh Hell”, which can be found here.

Alienation, Alienation From Self, Human Nature, Life, Love, People, Poetry, Quality of Life, Self, Spirituality, Tara Lynn, Vacilando

In the Stillness of the Mountains

Please Note: A couple weeks ago, Gina presented our WordPress community with a challenge: Compose a poem answering the question, “Who Am I?”. That I did.

Please remember to check out the works of the other poets here.

(About a 5 minute read)

I would sit at a sidewalk table each evening
To watch the descending sun become the night.
In those days, I would sit alone into the night.

But once a stranger shot from around the corner,
Almost bolting and desperate. It seemed desperate.

It’s head swung side to side,
Searching for something it didn’t find.
It held its tail almost between its legs,
And made a curious sound,
Half muffled whimpering, half something wild.

Its alienation was tangible, I felt it viscerally.

Two humans followed almost at a trot.
“That’s no dog”, I said to them.

“No, it’s a wolf.”

A wolf in the city. Fed, groomed,
Taken good care of, but homeless in the city,
It’s spirit attuned to a wilderness
It cannot find.

Years before, I had loved my secretary, Tara.
Her laughter rising and falling with mine
As the hours of work flew by.
Then she had spun — within 24 weeks she had spun —
Like a child’s top wobbling down to collapse
Into the arms of a man who belittled her and beat her.

And within those same 24 weeks, I had lost it all.
Nearly everything “my”, nearly everything “mine”.
All of it but a car, a few thousand dollars,
And some clothes.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

The wife was almost the first to go. The home was next.
With it my pets, my books, my journals, my bed.
I became homeless, working by day, wandering at night
Until I would find some spot to park and to sleep.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

Scott stumbled out one night, that he came to work
Because it was there he felt loved. Lisa had told me
Much the same thing earlier that Spring.

But the woman I loved whose laughter I thought
Was like a gentle breeze across blue flowers,
And whose smile seemed to be a warm sun in disguise,
Was turning inside herself in confusion and in pain.
Churning in confusion and pain.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

Scott stayed until the end, but Lisa and the others
Had me on a pedestal. When I tumbled, they left
One by one, in disillusionment and disgust.

“Competent. Capable. Successful. Respectable.” left too.
Soon enough followed by, “Decent. Kind. And Good.”

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

In the evenings, I would sit beside the lake
Feeling the breeze lift across my arm like kisses
From someone who came close enough to care.

By that lake,
My troubled mind began to calm, even ran cold.
I left self-pity somewhere in the past,
And then I left the past
Where it could no longer be found —
Memories of the year before
Seemed like some other person’s life.
“Eighteen months”, I thought, “And I’ll be dead.”
It was a conclusion reached as dispassionately
As two and two is four.

When do you suppose, in the process of losing things,
Do you lose yourself?

Not wanting my family to witness the dying
I set out with all that was left,
And wandered my way to Colorado in the Fall.

Several years went by, years of the wolf.
Years of estrangement and alienation,
Until I was gradually reborn.

When do you suppose, in the process of gaining things,
Do you regain yourself?

I have learned that in life the most important doors
Are the doors you do not suspect are there,
The doors you might pass through not knowing
You’ve turned the key in their locks.

My brothers are returned to me now,
More brothers now than ever before.
My friends are truer now,
More truer friends than ever before.

Yes, I still can run my fingers
Along the lumpy scars that have healed
Without having been sewn up.
I still can feel the atrocity
Of Tara’s fate, and I even miss my books.

But my laughter echoes through-out me now,
My loves are many and passionate.
I can hold a flower between my teeth
Without being wounded by its thorns.
I feel the endless wilderness of my spirit,
And the coiled precision of my mind.
I revel in the beauty of men and women,
And in the stillness of the mountains
I am reborn.
In the stillness of the mountains
I am reborn.

Abuse, Alienation From Self, Bad Ideas, Drug Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Family, Human Nature, Life, Love, Morality, Morals, People, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Quality of Life, Rae, Relationships, Sex, Sexual Abuse, Sexuality, Sexualization, Shannon, Spiritual Alienation

Is Ignorance the Root and Stem of All Evil?

(About a 6 minute read)

“Ignorance is the root and stem of all evil” — Plato

Trigger Warning: Explicit references to child sexual abuse, etc.

Shannon’s father and two uncles were widely reputed to be the three most evil beasts in Champaign County, Illinois.  For one thing, before the Chicago gangs moved in with their greater numbers, the brothers and their friends controlled the hard drug trade in the county.

To call them “beasts”, however, is somewhat misleading since it might imply that the brothers were somewhat on the dull side.  In fact, just the opposite seems to have been true.  The brothers had a reputation for brains.  It was pessimistically said, they could not be outsmarted.

Continue reading “Is Ignorance the Root and Stem of All Evil?”

Abuse, Alienation, Alienation From Self, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Community, Cultural Traits, Culture, Education, Family, Free Spirit, Happiness, Human Nature, Life, Political and Social Alienation, Quality of Life, Relationships, Religion, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self Interest, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Self-Realization, Society, Spiritual Alienation, Spirituality, Talents and Skills, Teaching, Values, Work

Divorcing Our Self from Our Self

(About a 7 minute read)

Shortly following university, I discovered I had a remarkably alarming problem: I had prudently made firm, long-term plans to eat during my life, but I was rapidly running out of money with which to buy groceries.  Some quick computer calculations showed beyond doubt that I would be out of eats significantly before my ideal lifespan had been reached.

I laid wise plans to rob old ladies of their Social Security checks.

Continue reading “Divorcing Our Self from Our Self”

Alienation, Alienation From Self, Bad Ideas, Free Spirit, Human Nature, Jackie, Josh, Law, Life, Love, Lovers, Morality, Obligations to Society, Oppression, People, Sex, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Values, Wisdom

“He Kept the Law and Saved the World for You, Praise be!”

(About a 3 minute read)

Josh was lean as a wolf that fall
And strong as a hawk’s wings.
That October when the comet
Hung over the San Luis in the night.

And the coyotes called out in the night.
The coyotes yearned in the night.

Jackie heard the coyotes call
And wanted Josh but didn’t know
At seventeen how to overcome
Her ancient fears (born before the first gods)
For the sake of her ancient desires.

(Fire and ice
Ice on fire
Which will win?)

Jackie, then Josh, asked your advice
Back when you didn’t like
Giving advice.
Too much responsibility,
Too little wisdom to know
Which way to turn a young life.

Someone else that summer
Offered herself to you.
She was as young as Jackie.
As beautiful as Josh.

You pretended not to notice.
And she pretended not to care.
You stayed friends that way.

Josh was lean, but you listened to her.
Josh was strong, but you felt her.
And (let’s get honest here)
She sensed you knew how to love a woman
So that she cared to be loved,
Cared to share her bed with you.
That’s why she turned to you.
But you didn’t see it then.

(How long we must live
Before we see anything!
We’re always half in our graves,
At least half in our graves
Before we know life at all.)

(And why didn’t you see it?
It’s not like you at forty
Were one of those boys,
Those boys, those “pick-up artists”,
Who know more about how to get fucked,
Than they know how to fuck.
You cared for her. She cared for you.)

Today you would have accepted her.
Your fire has rekindled now,
Now it burns green again.
You’re wiser now, less a fool,
And the blood of outlaws
Burns in your veins.

Love moves according
To its own laws.
According to laws
Born when the universe
Was new.

You can try
To put chains on it,
And cage it, tame it,
Make it acceptable
As a garden plant.

(That’s what they do, you know.
Across the world they do it:
They play the alchemist:
With strange heats and poisons
They turn gold into lead,
But call it lead into gold.
Those guardians of morality.
Those liars.)

But love is a weed
And will always grow wild.

A weed with thorns
It will have its revenge
If you try to pluck it.

Deny it and deny life.
Die years before you’re dead.

The busybodies will praise
You for how you sacrificed
To keep their civilization
From crumbling to the sea.

(Yeah they will. They really will.)

I hear their eulogies already.
Their ironic eulogies for you
That they’ll roar from their pulpit
(“Roar” by putting a moral spin on things.)
So even the dead may hear
How Jackie and Josh were lawful
And so were you.
And so were you.

Somewhere the coyotes call.
The savage coyotes call out
In the night to something
Inside you that’s no longer
Yours and is gone anyway.

But you did save civilization.

For you and the girl didn’t fuck.

Let this be your eulogy then:

“He denied love,
He kept the law,
Saved us all,
By not fucking,
By not confusing
Good with Evil.
Not mixing
Youth and age.”

Let that be carved in stone.
It’s enough to make a dead man proud,
And pride is more ethical than love.

Right?