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?”

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Abuse, Adolescent Sexuality, Advice, Courtship, Erotic Love, Ethics, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mature Love, Morals, New Love, Relationships, Romantic Love, Sex, Sexuality

How Young is Too Young to Love?

SUMMARY:  I discuss two separate questions.  First, how old must someone be to feel love? Second, how mature should someone be to handle love?  I address the first question — which is a factual question — through science.  I address the second question — which is a matter of opinion or judgement — through five measures or standards for maturity.

(About a 12 minute read)

After I had reached puberty, a number of adults — including my mother and some of my teachers — cautioned me and others my age that we were “too young to love”.  No explanation was ever given for why we were too young for romantic love.  It was just so.  Lucky for me, I bought into the idea.

I say I was lucky because during high school I became deeply infatuated with a girl in my class.  Had I not bought into the notion I was too young to love, I might have fancied myself in love with her — which would not only have been factually untrue, but I can only image the trouble it would have caused me at the time to think I was in love with her.

Yet, the question of whether I was too young to love is ambiguous.  It can be interpreted in at least two ways.  First, was I too young to feel love (had I actually felt it)?  Second, was I too young to cope with love?

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Ethics, Honesty, Human Nature, Intellectual Honesty, Liars Lies and Lying, Life, Living, Morality, Morals, Truth, Values

Lies, Liars, and Lying

SUMMARY: Humans learn to lie instinctively, but generally frown on all but a few kinds of lies.

(About a 5 minute read)

Many people who do not believe humans have much in the way of instincts confuse instincts with reflexes.

A reflex is a fixed response to a given stimulus.  No matter how often the stimulus occurs, the reflex is the same each time.  Tap someone on the knee just so and their knee jerks.  Do it again, and again their knee jerks. And that’s pretty much it for reflexes.

Instincts are different.  For one thing, they involve learning.  Your knee doesn’t get better at jerking with practice.  Nor does it learn to jerk in more ways than one.  But an instinct for, say, tool use is open to a person learning how to make or use a whole variety of tools.

In effect, instincts are prompts for learning.  An instinct for tool use, for instance, is a prompt to learn how to use tools.  An instinct for language is a prompt to learn how to speak.  And so forth.

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Abuse, Bad Ideas, Community, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Ethics, Family, Life, Living, Marriage, Memes, Morality, Morals, News and Current Events, Physical Abuse, Political Issues, Quality of Life, Relationships, Society, Thinking, Values, Verbal Abuse

Divorce

(About a 4 minute read)

A few days ago, I was reading about a pastor from one of the Southern states who is of the angry opinion (why does everyone think they need to be angry to open their mouths on nearly any subject these days?) that divorce was far too easy in America.

He blamed no-fault divorce for breaking up the American family, and warned that it would soon lead to the collapse of the nation. Consequently he was calling for laws that would make it much harder to get divorced.

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Abuse, Bad Ideas, Cultural Traits, Culture, Ethics, Idealism, Ideas, Life, Living, Morality, Morals, Self, Values

What are the Best Moral Principles?

(About a 7 minute read)

“Upon returning from his journey, the gentleman learned that his stable of expensive race horses had burnt down in his absence.  The first question he asked was whether the stable boy, who slept in the stable, had been injured.  The second question he asked was whether anyone who had fought to contain the fire had been injured.

“It was only after he’d been reassured that no human had been injured that he asked after the horses. ”

— Paraphrase of a passage from The Analects of Confucius.

 

We seem to be living in an age of rudeness.  That is, ours seems an age in which large numbers of us are habitually rude — even callous — towards each other.  Some of us, at least, seem to put more thought into slighting other people than into treating others with consideration.  And anger — it’s as if each year, people are a little less hesitant to show it, often over the most petty things.

I was thinking of that yesterday while observing someone mistreat the clerk at a nearby corner convenience store.  Obviously, he was in a hurry, and apparently the fact he was in a hurry, and she wasn’t, was quite enough to him to justify in his mind telling her in the rudest tones to move faster.

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Allies, Altruism, Anthropology, Bad Ideas, Behavioral Genetics, Community, Competence, Competition, Cultural Traits, Culture, Ethics, Evolution, Fairness, Human Nature, Hunter/Gatherers, Ideas, Justice, Life, Memes, Morality, Morals, Nature, Obligations to Society, Quality of Life, Science, Society, Values

Lessons About Human Nature Learned From a Spider

(About a 6 minute read)

The spider had been stalking the fly for minutes.  There didn’t seem to be anything on the barren patch of ground to attract a fly.  I expected it to finish its investigations and leave.  But it would only buzz away a few inches when the spider approached it, then in a minute or two return.

Sometimes it would allow the spider to get very close before flying off.

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Belief, Citizenship, Community, Elections, Ethics, Freedom, Honesty, Idealism, Ideologies, Intellectual Honesty, Knowledge, Morality, Morals, News and Current Events, Obligations to Society, Political Ideologies, Politics, Reason, Skeptical Thinking, Society, Thinking, Truth, Values

“With Freedom Comes Responsibility”

(About a 6 minute read)

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”  — Martin Luther King, jr.

 

In high school, I had a math teacher — who I blogged about here — who was something of a political outlaw back in his day.

He was a member of the John Birch society.  A political organization founded by a millionaire that espoused, among other things, the notion Eisenhower had been a communist agent of the Soviet Union, and that had even attacked the nation’s parent-teacher associations as somehow subversive of American values.

The Birchers had been cast out of mainstream American politics by William F. Buckley, the most influential right-wing political thinker and pundit of the time (They would not return to the mainstream until our own age, in 2010).  Buckley considered them dangerous fools and radicals.

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