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”

Human Nature, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Learning, Life, Living, Memory, Quality of Life, Resilience, Self, Spirituality

Memory and Resilience

“There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.” ― Sophie Kinsella

SUMMARY:  How memories might make us less emotionally and psychologically resilient.

(About a 5 minute read)

I admire the grasses.  That family is trod upon, eaten, mowed, and even at times burnt, and yet it usually springs back.  It even sometimes comes up through the cracks in concrete and asphalt.  Grass seems to me almost indestructible, but not because it cannot be destroyed — because it is resilient.

We in America encourage our children to be all sorts of things.  Strong, confident, willful, intelligent, compassionate, kind… but unless “strong” is taken as including resilient, we do not so often encourage them to be that.

Continue reading “Memory and Resilience”

Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Human Nature, Life, Living, Love, Oppression, Self, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Talents and Skills, Values

Love and Authenticity

SUMMARY: Mutual love with another person typically provides inspiration and encouragement to be true to ourselves.

(About a 4 minute read)

When I was nineteen, I met the first great love of my life.  A woman I believed to be so remarkable that I arranged for us to have a heart-to-heart discussion about what I could do to become more like her.

Unfortunately, life’s currents soon enough separated us when I had to move out of town.  But about a year after I’d met her, something quite strange happened.  I was thinking over my life one evening when I recalled a traumatic event of my childhood. That in itself was strange because the event had so traumatized me that I had no other way to deal with it than — for years — simply refusing to think about it for more than a second or two at a time.  Yet, here I was actually recalling it as fully as I could for the first time since the event had happened.

Continue reading “Love and Authenticity”

Advice, Happiness, Human Nature, Life, Living, Quality of Life, Self-determination, Talents and Skills, Teresums, Work

What Does it Mean to “Live Fully”?

SUMMARY:  An attempt to offer sage advice on how to live a fuller more fulfilling life.

(About an 8 minute read)

Like most sensible Americans these days, I do not often wonder if there’s more to life than quality Balinese Donkey Porn if there’s more to life than sex, shopping, and sports.  “What possible fun could there be in doing so?”, I ask myself, “Does thinking more deeply about the subject come with any coupons?”

Those are admittedly powerful reasons not to go down the rabbit hole of unnecessary inquiry.  Unfortunately, the ever annoying Teresums has once again proven herself insufferable by asking me what it means to “live fully”.

Continue reading “What Does it Mean to “Live Fully”?”

Belief, Consciousness, Human Nature, Knowledge, Life, Living, Religion, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-Knowledge, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

What is a Mystical Experience Like?

“Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.”  ― Zhuangzi, 

SUMMARY: While it is nearly impossible to adequately communicate the content of a mystical experience to a non-mystic who has never had one, somethings perhaps can be said about the experience that might shed some light on it.

(About a 9 minute read)

Suppose you came across a community of people living in the Amazon rain forest who had never before seen — or even heard more than a rumor or two — of people like you or of your culture and civilization.

Further suppose, upon learning their language, you discover it is beautifully suited to expressing the interrelatedness of all things, but there is neither any word for “god” nor any words that can be used to express the concept of god.  In short, the people have no concept of metaphysics at all.

The world, to them, is not much more than what it appears to be, and the closest you can come to telling them about god more or less translates into “Big Hidden Man/Woman”, which makes them wonder whether you’re talking about a transgendered human of inordinate size who hides behind bushes and trees.

Continue reading “What is a Mystical Experience Like?”

Belief, Consciousness, Cultural Traits, Culture, Enlightenment, God, God(s), Human Nature, Ideas, Intuition, Knowledge, Mysticism, Observation, Religion, Satori, Self, Self-Integration, Self-Realization, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

What Do Mystics Mean by “God”?

“Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language.” ― Meister Eckhart

SUMMARY:  Mystics naturally speak of the experience that distinguishes them from other folks using words and terms derived from their individual cultures.  Hence, they typically speak of having experienced “god”, but upon examination, their notions of god often tend to have more in common with other mystics than they do with common cultural notions of god.  Central to virtually all theistic mysticism is the notion that god — or ultimate reality — is an all-encompassing oneness or One, despite any appearances to the contrary.

(About a 10 minute read)

I first became interested in mysticism about 40 years ago.  I was a sophomore at university and seriously concerned with finding an objective basis for values.

At the time, I believed — like many people still do — that unless an objective basis for values could be found, “anything was permissible”.  No evil, however great, could be objectively opposed.  And that frightened me.

Unfortunately, the more I learned, the less there seemed to be any possibility of an objective basis.  But then I came across the writings of various mystics.

Continue reading “What Do Mystics Mean by “God”?”

Family, Human Nature, Life, Living, Oppression, Quality of Life, Self-Knowledge

When Relationships Turn to Stone

SUMMARY:  The peculiar fact that couples can get into ruts that neither partner wants, but which both think the other one does.  Three possible reasons for such ruts are miscommunication, lack of complete self-knowledge, and personal change.

(About a 5 minute read)

A curious thing happened some years ago when a couple I knew broke up.  Since I tried to stay in touch with both of them, I was privy to how each of them took the break up.  After a predictable period of grief, both found other partners almost at the same time.  And that’s when the strangeness began.

Each in turn confided in me that they felt “liberated”.  But not from anything evil — they had not broken up because one or the other of them was a bad person.  They had simply failed to see eye to eye on so many issues their relationship became untenable.  What each assured me he or she felt liberated from was the “rut” they’d been in.

But that wasn’t all of it.  It wasn’t even the surprising part.  What astonished me was when now and then the two of them would — without knowing what the other had said — “agree” that it was the other person who had liked or disliked something — not them themselves.

Continue reading “When Relationships Turn to Stone”