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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Advice, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Courtship, Free Spirit, Freedom, Friends, Fun, Human Nature, Ideas, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Loyalty, Marriage, Oppression, Play, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sex, Values

How an Open Relationship Can be Fun and Exciting for Both You and Your Mail Carrier

“If you love somebody, set them free.  If they return to you, it’s beautiful.” — Anonymous, often falsely attributed to Richard Bach.

SUMMARY:  Open relationships in which the partners are by and large free to do as they please aren’t all roses and sparkles, but they can solve some common enough problems with more conventional relationships.

(About a 7 minute read)

Give me a free spirited woman!  After more than twenty years of being happily celibate, I most certainly wouldn’t know what to do with one, but that does not mean I would not — if the right one came along — seriously consider getting into one of those romantic thingies with her.

You know, one of those friendships where you get to do sexy stuff like…um…I forget now.  Oh yeah!  Like blow up condoms and bounce them around the bedroom together!  At least, that’s what I recall condoms are for.  I’m pretty sure they make lousy garbage can liners, so it’s logically got to be balloons, right?

Continue reading “How an Open Relationship Can be Fun and Exciting for Both You and Your Mail Carrier”

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.

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Advice, Art, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Cultural Traits, Dance, Erotic Dance, Life, Living, Performance Arts, Sex, Sexuality

How to Watch Strippers (And Why You Should Care)

SUMMARY: Common mistakes people make while watching erotic dancers, plus the best way to do it in order to fully appreciate the nature of erotic dance.

(About a 6 minute read)

It seems curious to me that — from my point of view — people first make sex a problem when it need not be a problem, then they condemn sex for the mess they’ve made of it.

Why is that so?  Why do we think sex is the problem when it’s so obvious to anyone willing to look closely at it that it’s us — our attitude and approach to it — that are the problem?

Continue reading “How to Watch Strippers (And Why You Should Care)”

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.

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Education, Honesty, Human Nature, Intellectual Honesty, Language, Learning, Life, Living, Logic, New Idea, Quality of Life, Reason, Skeptical Thinking, Thinking

Three Pillars of a Well-Educated Mind

SUMMARY: There may be several pillars of a well-educated mind, but to me, the three most important are intellectual honesty, open-mindedness, and critical thinking.

(About a 12 minute read)

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”  ― Margaret Mead

Like most people who do not suffer from a crippling over-abundance of sanity, I am a staunch believer in the notion that we could do a much better job than we are doing in teaching people to think.

Saner people might point out the many ways in which American culture discourages teaching people to think.  For instance, there is a deeply rooted strain of anti-intellectualism in our society that has been present ever since the 1820s or 30s, and which most often manifests itself as contempt for anything exceeding a narrowly practical education.

I freely concede that making a living is of periodic importance in life, such as roughly during the period between the ages of twenty and sixty or so.  But to me, that doesn’t mean you should so focus your education on getting a good job that you fail to develop the skills necessary to lead a fulfilling life.

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Authoritarianism, Bad Ideas, Conservative, Democracy, Freedom, Human Nature, Idealism, Ideas, Ideologies, Liberal, Oppression, Political Ideologies, Political Issues, Politicians and Scoundrels, Politics, Society, Village Idiots

Traditional Conservatives vs Today’s Conservatives

SUMMARY: I make a sharp distinction between true conservatism and today’s most popular conservatism.  I then draw the conclusion that, while true conservatism is both necessary and good, today’s most popular conservatism is a radical and dangerous departure from it.

(About a 6 minute read) 

A curious thing about human politics is that it seems everywhere on earth to be roughly divided between “liberals and conservatives”.   That is, between people who are more or less inclined to experiment with new things, and people who are more or less disinclined to do so.

In recent years, there have been a number of scientific studies to see if there is some kind of biological or psychological basis for the division of human politics into those two camps.  A number of hypotheses have been proposed — such that conservatives lack empathy compared to liberals, or that conservatives are more likely to see the world as a hostile place compared to liberals — but so far as I know, none of those hypotheses has been backed up by a solid weight of studies except for one of them.

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