|Journal: Virtue, Appr.|
Does virtue neccessitate, as Aristotle asserted in his work Nicomachean Ethics, both right action and right belief? For instance, if you end poverty, achieve peace and dismantle global warming, but do so accidentally or with ulterior motives, are you not virtuous? Must right beliefs precede right actions?
I think otherwise. Deeds, not beliefs, determine virtue. Beliefs may indicate or predict future-virtue; however, at any moment, they are irrelevant. At any moment, only deeds matter.
Some might argue that beliefs mandate that all actions accord with them. But in this I agree with Aristotle that people can control themselves and act differently from their beliefs(enkrateia).
Accordingly, New Year Resolutions often prove opposed to virtue. They emanate from a belief (or a pale imitation of it) and seek to, but often fail to, influence actions. The person making a New Year Resolution, seeks motivation not from the need for action, but from the rarity and specialness of New Year Time.
I find it strange that we have labelled so many illnesses, but not healthinesses. Specifically, we possess terms for physical (eg. cancer) and mental (eg. schizophrenia) disorders, but not for physical and mental orders. You know what to call people without eyes (blind) or ears (deaf); but what do you call those with 2 functioning eyes or ears?
This stems from the invisibility of health and the prominence of sickness. Harmony passes us unnoticed; disharmony rankles. Thomas Caryle noted the same in his essay Characteristics: "The healthy know not of their health, but only the sick."
Correspondingly, most people can criticize, but not appreciate others. Thus, appreciation attains critical importance-- it helps the other focus on and build his positives, while strengthening the relation between you and him.
Why then, you may ask, do we witness examples of extravagant praise at a feedback site such as ES? I believe it stems from a desire to encourage others. Eitherways, I think sycophancy merits appreciation. After all, false praise always bases itself on some reality.
Praise someone falsely today.
...Created 2008-01-01 11:41:59 [ View Past Journals ] [ View as Blog ]