What is virtue? 

 “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” —Aristotle 

What is virtue? Virtue by way of Aristotle is a philosophical approach to understanding the goodness and badness that entails a way of life towards righteousness or destruction and the intentional and unintentional pursuit of each. First one must understand the difference between the two so they may so chose which path they shall take in life. Nonetheless, virtue must be defined and comprehended in full context so as to explore the many options towards building one’s capacity to endure both the good and the bad. It is imperative that our understanding be built upon a foundation of accepting that good may come with bad or that without one, the existence of the other will neither be accepted nor embraced. The following is an attempt to understand how virtue plays a major role in all that influences our lives on a daily basis, that is, with a heavy reliance on the words of Aristotle.

​For the most part, virtue entails the pursuit of all that is good, of course with the dependence of one’s character and endurance. So as to say, one’s passions and emotions are determining factors in the choices that they make that dispose upon the cause and effect of virtuous activities of the soul. Happiness, success, positivity, self-control and willingness to accept possessing one without the other promotes virtuous dispositions. However, one must also understand the bad and that deprivation of such is a good thing. Deficiency in the passion towards achieving positive virtue lies within the individual and the drive they possess in steering towards conducting good will. Aristotle knew best the characteristics that promoted such good faith. It is by reason of abstaining from sinful self-indulgence that creates behaviors that lead to pleasurable actions that one brings onto themselves and exert onto others. In a sense, one can conclude that pleasure by way of promoting good produces excellence and builds character to endure any bad that may come as a result or unexpectedly. Therefore, as explained in the latter, the bad must be accepted with the good in order to righteously embrace and respect the choices that one makes might not always be the best for others.

Virtue as a pleasure

​Aristotle explicates pleasure as being one of the three things found within one’s soul. The other two things found within the soul being faculties and state of character. So it is almost as if we are created and born with such characteristics by default, for lack of a better term. Undoubtedly although passion is instilled in us, it is our choice to make it righteous or self-destructive. Righteous passion is better described as a love of something grand or dear, a respect for all other virtues and an appreciation for good fortune.

​The cause and effect for committing just acts depends on the motivation behind being passionate about something. In Book II, Part 1 of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle cites, “Now goods have been divided into three classes, and some are described as external, others as relating to soul or to body; we call those that relate to soul most properly and truly goods, and psychical actions and activities we class as relating to soul.” This statement correlates with the inference that all good and bad (evil) comes from within one’s soul. Whether it be through physical actions or malicious intent motivated by the psyche, the soul is the core of and all causes effects put out into the world.

Virtue as a pain

​In looking to understand how pleasure plays into virtue and the choices that one makes, it is paramount to point out the relationship that pleasure has with pain. To understand this relationship is to come into an agreement, as previously stated, that pleasure does include pain sometimes, or that pleasure can cause pain at times as well. All be it by way of human behavior can one relate how pain is felt through emotion and physical contact. First we must acquire facts as to what pain exactly is.

​Virtue as a pain can be exerted through anger, hate, fear, envy, emulation as well as violence (upon another or self-inflicted). Nonetheless, all of these feelings tend to be driven by human behaviors brought on by human conditions and social context. On the other hand, one may even consider pain to be a passion brought on by an outer source so extreme that it becomes one’s primary concern or driving force towards performing an action. In support of this statement, Aristotle views pain can be controlled as he said so by stating, “With regard to feelings of fear and confidence courage is the mean; of the people who exceed, he who exceeds in fearlessness has no name (many of the states have no name), while the man who exceeds in confidence is rash, and he who exceeds in fear and falls short in confidence is a coward. With regard to pleasures and pains- not all of them, and not so much with regard to the pains- the mean is temperance, the excess self-indulgence.” In other words, something that may be good for you can be a pleasure. But, too much of something good can be bad and too much of a bad thing can cause pain.

Choices of virtue becoming a consequence

​Undeniably, as with anything else in life, there is a consequence to one’s actions. As with pain and pleasure, both entail an ideal end result as well as an unavoidable repercussion. Those that do bad must be able to accept bad things to be done onto them; those that do good allow for good to enter their realm of good fortune. One can either be praised or punished. Everything in life can be controlled by choices; all is voluntary as it pertains to pleasure and pain. Virtue serves only as a guide and it is up to the individual to know what to accept into their soul and take into consideration what things to put out into the world.

​In summation, ignorance to the concepts of virtue is no exception to the rule of righteousness. Doing a service to one’s self requires much understanding of life. Aristotle’s Book III, Part 1 states, “Now every wicked man is ignorant of what he ought to do and what he ought to abstain from, and it is by reason of error of this kind that men become unjust and in general bad; but the term ‘involuntary’ tends to be used not if a man is ignorant of what is to his advantage.” Clearly stated, one can see things differently from another, yet the meaning and the lesson that can be learned remains the same. It is ultimately up to the individual to determine what their virtue is to them and whether they would rather feel pleasure in happiness or pain in deliberate destruction.

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Pretentious one 

It seems to me that Halloween isn’t just one day a year. Rather, it’s every day that people are happy and excited to pretend to be something that they are not; even at the cost of being fake. No matter what you try to hide, cover up, or erase, at the end of the day you can be sparing someone else, but your wrongdoings will still show; whether it be on your face, body, goals, finances, or the ability of obtaining things without sinning to have them.

Ever wonder why your conscious exists? The reason is because at one point in life you were told or taught to do better and to do right. And over time, you develop excuses to justify why it suits you to digress; because you know you’re ugly inside.. and they don’t create makeup to cover what’s on the inside.

The drummer

To my dear friend who misses her father deeply. Listen to your heart, he lives inside of you. (F.M.) 

If I close my eyes and stay very still, I can hear a drummer pounding a steady beat.

But once I get distracted it’s like I can’t hear it anymore.

I want to see the drummer it is so frustrating that I cannot, but I know it’s there. This is all too much. I can’t. I am leaving. I am going for a walk before I lose my mind.

I just need to think; I need to ponder clearly in solitude.

Counting my steps with one foot in front of the other; The drummer begins. The faster I go, the louder it gets. I just know I am getting closer. I must keep going.

I keep tripping over things that do not exist and stopping for things that should not have been in my way; and it is such a whirlwind of emotions because I can’t cry because I am angry; and I am angry because I am looking for the drummer; and I cannot find it.

Not once did it miss a beat. This is the creator of the rhythm that developed inside me and now I am lost. How can that be?

Anyway, I am out of breath. Let me sit down.

The drummer is tirelessly playing the beautiful melody but I am too tired and out of breath to realize what is happening.

At times I think I am crazy because my desire is to use openness as bait to gain love; and that if I exert positive energy, nothing bad will ever come. And so I believe that if I move faster towards the sound of the drum I will find it and that would be enough for me to not think of this bullshit we call life.

But it is not enough.

I have wasted so much time trying to find something that was inside of me the whole entire time.

The drummer is my father and he plays the beautiful sound that radiates from my chest. He gave me life and continues to give me purpose.

I need to stop being so selfish and appreciate that the music he created will forever be heard inside of me and anything I create from this point forward.

All I have to do is listen.

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Wear a coat

We live in a day and age where a lot of things are culturally acceptable.

But you should never have to compromise your individuality.

When you think of how cold the people of this world are, your individuality comes into perspective.

Do you want to be that person who chooses to be the recycled goods of another shallow, needy human being?

Or would you rather not waste any energy in people, places, or things who contribute absolutely nothing to bringing out the best in you.

We cannot choose those in which we share a bloodline; which are some of the coldest human beings on this planet. You’d need a heavy coat for those cold shoulders and a shield to block the hatred, envy, deceit, lies, disloyalty, lack of sympathy and empathy, I can go on but I won’t because it would not matter because, no matter what, I still care.

And that is where I realize that they and I are only human.

I can forgive those who’ve wronged me. I can forget all the things that were done onto me.

However, even though I’m conscious of the fact that pain and hurt is temporary, the audacity of you to do such things to me, will forever change the dynamics of our relationships.

So no, we cannot sit and have tea, but If I see you in passing, I will say Hi and move forward.

Make sure you wear a coat. It’s a cold, cold world.

Outnumbered 

If you knew you were going to die, would you do things differently today?

Would you rather play mind games that make you think that you have enough time in a day to make 24 hours feel less like 1440 minutes? Either way, time won’t wait for you to figure it out because you lose time doing that as well.

You don’t have to understand what I’m saying. All I ask is that you feel what it feels like to feel feelings.

Your negative thoughts should never outnumber the grains of sand in the ocean. The same ocean you walk towards just to let your tears fall into the water, is the same one you could use to cleanse that which is your temple. Confusing isn’t it; but only if you lack intuitive perception.

How you perceive what I’m saying is how you’ll receive the message intended to distract you. In the two minutes it took you to read this, you’ve managed to forget all your worries and concentrate on the meaning of these words.

So I was thinking….If you knew you were going to die, would you do things differently today? Because guess what? We all are.

Emptiness inside 

All that is left is the skeleton. A sign of what was with no formal expression and no heart. If ever given the opportunity to trade life for death, I do not fathom why we cannot trade those who remain for those that are gone. I mean that with all due respect for those whom we deeply love and genuinely love us back; unlike all the others who care to be there for their own purpose, cause havoc and waste space and time in which we can never get back. But I would not hesitate to have a chance to trade all my time wasted on loving someone who could and would never reciprocate just to have another moment with the one whom loved me unconditionally and unendingly; brief as it may have been. 

Rest In Peace 

When we cut the lights off at night to lay to rest, we trust that the darkness will protect us and bring us peace to last though the morning sun. Never distrust your blindness to sit up and think about what could be or what would’ve been. Everyone deserves to have peace equal to the peace they bring onto others. Cast away your fears with your prayers. Close your eyes and allow yourself to drift away into sleep. Know that your mind gets tired too and because your brain guides your heart, never let a moment go by without understanding first that one will never work without the other. Love yourself enough to accept that things that rest and wake have another chance to make it right. If being alone in the dark is frightening, remember that some things need light to grow. So why are you depriving yourself from seeing the light of a brand new day?

Casualties of forced love 

So here we are. It’s time to say goodbye. These moments are hard to accept but our experiences have prepared us well in advance. The inevitable is the withdrawal you will process once you realize I was just making my rounds, passing through your life, trying to find a place to settle into. I was hit by a truck going 100 miles per hour, but I survived. I felt myself being shattered to pieces in so much pain. Time has hardened my emotions and I am picking up the pieces necessary to make myself whole again. So…why would I want to go back and put myself in a situation where I would get hit by a truck again, but this time, diminishing my being far from existence?

So thankful for you 

New beginnings are on the horizon. I could not see it coming because I was so blinded by the glare of the sun coming through the magnifying glass you held above me. But not anymore; because there is a bigger giant that won’t further allow you to burn me. I want to thank you for your wrongdoings. You’ve made me strong. You’ve made me better. You’ve served your purpose in my life. I am truly blessed.

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