Virtues and the fruit thereof.
“Store up treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys or theft extorts and breaks; for where your treasure resides, there your heart partakes.”
Behold the diamantine flower depicted in the image above, the chord by which we are restored through love. Placed along the edges of this cardinal rose are virtues that blend together ever so gracefully. Their union feels as natural as the sun and sky, water and earth; the very elementary forces that sustain the world thro’ endless rebirth.
Even though we may immediately recognize the drawing as 2 dimensional in form, in potential it can open up into a multiform. For example, the four pointed star in the foreground can be the base or root of a tree that reaches up into heaven. In other words, imagine yourself directly underneath this tree looking up; from this lower vantage point it will be impossible to see with the naked eye the tree’s trunk reaching up into the sky. Continue reading
“Inconstancy is my very essence; it is the game I never cease to play as I turn my wheel in its ever changing circle, filled with joy as I bring the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top.” – Fortuna, The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.
What goes around comes around, and what goes up must come down. These two proverbs are one and the same, if you consider them in view of the Wheel of Fortune; a mythical representation of the natural ebb and flow of mankind’s journey through time. The first statement implies ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’, and the second statement refers to the recurring rise and fall in power and/or civilizations. Continue reading
“Who is she who looks out as the morning, beautiful as the moon, clear as the sun, and awesome as an army with banners?” – The Song of Songs 6:10
Philosophy has been my greatest consolation, friend and teacher in life. In the beginning she spoke to me through kindness. As a child thro’ reproof, a constant reminder to be good and kindly toward others, and during my emergence into adulthood, a natural blending of confidence & competence, courage & consideration, compassion & composure.
Now that my eyes have beheld her moon, she has become gentler still, graceful and rejuvenating. From the yoke of slavery she has pardoned me, allowing simplicity, moderation and self-control as the means to keep my will and intellect in check. Continue reading
“Men dig tons of earth to find a measly piece of gold.” – Heraclitus
An ounce of pure gold will land you about 2 thousand dollars here in Canada. Should you hire a private contractor to dig up your backyard for a swimming pool, then expect to pay a lot more than that; neither are you guaranteed to see a profit on your investment.
What the sage seems to be implying in his maxim above can be reduced to one word; namely, redundancy. That is to say people have a tendency to waste time and resources on things that provide nothing more than a splash, or rendered in the words of Socrates, ‘he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things.’
Posted in Philosophy
Tagged Arete, Autonomy, common good, Congruency, cooperation, Dignity, Diplomacy, Ethics, eudaimonia, Excellence, Heraclitus, Justice, Liberty, Mutual Benefit, personal development, Policy, Political, Progress, Socrates, Virtue, Welfare
“The character of those things you often think about will be the character of your understanding, for the mind is dyed by its thoughts.” – Marcus Aurelius
My photo above reveals an aspect of a naturally occurring form or what others might render as organic art. It is a piece of ice similar in size to the human brain. In it we see air pockets that appear to have been trying to reach the surface during solidification. This image happens to be an ideal analogy for the nature of thinking. Take this line of thought as demonstration:
Before the mind becomes frozen in time, our thoughts are potential in every paradigm. Dynamism allows for all kinds of life to form, yet when the heart no longer remains warm, by nature the element loses its norm. So this similitude perpetually sings, no matter the lens by which we make sense of things; in spite of science or how we come to cohere, we gradually lose our ability to remain fluid and clear. Continue reading
“Keep these nine points in your mind – take them as gifts from the Muses! – and begin at long last to be a human being, while life remains.” – Marcus Aurelius
Things have a way of embedding themselves into our psychology through repetition, in turn reinforcing our beliefs or biases about the world, so if we are not selective about the quality of thoughts we regularly contemplate, then we may find ourselves at odds with the way things are by nature, and acting contrary to our best interest.
This sort of mindset seems to play a part in Marcus Aurelius’ undertaking of chapter eighteen in book eleven of his Meditations. Here he lays down 9 approaches by which to subdue the attacks (including those which exist in potential and of his own imaginings) that may derail him from his ethical orientation and/or philosophy. Continue reading
“Our own worth is measured by what we devote our energy to.” – Marcus Aurelius
Representatives from all around the world powwow in order to address the major issues pertaining to Global Change but seated at the round table resides an individual without any pertinent expertise. How the guy actually landed himself there is anyone’s guess. His turn comes to speak on a particular topic and so he gabs on about something that has neither bearing nor relevance. As an invested member of this committee it would be rather difficult to respect this person for wasting precious time, resources and funds, as well as detracting from the objectives of the group.
The same can be said of one who starts forest fires or loudly passes wind during the exchange of wedding vows or punches a pedestrian in the face for failing to stop at a red light. Such actions merit disapproval and are quite frankly disrespectful by and large. Mind you there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to respecting our neighbour. Cultures foster different expressions of respect as families praise certain careers over and above that of others. Continue reading
Posted in Philosophy
Tagged Amiable, Amicable, Appreciation, Civil, Civility, Congenial, Considerate, Courtesy, Decency, Devotion, Diplomacy, Esteem, Honor, Honour, Propriety, Recognition, Regard, Respect, Respectability, Reverence, Sincerity, Thoughtfulness, Value, Virtue, Worth
‘Suffering is neither unendurable nor everlasting, if you keep its limits in mind and do not add to it through your own imagination.’ – Epicurus
Whether grieving loss or separation, or experiencing the tension of fatigue or anxiety, the reins of suffering are softened whenever we put things into perspective and remind ourselves that it’s going to pass. Whereas if we sternly plow through the day, and elbow everything in our way, we add fuel to our impassioned dismay, thus speedily turn the hair on our head into grey.
How many times have we encountered a situation and walked away from it feeling distraught or downhearted, but later realized that we were tired and/or agitated before entering the scene. Knowing the temperature of our emotional intensity before we enter into some kind of action can help us to better deal with whatever should come our may. Continue reading
“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
Hieronymus Bosch, a Medieval Dutch Painter, is renowned for his triptych oil painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. From a fantastic blue horizon he both graciously and uniformly brings the observer into a majestic enterprise that abruptly ends in a bosh of twisted imaginings. As your virtual curator, it will be my honor and pleasure to guide you through this work of art beginning with the beatific simplicities of life and ending in mindless debauchery.
Along the way (as you observe the video above) pay special attention to the objects that appear as ‘spheres’. Notice how they gradually dwindle into absurdity as the story unfolds through this artistic splendour of delights. This feature is by no means part and parcel to Bosch’s work but is more of an introspective exercise by which to elicit and make further connections into the psyche of one who intimately felt the pulse of the zeitgeist. And not just the pulse of a middle age, but that which stretches back to the beginning and onward to the end of times. Continue reading
“Wisdom purges our minds of illusion, giving them a substantive dignity while curtailing the sort of dignity that is all empty show.” – Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
Based on this quote one might gather that dignity allows for composure and the ability to act appropriately. It also infers that some kind of knowledge is required in order to sustain such a disposition. Seeing that the text is taken from Seneca’s moral letters, we may conclude that the wisdom he is referring to is grounded in virtue. However, it’s not my wish to play the scholar here, nor give dignity a dignified definition as such, but to shed some light on its nature.
So where in the world can we begin to make sense of what it means to possess human dignity? How about we begin by drawing upon an event from our past or we can create a new scenario. So you’re walking down the street when you notice two young lovers in a nasty fight. The boy is telling his girlfriend that she’s a slut for the way she behaved around his associates. She claims that she was only trying to be nice to his friends out of courtesy. He continues to belittle her while shouting to the top of his lungs. Continue reading