Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Soul and Virtue

Written 2-2-00 Philosophy 101 (Thought to dig up some of my old writings and post them. Enjoy.)

In our steadfast conditions of accelerated changes in technology, views on what is ethical and just have differed. We live in the new days of plastic surgery and the beginnings of a new minority, those who have not changed their physical appearance due to many reasons but one primary, unhappiness with self. This world bursting in the new century brings along with it a sense of liberalized, yet superficial ways of thinking.

This train of thought coincides with the philosophical subject on our "Soul and Virtue" which both are synchronized with one another. Today, tedious stupidity blinds us from seeing a person’s Soul, now days the superficiality within the structure of the new generation, society, media, television causes one to judge, look for, love some one based on physical appearance. Most people try and protest, they say they do not look for that in a person but most of us do, attraction is there and some of us become blinded by it. Democritus states many things that in my opinion holds so much truth, one in which he says ‘Physical beauty is merely animal unless intelligence is present.’ From personal experiences I have found that most men observe, stereotype and then pre-assume that I am void of intelligence or they realize that I am, yet do not care because appearance means more to them. That has never settled right with me. Again, I agree with another statement in which Democritus states ‘He who chooses the advantages of the soul chooses things more divine, but he who chooses those of the body, chooses things human.’ I think one of the biggest errors is that many tend to put the blame on the fact that they’re “just being human” when it is not that at all. 

Being human means having all the desires, wants, needs, cravings but being an individual is making all of our own decisions despite our desires, wants and needs. This brings up the issue of virtue. A fragmented statement from Democritus once again can express this ‘Violent desire for one thing blinds the soul to all others.’ He not only expresses how desire can hinder the soul, he also covers one’s virtue yet he further expresses his views on what he thinks is virtuous by saying to ‘Accept no pleasure unless it is beneficial.’ He also believed that loving and wanting beautiful things was not necessarily a horrid thing either by saying ‘Virtuous love consists in decorous desire for the beautiful.’ Because there really is nothing wrong with wanting to have beautiful things weather its material or a person just as long as the intentions are honest and true, not just loving the surface but more.

‘Virtue consists not in avoiding wrong-doing but having no wish thereto.’ And living a virtuous life is something I believe Democritus stressed. More and more we hear of so many horrible things happening all over with all the intent to do so. The high school shooting not to long ago, the woman who drowned her two little boys in her car, the murder of a black man being dragged behind a car and so much more happening every single day, too many unreported. It is within a person’s soul that lies his true intention, weather bad or good. Our soul, which is our being, our spirit, our ghost, our mind, our heart holds the right and wrong. ‘Happiness does not dwell in flocks of cattle or in gold. The soul is the dwelling-place of the (good and evil) genius.’ He further says ‘Happiness, like unhappiness is a property of the soul.’ And we could choose to either live a happy and virtuous life respecting people for their character’s and souls or choose to live a different road.  ‘Good breeding in cattle depends on physical health, but in men on a well-formed character.’

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