Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’
From Postmodern Conservative, this really good piece on Virtue. Excerpted here, but read the whole thing.
In a time of unprecedented abundance and freedom that’s largely the product of the modern, technological approach to the world, we do find it harder than ever to know who we are. And so we find it harder than ever to know what to do. But we’re still stuck with answering those questions to live well—or nobly and happily—with what we’ve been given. There’s little that’s more hellish than my being stuck with the perception of “pure possibility,” the perception that every door is open to me with no guidance at all concerning which one to choose. That’s the lesson, for example, of the novels of our physician-philosopher WALKER PERCY, not to mention the philosophic film GROUNDHOG DAY. The pure democracy imagined by Socrates or communism as imagined by Marx or the realm of techno-freedom imagined by our libertarians (all of which amount to the same thing) are all descriptions of the hell we have mistaken for heaven when we misunderstand who we are.
We, in our pride, don’t want the zoned-out contentment we imagine cows have. We want to remain alienated enough to appreciate Johnny Cash, without going through the hell of being Johnny Cash. We want to be artistic and sensitive as we can be while being, unlike John, cheerful and productive members of our high-tech society. And anyway, if our moods got too good, we would stop obsessing enough to fend off the real threats to our very being—like terrorists, asteroids, and such. The search for the perfect mood inevitably leads us to realize that the good stuff (like love and pride) depends on the hard or bad stuff (like worthwhile work and death), and once we achieved that sort of wisdom, it seems to us, we wouldn’t want our moods chemically altered after all.
“The hell we’ve mistaken for heaven when we misunderstand who we are.” Zoinks, that’s powerful. Not really sure if I agree or disagree with all of it, but the post is definitely one of the most thought-provoking and just-plain-ol-good things I’ve read on the internet in quite a while.