Virtue & Character

Virtue & Character


Wisdom is About Love, Kindness, Altruism & Generosity

wisdom is about love June 1st, 2022

In this blog, I will share some snippets from Chapter One of my new book, Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought (March, 2022). The thesis is that wisdom is about love, kindness, altruism & generosity. These are some of the highest levels of human development, psychological sophistication, and societal progress. So, it is fitting that the first chapter in the book is about these beautiful values and virtues.

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Quotes About Existentialism and Meaning

meaning May 25th, 2022

Meaning, existence, fulfillment, passion, and insight are values and virtues that cohere in some way. They are all relevant to existentialism, a philosophical doctrine that examines man’s existence, state, and nature. Mostly it’s not cheery stuff, but truth and reality often are not. In this blog, I share many of the quotes about meaning that I particularly like, as well as existentialism, living well, freedom, and choice. As you can tell by this first quotation by 19th-century German existentialist Arthur Schopenhauer, this is not a simple or reassuring topic: 

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What Does “Moral Values” Mean?

moral values May 23rd, 2022

Values is a neutral term; one could value relaxation, competition, humor, sexual conquest, helping others, or swindling them successfully (subterfuge and personal gain). It means what it sounds like it means – a value is something which a person holds in high regard, pursues, and even loves. Values tend to include hallmark ones such as truth, justice, humility, goodness, and kindness. In this blog, I explore the idea of moral values, asking what the term means, which values probably qualify as moral values, and how one implements them in one’s life.

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Pithy Quotes by Unitarian Universalists

Unitarian Universalist philosophy May 20th, 2022

I have been looking more and more into the religious/spiritual movement of Unitarian/Universalism. Not sure if you’ve heard much about it. It’s in the category of agnosticism, spirituality, deism, and pantheism as far as being a reasonable, admirable, defensible, humanistic approach to personal growth and community enrichment. I wanted to share a bit about the philosophy (I think that is a decent word to describe this thing – more apt than “religion” or “sect” or something. Perhaps “tradition” or “movement” would be fine, too. To that end, I will quote liberally from the Unitarian Universalist Association website and then I will share a few quotations from prominent (even, famous) U-U thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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Compassion is an Important Aspect of Wisdom

compassion May 3rd, 2022

In my new book  Wisdom: A Very Valuable Virtue That Cannot Be Bought, compassion plays a major role. In fact, Chapter Four is titled “The Wise Perceive the World with Empathy and Compassion.” This blog is dedicated to describing why I believe compassion is related to wisdom, why that matters, and how we can gain a bit more appreciation for these allied virtues.

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Books About Wisdom, Values & Virtues

books about wisdom April 29th, 2022

Can wisdom be understood, developed, and improved?

Does wisdom really underlie success, fulfillment, and happiness?

What are the characteristics and skills of wise individuals?

Can one be happier and more fulfilled by “loving wisdom”?

Should books about wisdom ideally be secular, or religious in nature?

What do I need to know to successfully put wisdom to use in my everyday life?

Four-time author and philosophical thinker Jason Merchey answers these and many other important questions in his 2022 book, Wisdom

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Acting Morally is About Deliberation & Practice

acting morally April 23rd, 2022

For this piece, I looked back on one of the most significant, horrific, appalling cases of child molestation and cover-up by the Catholic Church. Grand jurors in Pennsylvania found that over seven decades 300 priests molested over 1,000 children. This is just beyond the pale. This is not a blog about the ineptitude or depravity of the Church of Rome, though. It is about making moral decisions, dealing with moral dilemmas, and acting morally when one faces a choice in the moral realm. In a word, What is the right thing to do?

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Examples of “Might Makes Right” & Other Moral Theories

April 9th, 2022

It took me a while to watch the movie Sicario, and I was impressed. It’s suspenseful and such, but it also highlights ways that the characters (and people in general) make decisions about right and wrong, moral conduct, and ethical behavior: what are called moral theories. They are also known as ethical theories. In this blog, I look at various moral theories vis-a-vis characters in movies and literature, as well as politics, religion, and so on. The goal is to shed a little light on how we make moral decisions and what folks do when faced with ethical dilemmas and other challenges to their moral values.

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The Enlightenment Luminary Voltaire on Ancient Philosophy

ancient philosophy April 2nd, 2022

I have spent nearly forty years of my pilgrimage in two or three corners of this world seeking the philosopher’s stone that is called Truth.” With those interesting words, Voltaire, the 18th-century writer, skeptic, and iconoclast begins an interesting essay about ancient philosophers. It is actually the submission to The Philosophical Dictionary, a project of tremendous importance to the Enlightenment, and it is entitled “Precis of Ancient Philosophy.” Alongside Denis Diderot’s and Jean d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia, published starting in 1751, France was churning out some incredible works of Enlightenment nonfiction. Considering this was during the reign of King Louis the whatever and Pope whomever, the use of the pen was actually dangerous business. We should all take our hats off to these men of great courage and vision. And be happy Switzerland existed.

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Ten of History’s Greatest Thinkers

greatest thinkers March 26th, 2022

Perhaps you know of the eminent historian, writer, and psychologist/philosopher/anthropologist all rolled into one, Will Durant. He died in the late twentieth century, but was truly a man of letters and a wonderful writer. I found a neat little book, compiled after his death by John Little. It is a compilation of his writings that involved rankings of merit. The first real chapter in the book is “The Ten Greatest Thinkers,” though the two men put greatest in quotation marks, as I suppose they should, since great is really a subjective term. My intention in this blog is to share which ten men (yes, they are all men) he thinks shine the brightest among history’s renowned philosophers and scientists, and include a quote of each.

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