Little Miss Perfect
Some people actually want to be good people. They deliberately bone up on being good and what it means to be good, do good, think good—and what is the basis of that goodness.
For many people who purposively search for personal goodness, they are going to discover something called VIRTUE.
The big problem with deliberately practicing the practice of virtue is that it goes against your basic reluctance to do anything that is hard to do.
WARNING! Becoming steady in being virtuous is really, really hard to do.
However, you do have some powerful allies in the journey to becoming virtuous.
One of these considerable allies is the FACT that you are chemically predisposed to behave in ways that seem like you are a good person…that you are being virtuous.
More about the chemistry of your behaviour later on. For now, please understand that there is a very specific biochemistry that STRONGLY influences your behaviour…actions and choices you make that could be described as being virtuous.
GRATITUDE IS A VIRTUE…REALLY?
This includes being genuinely grateful. Being grateful often makes the top ten list of virtues from most societies…past and present.
Okay, for just one moment…let’s pull back a bit from one virtue, and take in the entire list of virtues. How many virtues are there?
I’ve counted well over 100…and I made you a nicely organized alphabetical list.
The alphabetical list is buried deeper inside this article series.
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Mind you, a fair number of these 100+ virtues could be lumped in together—that some of them mean mostly the same thing or are covered somewhat by some of the other virtues.
LETS START OUR QUEST FOR VIRTUE WITH THE GREEKS
The Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato pushed these four character traits as the best and most desirable—Temperance, Wisdom, Justice, and Courage.
There are many, many more virtues than these four. But these four are often considered to be the fundamental foundation for all the other virtues.
This movement helped to force a number of strict prohibitions on the manufacture and sale of alcohol upon several nations. Perhaps the most famous of these was prohibition in the United States of America…from 1920 to 1933. Yes, the infamous Volstead Act.
Here is an interesting image that comes from 1846. This image promotes the awareness of the perils of drink: THE DRUNKARD’s PROGRESS
So what is temperance in the classic Greek style?SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temperance_(virtue)
Temperance is a voluntary set of deeds you perform in your daily life. It is your way of behaving as a general rule AND in the exception, too. It means that when you are provoked you stop yourself from retaliating by being non-violent in speech, tone of voice, body language, and so on.
It also means you are forgiving of other people, including yourself…and in the moment. That is a tall order.
THE next delicious delicacy of being temperance-sublime…is a hearty dose of humility and modesty. Thus is slain the formidable foe of arrogance. Being arrogant is fine…but you are going to find that you get taken up short by the vicissitudes of life when your lead trait is being a snot-nosed, superior, pushy dick-fuck, aka, arrogant.
Moving on…your temperance exerts calm and self-control over your fuming excess anger. Oh, by the way, this doesn’t mean you won’t feel like being mean, nasty, vile…or you won’t feel like screaming in someone’s stupid, poe face. Or punching the living crud right out of them. Or carbonating them to a crisp with a sudden, vanquishing white-hot flame of your righteous wrath.
And here is the last one ingredient of the dark-side of your wonderful self-control, restraint, disciplined response…your very and most crucial response to your hungry thirsts, yearnings, desires…AND that has to do with this word: CRAVINGS.
Yes, that which you crave can be perhaps the single greatest FORCE of feeling mixed inside the object of your desires. That is where something like alcohol can be such a source of suffering for so many people. It is because of the feeling of craving the alcohol. The sense of urging, burning, needful, must-have…CRAVING for a drink…just one drink, I promise…and then I will stop.
JUST one little drinkee—and that’s it.
All of these strong feelings are RESTRAINED by an act of will power, and that is what is contained within that silly, weak looking word that we know of as temperance.
First quality of wisdom is the ideal of transcendence. This capacity to go beyond is endowed with the enviable trait of perceiving directly that which most cannot notice. It is the story behind the story that is behind the story—and keep on going.
One way to get into the idea of what transcendence is like as a state of awareness…a steady state of being?
But what kind of being is it? Being thirsty? Being angry? A nice steady state of being pissed-off—that sounds very transcendental, doesn’t it.
Here is a term borrowed from the Tao te Ching: “Bigger than Big.”
Another conceptual styling taken right from The Way and the Power (Tao te Ching) is this gem: “That without substance can enter/dwell where there is no room.” (Aphorism 43.)
This is all super-fine-fantastic, but we are dwelling on the level of the intellect. This concept of being beyond…without the experience, and I mean the direct experience of transcendence…are just clever words floating on a mirage.
Getting wisdom includes a healthy dose of piercing the veil of illusion surrounding your awareness. This does mean having a non-intellectual experience of the source of your own awareness.
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That is the beginning of wisdom.
Here are some more bits and pieces that make up wisdom:
Becoming wise is demanding. It requires open-mindedness and fascinated curiosity. That can be quite tiring for many people.
It is tough to shove new insight into your brain. Learning isn’t always easy-breezy. It is so much easier to just click onto Netflix rather than click on a tutorial in Spanish.
Wisdom does require that keen edge of pushing past your own boredom and intolerance. It does mean questioning your own preconceived ideas about a good many things.
It will take you outside your comfort zone, too.
Wisdom also adds up to NOT always being happy. Becoming wise has a distinct smack of slogging through shitty stuff. Stuff that makes you NOT happy. Events and situations that reek of misery.
Yes, by far it is better to avoid the suffering which is yet to come. Good luck with that one. Remember how many times you’ve been told it would be wiser NOT to go ahead and do X, Y and Z? Yeah?
Real and lasting wisdom often comes with a serious price born of the inevitable dance between cause and effect.
Okay, this is all great, for sure…and thank you so much for the hot-tips. But what about a simple short-cut to the high-voltage zippy-zap of getting me some real-deal, “I can feel it,” WISDOM…can you do that for me?
Yes, I can.
And here it is.
Check out this chart, stir with your awareness of awareness, and dip your intellect regularly into anyone or all of these three simple get-wise-now solutions to your not being so very wise.
There is an old saying, “It is a great life if you don’t weaken.”
Like, can JUSTICE make you more money?
When you deal in being just with those you encounter, you are going to use the following seemingly very separate and distinctly different capacities. You will use them to the degree you have awareness of these capacities, and how subtle and synchronized they are within your consciousness.
However, the wisdom inside this revolves around how much depth you have in regard to this little list…this one, right here:
- LOGICAL, WELL ORDERED MINDSET.
- INTUITION, INNER KNOWING FED FROM YOUR GREAT UNCONSCIOUS.
- ABLE TO MEASURE SPIRITUAL CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTION/REACTIONS.
- CONSTRAINTS OF YOUR PHYSICAL WORLD.
- ABILITY TO BE IMPARTIAL. (Not so easy to pull off.)
The essence of justice pulsates with a vital organ called morality.
This is a very strange and dynamic (changing) living part of human consciousness. There has been a lot of thought invested into morality.
Introducing the Heinz Dilemma.
This has a lot to do with the base-line concept of justice and the underpinning of morals and morality.
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“…Have the courage of one’s convictions—to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism….”
Okay, great…BUT many people might add that COURAGE means taking action even though you are afraid to take action—COURAGE does include the presence of FEAR.
SHOOTING THE BOOTS ON SATURDAY NIGHT—BACK IN THE DAY
GREAT, SURE…BUT WHAT ABOUT, “NO FIGHT, NO BLAME?” DOESN’T THAT TAKE THE MOST COURAGE?
NEXT……Courage that does NOT include facing mortal peril—The OTHER SIDE of COURAGE.
But often that is the inference.
In fact, it often is the number one fear of many people—Public Speaking.
THE BIG CONCLUSION?
Why should you bother studying up on virtues and being deliberate about becoming MORE virtuous?
What is in it for you?
It is so much easier to be mean-spirited. Being nice means missing out. It means letting people in ahead of you. It means not grabbing the last item on the shelf. It means not making that train because you are not prepared to be aggressive and pushy. It means not getting ahead at work because you aren’t going to stick the knife in the back.
It is very convenient to look the other way when it comes to the conscious practice of any one of the dozens of virtues listed in this series.
It takes so much time to study virtue, right?
For example, take the virtue of gratitude — just the idea of being purposely grateful can seem like too much of a commitment.
AFTER ALL…Why bother?
It is just so much easier and more fun to pursue the next wasted moment.
Besides, being on the virtue patrol is hard fricking work, dude.
IT takes real soul-sweat to get a virtue spinning.
In the next article in this series we are going to go really deep inside the How-To part of your personal journey to being a good person…HOW TO GET YOUR VIRTUE ON!
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Yes, written by God.
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