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thinking about it, not doing it (was: Re: Stoicism in practice

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  • James W. Meritt
    ... rather poor ... trying ... in that ... Roger that. And since all I have to go on is DEEDS, what else is there? People lie and pose. Sad, but true. ...
    Message 1 of 119 , Sep 1, 2005
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      --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Keith Seddon" <K.H.S@b...> wrote:
      > Hello Jim,
      >
      > >>>I have a tendency to judge by deeds, not intentions. I am a
      rather poor
      > mind-reader.<<<
      >
      > You cannot judge by deeds. Whatever it is you see someone doing, or
      trying
      > to do, you cannot directly see their motives and intentions. One's
      > conjecture as to what motivated someone is one thing: being correct
      in that
      > conjecture is something else.

      Roger that. And since all I have to go on is DEEDS, what else is
      there? People lie and pose. Sad, but true.

      > Someone who tries to save the drowning person but fails is not less
      virtuous
      > or praiseworthy than the person who tries and succeeds. But if you
      judge by
      > deeds, you will have to say the person who succeeds is more
      virtuous than
      > the person who tries but fails. Virtue resides in the trying, not
      in the
      > trying and succeeding.


      Under those circumstances, I would use the their action and the
      results to evaluate their wisdom/judgement. I would not be qualified
      to judge their virtueness, and would not. Stupid, yes. Like in the
      movie: 'Stupid is as stupid does.' Virtuous, dunno.



      Jim
    • Malcolm Schosha
      ... .............................. Steve, Although this goes back to 4 Sept., I want to add a little more because it involves a point that I think is
      Message 119 of 119 , Sep 10, 2005
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        --- In stoics@yahoogroups.com, "Steve & Oxsana Marquis" <marquis@n...> wrote:
        >
        > Malcolm wrote:
        > Externals are, according to the Discipline of Action, something that a Stoic should care deeply about.
        >
        >Steve wrote: 
        > Caring, as in an 'emotional investment' type of caring?  About something outside one's control?  Malcolm, this is contrary to everything I know about Stoicism.  Maybe you can summarize the Discipline of Action and give me some references, but right now on the face of it this does not sound Stoic at all.
        >
         
        ..............................
         
         
        Steve,
         
        Although this goes back to 4 Sept., I want to add a little more because it involves a point that I think is important, and frequently misunderstood.
         
        The discipline of action does require that Stoics concern themselves with the common good. This inevitably involves externals which are not in our power, although perhaps not truly externals because all reasoning beings are considered limbs of the Universal Reason.
         
        As important as the exercise of indifference (a part of the discipline of desire) is, service to humanity is central to Stoic philosophy. Stoicism is not a philosophy of disengagement from life; but is rather a philosophy of engagement in life, and of service to humanity.
         
        See the two quotes below.
         
        Malcolm Schosha
         
         
         
        In a system comprising diverse elements, those which possess reason have the same part to play as the bodily limbs in an organism that is a unity; being similarly constituted for mutual cooperation. This reflection will impress you more forcibly if you constantly tell yourself, 'I am a "limb" (melos) of the whole complex of rational things.' If you think of yourself as a 'part' (meros) only, you have as yet no love from the heart for mankind, and no joy in the performance of acts of kindness for their own sake. You do them as a bare duty, and not yet as good offices to yourself.   Meditations, 7.13   Staniforth
         
         
        or Seneca, speaking of the Stoic school: 
         
        No school has more goodness and gentleness; none has more love for human beings, nor more attention to the common good. The goal which it assigns to us is to be useful, to help others, and to take care, not only of ourselves, but of everyone in general and of each one in particular.   On Clemency, 3.3  Hadot (in The Inner Citadel, p231)
         

         


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