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Re: capitalism vs. altruism

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  • epam371
    ... This is an interesting question; let me disclose that a) I am a newbie to this Stoa, and b) my political persuasion is libertarian. If one applies the
    Message 1 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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      > Is virtue altruistic or selfish?
      >
      > Live with honour,
      >
      > Keith

      This is an interesting question; let me disclose that a) I am a
      newbie to this Stoa, and b) my political persuasion is libertarian.

      If one applies the doctrine of the mean, then it would seem that
      extreme selfishness is as much a vice as extreme altruism ("self-
      sacrifice.") The virtue then would lie in the mean; what would that
      mean be like?

      I suspect that mama Ayn would be very displeased at this notion, but
      she's deadja know. (I hope that is not too harsh - I mean it
      playfully.)

      S Coppock
    • pdlanagan
      ... extremes. One cannot have too much virtue. Epictetus says as much in Chapter 1 of his handbook. Regards
      Message 2 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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        --- In stoics@y..., "epam371" <scopk@s...> wrote:

        >
        > If one applies the doctrine of the mean, then it would seem that
        > extreme selfishness is as much a vice as extreme altruism ("self-
        > sacrifice.") The virtue then would lie in the mean; what would that
        > mean be like?
        >
        > I don't think virtue can be positioned at the mean between two
        extremes. One cannot have too much virtue. Epictetus says as much in
        Chapter 1 of his handbook.

        Regards
      • R&F Bamford
        I disagree. As a fan of Aristotle s Golden Mean rule, I think Virtue and the mean point between extremes are not only compatible, but necessarily so. This
        Message 3 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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          I disagree. As a fan of Aristotle's Golden Mean rule, I think Virtue and
          the mean point between extremes are not only compatible, but necessarily so.
          This does not imply that Virtue itself is a mean, but that the individual
          components that make up Virtue are usually means in their own categories.
          But this may only be a matter of semantics.

          LWH,
          -Rick Bamford


          -----Original Message-----
          From: pdlanagan [mailto:pdlanagan@...]
          Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 7:41 PM
          To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [stoics] Re: capitalism vs. altruism


          --- In stoics@y..., "epam371" <scopk@s...> wrote:

          >
          > If one applies the doctrine of the mean, then it would seem that
          > extreme selfishness is as much a vice as extreme altruism ("self-
          > sacrifice.") The virtue then would lie in the mean; what would that
          > mean be like?
          >
          > I don't think virtue can be positioned at the mean between two
          extremes. One cannot have too much virtue. Epictetus says as much in
          Chapter 1 of his handbook.

          Regards



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        • charlesbricebroadway
          I agree with pdlanagan. You can never have too much virtue. I think Aristotle s Mean is a product of his erroneous idea that the indifferents are actually
          Message 4 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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            I agree with pdlanagan. You can never have too much virtue.

            I think Aristotle's Mean is a product of his erroneous idea that the
            indifferents are actually goods. The good life is dependent on the
            greatest number of "goods." Therefore, one must strive for balance in
            order to attain a greater average of goods.

            I think the Aristotelian view is the conventional wisdom of our day.
            For instance, someone asked me yesterday if I watched baseball games.
            I told him that I did not. He wanted to know why, and I told him that
            it was because I did not own a TV. He was aghast and proceeded to
            lecture me on why I was clearly out of my gourd. In short, television
            ownership and viewership has become a moral obligation for the sake
            of balance. Since I was clearly unbalanced, I was in the wrong. Of
            course, if I watched eight hours of TV per day, I would probably get
            another scolding though if this were to become the national average I
            might hear nothing of it.

            I just have a difficult time in seeing the wisdom of this.

            LWH,
            CBB

            --- In stoics@y..., "R&F Bamford" <bamford@b...> wrote:
            > I disagree. As a fan of Aristotle's Golden Mean rule, I think
            Virtue and
            > the mean point between extremes are not only compatible, but
            necessarily so.
            > This does not imply that Virtue itself is a mean, but that the
            individual
            > components that make up Virtue are usually means in their own
            categories.
            > But this may only be a matter of semantics.
            >
            > LWH,
            > -Rick Bamford
            >
            >
            > -----Original Message-----
            > From: pdlanagan [mailto:pdlanagan@y...]
            > Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 7:41 PM
            > To: stoics@y...
            > Subject: [stoics] Re: capitalism vs. altruism
            >
            >
            > --- In stoics@y..., "epam371" <scopk@s...> wrote:
            >
            > >
            > > If one applies the doctrine of the mean, then it would seem that
            > > extreme selfishness is as much a vice as extreme altruism ("self-
            > > sacrifice.") The virtue then would lie in the mean; what would
            that
            > > mean be like?
            > >
            > > I don't think virtue can be positioned at the mean between two
            > extremes. One cannot have too much virtue. Epictetus says as much in
            > Chapter 1 of his handbook.
            >
            > Regards
            >
            >
            >
            > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
            > stoics-unsubscribe@y...
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
            http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          • R&F Bamford
            I agree you cannot have too much virtue, but since I see virtue as the sum of all means, our viewpoints on this matter are not incompatible. Perhaps my view
            Message 5 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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              I agree you cannot have too much virtue, but since I see virtue as the sum
              of all means, our viewpoints on this matter are not incompatible. Perhaps
              my view of virtue and the Stoic view of virtue is incompatible.

              I am becoming less and less convinced that I am a true Stoic. Although I
              admire some of its tenets, it seems overall too absolute, too ascetic, too
              idealistic and too unrealistic for the average human being to live by its
              ways honestly. Similar to extreme religious lifestyles, it makes demands
              and calls for sacrifices that few humans would be willing to endure. It is
              a good fit some people, such as Charles and perhaps others on this list, who
              desire a certain fixed framework to live by. But to me, it seems much like
              a harsh, fundamentalist religion, only without a personified anthropomorphic
              godhead, because it denies the simple pleasures of life for a intractable
              pursuit of some idealistic, absolute good. The stone-faced stoic sage
              points a finger at virtue, just as the fire and brimstone preacher points a
              finger at the bible. Both go to an extreme that Aristotle warned about.
              When most people try (or are forced) to live by such extreme standards,
              whether religious or philosophical, the result is often hypocrisy.

              I think it's okay to watch TV now and then. You don't have to, of course,
              but it's not all trash and shouldn't be condemned wholesale. To do so is
              like condemning a entire race or ethnic group based on the actions of a few
              of its members. I think it's okay tell jokes, as long as they aren't racist
              or offensive to your audience. It's okay to feel joy when a child is born,
              or sorrow when someone dies, as long as you don't let it consume you. That
              is just another extreme to be avoided. It's okay to sleep late now and
              then, or make a detour to smell the flowers, as long as you don't
              inconvenience others. It's okay to enjoy life, and realistically it is the
              little pleasures that make life enjoyable for most people. Many religions
              and philosophies deny these simple pleasures. They make things more
              complicated than they need to be, with all sorts of artificial and austere
              rules contrived to reach some absolute ideal. The superego run amuck. All
              we need to do is live in peace and be kind to others. Give a little more to
              the world than we take from it, and it will be a better place for all.
              Otherwise, if it causes no harm, do as you will.

              -Rick

              -----Original Message-----
              From: charlesbricebroadway [mailto:charlesbricebroadway@...]
              Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 10:25 PM
              To: stoics@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [stoics] Re: capitalism vs. altruism


              I agree with pdlanagan. You can never have too much virtue.

              I think Aristotle's Mean is a product of his erroneous idea that the
              indifferents are actually goods. The good life is dependent on the
              greatest number of "goods." Therefore, one must strive for balance in
              order to attain a greater average of goods.

              I think the Aristotelian view is the conventional wisdom of our day.
              For instance, someone asked me yesterday if I watched baseball games.
              I told him that I did not. He wanted to know why, and I told him that
              it was because I did not own a TV. He was aghast and proceeded to
              lecture me on why I was clearly out of my gourd. In short, television
              ownership and viewership has become a moral obligation for the sake
              of balance. Since I was clearly unbalanced, I was in the wrong. Of
              course, if I watched eight hours of TV per day, I would probably get
              another scolding though if this were to become the national average I
              might hear nothing of it.

              I just have a difficult time in seeing the wisdom of this.

              LWH,
              CBB

              --- In stoics@y..., "R&F Bamford" <bamford@b...> wrote:
              > I disagree. As a fan of Aristotle's Golden Mean rule, I think
              Virtue and
              > the mean point between extremes are not only compatible, but
              necessarily so.
              > This does not imply that Virtue itself is a mean, but that the
              individual
              > components that make up Virtue are usually means in their own
              categories.
              > But this may only be a matter of semantics.
              >
              > LWH,
              > -Rick Bamford
              >
              >
              > -----Original Message-----
              > From: pdlanagan [mailto:pdlanagan@y...]
              > Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 7:41 PM
              > To: stoics@y...
              > Subject: [stoics] Re: capitalism vs. altruism
              >
              >
              > --- In stoics@y..., "epam371" <scopk@s...> wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > If one applies the doctrine of the mean, then it would seem that
              > > extreme selfishness is as much a vice as extreme altruism ("self-
              > > sacrifice.") The virtue then would lie in the mean; what would
              that
              > > mean be like?
              > >
              > > I don't think virtue can be positioned at the mean between two
              > extremes. One cannot have too much virtue. Epictetus says as much in
              > Chapter 1 of his handbook.
              >
              > Regards
              >
              >
              >
              > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              > stoics-unsubscribe@y...
              >
              > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
              http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/



              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              stoics-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

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            • charlesbricebroadway
              Mr. Bamford, It is not my aim to deter you from the Stoic life. I will not say that it is easy since it is not. But the denial of luxuries is definitely not
              Message 6 of 10 , Jun 1, 2002
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                Mr. Bamford,

                It is not my aim to deter you from the Stoic life. I will not say
                that it is easy since it is not. But the denial of luxuries is
                definitely not the hardest part of it.

                What you are really arguing against is Cynicism. I see Cynicism as
                being "extreme" because I see no point in embracing ascetic practices
                simply because one can. These things are indifferent. They are simply
                meaningless.

                It may help you if I list some of my preferred indifferents:

                -Pepsi/Coke/Dr. Pepper

                -Roasted chicken sandwiches from Subway

                -Veggie feast pizzas from Domino's

                -The music of Brian Eno

                -NPR's "All Things Considered"

                -The Washington Post and the New York Times

                -Outside magazine

                Now, let's say you never listened to Brian Eno or was able to get NPR
                in your area of the country. If I said your life was one of
                unedurable hardship, would I be correct? Probably not. Yet, when we
                see others deprived of the things we hold dear, we imagine their
                lives to be absolute agony. This is why the West condescends so much
                to the underdeveloped world. The agony of their lives is not that
                they live in huts or have to till the fields. Much of their pain is
                very basic. They have inadequate nutrition and healthcare, but they
                are otherwise quite happy in the conventional sense. Ironically, many
                in underdeveloped nations do not have indoor plumbing or a flush
                toilet, but you will see a TV set in even the poorest hovel.

                In the end, it's really all in your head. We equate pleasures with
                being good when they are merely pleasures. I do not consider my way
                of living to be drastic at all. If you fasted, practiced celibacy,
                wore a hairshirt, and took a vow of poverty, you were considered an
                ascetic and probably a saint. Nowadays, you are considered an ascetic
                if you only have basic cable and set the thermostat to 79 degrees.
                But as Seneca wrote, "Unimpaired prosperity cannot endure a single
                blow."

                I don't know how else to put this. It's only television. What is the
                pain in not having the opportunity to watch the Brady Bunch in
                endless reruns? To me, it would be torture having to endure that.

                To me, TV is a good nap that was wasted. For others, its loss is
                catastrophic. I suspect Osama Bin Laden would have exacted a greater
                toll if he had attacked Time Warner, News Corp., etc.

                Virtue and asceticism are not the same much as practice and
                competition are not the same. Nevertheless, they go together like
                peanut butter and jelly.

                LWH,
                CBB

                --- In stoics@y..., "R&F Bamford" <bamford@b...> wrote:
                > I agree you cannot have too much virtue, but since I see virtue as
                the sum
                > of all means, our viewpoints on this matter are not incompatible.
                Perhaps
                > my view of virtue and the Stoic view of virtue is incompatible.
                >
                > I am becoming less and less convinced that I am a true Stoic.
                Although I
                > admire some of its tenets, it seems overall too absolute, too
                ascetic, too
                > idealistic and too unrealistic for the average human being to live
                by its
                > ways honestly. Similar to extreme religious lifestyles, it makes
                demands
                > and calls for sacrifices that few humans would be willing to
                endure. It is
                > a good fit some people, such as Charles and perhaps others on this
                list, who
                > desire a certain fixed framework to live by. But to me, it seems
                much like
                > a harsh, fundamentalist religion, only without a personified
                anthropomorphic
                > godhead, because it denies the simple pleasures of life for a
                intractable
                > pursuit of some idealistic, absolute good. The stone-faced stoic
                sage
                > points a finger at virtue, just as the fire and brimstone preacher
                points a
                > finger at the bible. Both go to an extreme that Aristotle warned
                about.
                > When most people try (or are forced) to live by such extreme
                standards,
                > whether religious or philosophical, the result is often hypocrisy.
                >
                > I think it's okay to watch TV now and then. You don't have to, of
                course,
                > but it's not all trash and shouldn't be condemned wholesale. To do
                so is
                > like condemning a entire race or ethnic group based on the actions
                of a few
                > of its members. I think it's okay tell jokes, as long as they
                aren't racist
                > or offensive to your audience. It's okay to feel joy when a child
                is born,
                > or sorrow when someone dies, as long as you don't let it consume
                you. That
                > is just another extreme to be avoided. It's okay to sleep late now
                and
                > then, or make a detour to smell the flowers, as long as you don't
                > inconvenience others. It's okay to enjoy life, and realistically
                it is the
                > little pleasures that make life enjoyable for most people. Many
                religions
                > and philosophies deny these simple pleasures. They make things more
                > complicated than they need to be, with all sorts of artificial and
                austere
                > rules contrived to reach some absolute ideal. The superego run
                amuck. All
                > we need to do is live in peace and be kind to others. Give a
                little more to
                > the world than we take from it, and it will be a better place for
                all.
                > Otherwise, if it causes no harm, do as you will.
                >
                > -Rick
                >
                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: charlesbricebroadway [mailto:charlesbricebroadway@y...]
                > Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 10:25 PM
                > To: stoics@y...
                > Subject: [stoics] Re: capitalism vs. altruism
                >
                >
                > I agree with pdlanagan. You can never have too much virtue.
                >
                > I think Aristotle's Mean is a product of his erroneous idea that the
                > indifferents are actually goods. The good life is dependent on the
                > greatest number of "goods." Therefore, one must strive for balance
                in
                > order to attain a greater average of goods.
                >
                > I think the Aristotelian view is the conventional wisdom of our day.
                > For instance, someone asked me yesterday if I watched baseball
                games.
                > I told him that I did not. He wanted to know why, and I told him
                that
                > it was because I did not own a TV. He was aghast and proceeded to
                > lecture me on why I was clearly out of my gourd. In short,
                television
                > ownership and viewership has become a moral obligation for the sake
                > of balance. Since I was clearly unbalanced, I was in the wrong. Of
                > course, if I watched eight hours of TV per day, I would probably get
                > another scolding though if this were to become the national average
                I
                > might hear nothing of it.
                >
                > I just have a difficult time in seeing the wisdom of this.
                >
                > LWH,
                > CBB
                >
                > --- In stoics@y..., "R&F Bamford" <bamford@b...> wrote:
                > > I disagree. As a fan of Aristotle's Golden Mean rule, I think
                > Virtue and
                > > the mean point between extremes are not only compatible, but
                > necessarily so.
                > > This does not imply that Virtue itself is a mean, but that the
                > individual
                > > components that make up Virtue are usually means in their own
                > categories.
                > > But this may only be a matter of semantics.
                > >
                > > LWH,
                > > -Rick Bamford
                > >
                > >
                > > -----Original Message-----
                > > From: pdlanagan [mailto:pdlanagan@y...]
                > > Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2002 7:41 PM
                > > To: stoics@y...
                > > Subject: [stoics] Re: capitalism vs. altruism
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In stoics@y..., "epam371" <scopk@s...> wrote:
                > >
                > > >
                > > > If one applies the doctrine of the mean, then it would seem that
                > > > extreme selfishness is as much a vice as extreme altruism
                ("self-
                > > > sacrifice.") The virtue then would lie in the mean; what would
                > that
                > > > mean be like?
                > > >
                > > > I don't think virtue can be positioned at the mean between two
                > > extremes. One cannot have too much virtue. Epictetus says as much
                in
                > > Chapter 1 of his handbook.
                > >
                > > Regards
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > > stoics-unsubscribe@y...
                > >
                > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                >
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > stoics-unsubscribe@y...
                >
                > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
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