John Mc

This is a collection of my thoughts. Some of the thoughts that I once had, I no longer do. Some thoughts I have now I have never had. Yet none shal be discounted. This blog is soley for the enjoyment of the author and the readers. On occasion the views expressed are overly exagerated in order to prove a point. Also there may be a dirty word or thought in some of the posts. Grow up and take this for what it's worth - a blog that barely anyone will ever see.


Virtue Through The Two "R's."

My roommate, Rick, posted a blog on his MySpace account recently on the idea of "Virtues." I thought it would be interesting to share this with you as well as my response. To help you avoid Carpel Tunnel Syndrome with multiple clicking, I will provide them both for you in this post free of charge. (I've eliminated the middle man to bring the savings straight to you.)
Please let me know what your thoughts and/or opinions on the matters brought up are! (Yes, it is a bit lengthy, but a worthy read. It takes a while for Rick to get started, but give it a chance.)

Rick wrote:

virtue over vice

What are virtues? What does it mean to be virtuous? Why do we want to be virtuous? Should we be virtuous? What virtues should we have or improve on? Which virtues are most important? These are some of the questions I have been asking myself lately the definition of virtue is virtue is moral excellence of a person. A virtue is a character trait valued as being good. The conceptual opposite of virtue is vice. I found a list of virtues here. I had to look a few of them up, because I had no idea what they were. There are a lot of these "virtues" here that basically mean the same thing. Like kindness and mercy and compassion all have almost the same meaning.
We have all heard of "the four chief virtues" or the four theological virtues. These were virtues that philosophers and theologians came up with to further there points of beliefs. But are they YOUR four virtues. What four or six virtues do we need to have in our society today? Can we look at this list and identify most of these in our self's? Or some of these or none of them? Should we even try to have any of these virtues in ourselves? My answer is yes. A life without virtue is a wasted life. It is a life that puts us no higher than simple organisms with no thought for anything except survival. Now, I don't know anyone who might have all of these virtues here. Perhaps some saints might have had them, but it would have been so rare to find that. Nietzsche stated that 'when virtue has slept, it will arise all the more vigorous'. That means when we don't let a virtue come into our life, even if just for one decision, it "sleeps" But when we listen to that virtue, we really listen to it. It saddened and suppressed me to see how many of these list I don't have. Then it saddened me even more to see how many of the people I know, have even less, or not many at all. Is that due or caused by our society? By our upbringing? By our lack of faith? Or by evolution? Are virtues becoming obsolete?
I think our society is bringing on a lack of virtues or in other words an upswing in vice making virtues obsolete. Can we see half or this list in any of our leaders? In our president, mayor, our employers? I can't. And our leaders should have more than most. How about our friends? The people closest to us. Do we subconsciously look for friends who have virtues? Or do we just look for friends who make us feel good for the moment? I'm not saying that we all need to have every virtue working at every moment, that really is not possible in our society now. However we should look for friends who have at least some virtues working. Some like:Integrity, Beneovlence,Compassion,Honesty, Self-esteem, Temperance, Loyalty, Understanding, Critical thinking and Humor. To me, this is what I look for in my friends, and it's is always disappointing and heart breaking to see my friends not have these virtues, or at least ignore them at times. I try to have several more virtues going, at least I try as best as I can. I like to think that I have many, many more. I'll give a brief definition of these virtues, and why it's important for my friends to have these.
Integrity: Integrity is the basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. Depth of principles and adherence of each level to the next are key determining factors. One is said to have integrity to the extent that everything he does and believes is based on the same core set of values. What are we without principals? Are we nothing more than moving trees? This can get very deep, but I'll save this question for a different time.
Benevolence:benevolence characterizes the true goodness of the mind and spirit, the unbiased kindness to do good. It confers thought and regard for the welfare of other people, and finds expression in sympathy and kindly gentleness and compassion, with charitableness and kindness. It is the expression of agape love. I like this one a lot. It basically says love. Notice how love is not considered to be a virtue? Goodness of the mind and sprit and willingness to be kind. Don't we all need to be more benevolent? Wouldn't the world be a great place if we all had more benevolence? What would that world be like? I'd like to see it.
Compassion: Compassion is best described as an understanding of the emotional state of another; not to be confused with empathy. Compassion is often combined with a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another; to show special kindness to those who suffer. A desire to alleviate suffering, and to be aware of someone else's emotional state. As I guy, this can be tough. Not the part about lessening someone's suffering, but to be aware of other peoples (girls) emotional states? Also for me, I try not to show my emotional state, except for when I'm having fun. I admit I try to see girls emotional states, but I'm not very good at it. But I think we all should try a bit more.
Honesty:Honesty is the human quality of communicating and acting truthfully related to truth as a value. This includes listening, and any action in the human repertoire — as well as speaking We all know what honesty is, but are we always honest? No, no, no we are not. Should we? If we have integrity we should then always be honest. I'm not talking about a "little white lie" honest. Like if a girl asks "does this shirt make me look bad" If we say yes, then she might get sad, mad, or loose self confidence. If we say no, then it makes her happy, and perhaps gain self confidence. This was just an example. Being totally honest, might actually cause you to break a different virtue. This one can go round and round. But, should we be honest as much as we can be? Yes, yes, yes. Others will respect you if you are, and you will grow the more honest you are. Honestly :)
Self-esteem: Self-esteem reflects a persons overall self worth. Maslow described two kinds of esteem needs — the need for respect from others and the need for self-respect. Maslowian self-esteem entails competence, confidence, mastery, achievement, independence, and freedom. Respect from others entails recognition, acceptance, status, and appreciation. Without the fulfillment of these needs, Maslow suggests, an individual feels discouraged, weak and inferior. How many people do we know who has low self esteem? I know plenty. Low self esteem can come from many different things like, past trauma, bad parenting, being friends with people who don't respect you, putting too much stock in tests or lack of achievement. All kinds of things. Having low self esteem can take on many forms. From drugs, drinking to excess, to being a whore, to making fun of others, to ignoring people who care for you, to simply worrying too much on how you look, etc., low self esteem to me can be as fatal as any cancer. The easiest way to build self esteem is just to be around others who appreciate you and accept you for who you are. Once you do that, the rest will naturally follow.
Temperance:Temperance is the practice of moderation. Classically, temperance was defined as governing natural appetites for the pleasure of senses according to the bounds of reason. No virtue could be sustained in the face of inability to control oneself, if the virtue was opposed to some desire. This simply put means that you need to control yourself. It doesn't mean don't get drunk ever, but more like don't get sloppy, falling down drunk all the time. One can also think of it as don't get drunk and go home with everyone who says you should. Don't be a slut, or lush, or an addict, or go on running your mouth and being an ass.
Loyalty:Loyalty evolved as devotion for one's family, gene-group and friends. Loyalty comes most naturally amongst small groups or tribes where the prospect of the whole casting out the individual seems like the ultimate, unthinkable rejection. To me this can also be considered one's "clicks" or group of friends. Loyalty is devotion to your friends. What is devotion? It can be perceived as your willingness to be there for your group of friends. To be supportive, caring, loving, protecting, and increasing there self esteem. Can we say that we are loyal to our friends all the time? Should we be? Do our friends deserve our loyalty? To me the answer is yes, we must be loyal. fiercely loyal, if not, what kind of society will we have?
Understanding: Understanding is a psychological process related to an abstract or physical object, such as, person, situation, or message whereby one is able to think about it and use concepts to deal adequately with that object. Simply put...think about it! Think about your situation, or conversation or even a person or action. Think about what your doing.
Critical thinking: Critical thinking consists of mental processes of discernment, analyzing and evaluating. It includes all possible processes of reflecting upon a tangible or intangible item in order to form a solid judgment that reconciles scientific evidence with common sense. This is very close to understanding, but not just think about what your doing, but to use judgment and common sense. This one should be called common sense. I wish we all have plenty of common sense...but we don't
Humor: Humor is the ability or quality of people, objects, or situations to evoke feelings of amusement in other people. The term encompasses a form of entertainment or human communication which evokes such feelings, or which makes people laugh or feel happy. Who doesn't want this in a friend? I think it's one of the main things we look for in first meetings.
Now, which one is the most important? Who can say. I'm not writing this from a philosophical point of view, or a political point of view, but from a realist in today's society. I have been disgusted lately buy our lack of virtues. I'm not saying that we have an upswing of vice (the opposite of virtues), but just simply a lack of virtues. Not only in our society, but in my friends, and in myself. It really saddens me to see that in myself and in my friends. Hopefully for me, by typing this it will help me to become more virtues, and by you reading this, hopefully the same thing.
Here is the list of virtues I found.
..> ..>
  • acceptance
  • altruism
  • appreciation
  • assertiveness
  • autonomy
  • awareness
  • balance
  • being beautiful in spirit
  • benevolence
  • charity
  • chastity
  • cleanliness
  • commitment
  • compassion
  • confidence
  • consciousness
  • consideration
  • continence
  • cooperativeness
  • courage
  • courteousness
  • creativity
  • critical thinking
  • cunning
  • curiosity
  • dependability
  • detachment
  • determination
  • diligence
  • discipline
  • empathy
  • endurance
  • enthusiasm
  • excellence
  • fairness
  • faith
  • fidelity
  • flexibility
  • focus
  • foresight


  • fortitude
  • freedom
  • free will
  • friendliness
  • generosity
  • happiness
  • helpfulness
  • honesty
  • honour
  • hopefulness
  • hospitality
  • humility
  • humor
  • idealism
  • imagination
  • impartiality
  • independence
  • innocence
  • integrity
  • intuition
  • inventiveness
  • joy
  • justice
  • kindness
  • lovingness
  • loyalty
  • mercy
  • moderation
  • manners
  • modesty
  • morality
  • nonviolence
  • nurturing
  • obedience
  • openness
  • optimism
  • patience
  • peacefulness
  • perfection
  • perseverance
  • piety
  • potential
  • prudence
  • purity
  • purposefulness
  • respectfulness
  • responsibility

I responded:

For me, everything comes down to two "R's." Respect and Responsibility.
Respect stems from the self. If one has respect for themselves, then others will respect them. Also a healthy respect for others is necessary in a productive society. What does this mean? One must see themselves as more than just a being, but instead a human being. Someone with thoughts, opinions, feelings and meaning. Once a healthy amount of respect is given to one's self, then a productive and meaningful life may be lead.
For example, someone that entertains a one-night-stand has little to no respect for themselves or the person they are with. Their self-worth is demolished in order to enjoy the primal aspects of the being. This relating to the "lower life form" statements made above. In some of these cases last names are not even shared let alone enough about the person to make this experience meaningful at all. Instead it is a selfish pursuit for a night of pleasure and perhaps bragging rights. Is this what has been intended for our existence? There is no respect for one's self or the other person or persons involved.
It is difficult to imagine, but for a moment, picture a world where everyone waited until a meaningful relationship was built before sex occurred. A relationship such as marriage. Would there be many STD's? Would we have the debates over bio-ethics that we have today? I feel these are the most important debates in our modern world. However, they are over-shadowed by immigration, alternative fuels and healthcare in our national venues. Except in Aurora. However, I am falling off of topic.
A respect for one's self and others will create meaningful relationships with those we share our lives with. It will also decrease crimes against each other because it will eliminate selfishness which is the root of all evil. (Picture a crime without it. I feel that this is the source of all the negative aspects in our world - selfishness.) If we truly cared for each other and for ourselves the world would be a better place. However, it needs to be a healthy amount of respect. Too much in ourselves becomes vanity. Too much in others does not put ourselves on the same plain as the rest of the human race. It MUST be a healthy balance that could take some time to develop.
The second "R" is Responsibility. We must be responsible for our actions. The most important difference between an adult and a child is this. If we lead our lives without a degree of responsibility, we are not fulfilling what is being asked of us by society, God and our fellow man. Responsibility comes in many forms. We have Financial Responsibility, Sexual Responsibility, Social Norms and Taboo Responsibility, Character Responsibility and Religious Responsibility. Responsibility is making sure that we take care of our needs before wants. There is nothing wrong with entertaining our wants as long as our needs are met and that we don't violate our respect for ourselves or others.
Finally, you pose the question "where has the lack of virtue gone?" It seems that with each day our society promotes the wrong message over the right one. The right one is difficult to find. The truest sense of right comes from religion, in my opinion. But, how many people go to church? And not just once a year at Christmas or Easter because they feel guilty, but each week? How many people pray or put God and His Word first in their lives? Would we even need a list of virtues if this was done in everyday situations? The whole 'WWJD' fad has ended and left us with a world just as confused as before the fad began.
I am not saying I'm perfect. "Perfection can not be achieved by the human race, but this doesn't mean it can't be strived for." This striving is difficult. A life well lead is a daunting task. However, a year well lead is easier. A month or day is easier still. How about the next moment? That isn't that difficult. Then the next moment? Hey! We're on a roll!
Should each moment of our lives be filled with a healthy respect for ourselves and for others and should it also be filled with responsible actions that God has mapped out for us, then and only then will the solutions to the world's problems not seem as unobtainable. But, the solutions start with ourselves and branch out from there.
Good luck, friends. I'm counting on you, as you are on me.


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