Virtue & Character

Virtue & Character


Making Moral Choices on a Daily Basis

moral choices July 16th, 2018

Socrates is purported to have claimed at his trial (for which he received the death penalty), “Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul?” This blog is about considering the moral consequences of all you do in life, from (as Socrates pointed out) work to entertaining yourself to eating to voting. A few additional interesting and unique quotes about the consequences of our behavior and the moral choices we make will be presented.

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Roy Campanella’s Amazing Inspirational Quote

inspirational quote July 10th, 2018

I heard the following amazing story the other day while attending church with my wife. The priest shared it, and it felt like it was essentially a long inspirational quote. I came home and was able to find it online, and am happy I did! It tells the story of the amazing life of Roy Campanella, a Hall of Fame catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and fellow African-American player when Jackie Robinson played. Not only was his career remarkable, his spinal injury and the way he lived his life afterward were also deeply significant. He read a long inspirational quote on the wall of a rehab facility one day, and it floored him. In this blog, I share quite a bit of background about the buoyant, heralded player, human being, quadriplegic, and author Roy Campanella.

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Perfectionism, Mental Health, & Values

perfectionism July 9th, 2018

Perfectionism is essentially defined as an obsessive and unrealistic concern with being perfect, performing extraordinarily highly, consistently scoring ahead of the curve, and appearing above criticism to others. It’s living a life where one judges one’s actions with a magnifying glass, rarely satisfied with the performance. It can lead for performance anxiety and other “maladaptive” behaviors. It sucks, basically. It has a bit of a silver lining – one can turn out a great piece of writing, look friggin’ great, or really impress someone – but it’s a high price to pay. One perceives oneself as “missing” the bulls-eye twenty times for every hit. It’s sort of like living with a critical parent in your head. As I write this, not far from midnight, I am tired and barely able to accomplish the task, but I won’t go to bed, feeling like I am not trying hard enough, or not tough enough to hack it. In this blog, I explore perfectionism, and point out that it is related to values. 

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What Does “Moral Values” Mean?

moral values July 5th, 2018

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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Mental Illness is Also a Social Problem

July 3rd, 2018

I just watched a neat program, “The Face of Evil”, hosted by a journalist I like, Chris Cuomo. In the episode, he interviewed a notorious murderer he grew up fairly close to in New York, Jeremy Rifkin. About this horiffic form of mental illness, Cuomo said, “Cases like Rifkin’s have stuck with me, leaving me to question how such a thing could occur. What makes someone who looks and acts like the rest of us most of the time, suddenly turn into a monster?” I see the positive values of love, magnanimity, optimism, and honor, but am also fascinated by how things can go so awry in a human heart and mind. When suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in a society and gun violence is on the rise, there is a significant problem. In this blog, I want to examine mental illness, focusing especially on “social disease” such as sociopathy, suicide, and mass shootings.

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Will Durant Quotes About the Meaning of Life

quotes about the meaning of life June 30th, 2018

Will Durant was one of America’s greatest intellectuals. He lived from 1885 to 1981. In his long, varied, and distinguished career, he taught, wrote, earned a doctorate in philosophy, and came to know many of the most important and elusive truths. His interest in history was as salient than his love of philosophy, for he is best known for his book the massive, 11-volume set The Story of Civilization, his take on significant historical happenings and patterns (which he published with his lifelong interlocutor, his wife Ariel). They won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the work. Only slightly less remarkable was The Story of Philosophy, which detailed the lives and works of a dozen of the most impactful philosophers throughout history, such as Plato and Nietzsche. Durant was truly a remarkable man; we are so lucky he lived to the ripe old age he did, and that he was a philosopher, historian, teacher and writer – and not a banker or a tennis player or a gambler. This blog is about Will Durant’s quotes about the meaning of life from his superb book on the subject.

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Perseverance Quotes: Never Giving Up

perseverance June 20th, 2018

I was looking at this picture I took in downtown Charleston, SC. it’s an amazing crepe myrtle tree. As you can tell, it only had about a square foot in which to plant its base, and to get rain. What did it do over the last, probably, 50 years? It hung in there, kept on keepin’ on, and stuck with it. It persevered. It coped. It was strong and dedicated. We are much like trees; can we withstand the rigors of life? Deal with the hurricanes and pollution and cars that life entails? Check out these perseverance quotes for a little inspiration and insight. 

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Social Criticism and Unvarnished Truth

social criticism June 17th, 2018

I sometimes get a bit of pushback or disapproval from a friend who finds me to be too critical, perfectionistic, negative, and judgmental about politics, economics, and America in general. He tells me to relax, and de-focus, because a) life sucks when you are in a dark place, and b) America is and always has been mostly good. In other words, he is saying that yes, we have our problems here, but why dwell on those; there are so many positive and just and progressive and hopeful things about this country that could just as easily be considered. That’s fair enough, as far as it goes. This blog is about social criticism and the spirit of American political liberalism/progressivism. From the Vietnam War era “love it or leave it!” to culture warrior Ann Coulter’s belief that liberals are cowardly foolish traitors to America, the question is whether America is above reproach, or rightfully deserves a cold, hard look (as always, for the purposes of making this country better). My belief is not simply that “We are the best country in the world!” but rather We have more potential than any nation in history, so why are we so unimpressively selfish, ignorant, reckless, warlike, materialistic, distractible, misled, and tribal?

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Quotes About Living Life on Life’s Terms

living life on life's terms June 12th, 2018

As I noted in a previous blog about living life on life’s terms, one has to take a long, hard look at life and in the mirror and not blanch. One will find a high challenge there. “Life is a tragedy to those who think, and a comedy to those who feel,” noted French author La Bruyere long ago. But Drew D. Brown believed that “[y]ou don’t look in the mirror to see life; you’ve got to look out the window.” Thus, I wanted to follow up that first blog with this, a piece featuring quotes about “living life on life’s terms”. Enjoy this look at coping, self-realization, personal growth, inner strength, truth, insight, and realism.

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The Challenge of Living Life on Life’s Terms

life on life's terms June 7th, 2018

I was either born or molded into a perfectionist. I just wanted to put that out there. I also am, how should I say, not given to optimism. I do realize the power of an optimistic outlook. In fact, my stepfather is in his 80s and is known among friends and family as being able to ignore inconvenient truths and view the world through rose-colored glasses. Usually, I would look upon that with a certain disdain, as I studied psychological science and clinical practice, and took a number of classes at “the school of hard knocks,” if you will. This blog is about the challenge of optimism (for me at least).

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