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Beware of Virtues

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Nakosis, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    I generally like Alan Watts but I understand he is not for everyone.
    If you are interested/have time, I found this video to be in sync with my views.

     
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  2. ADigitalArtist

    ADigitalArtist Well-Known Member
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    I do like Alan Watts. Not a huge fan of Stoicism as it's used today because it tends to be fueled, not by reasonable detachment and objective thinking, but by apathy and low empathy. The comments on that video is full of complaints about 'virtue signalers' which are out to expand their tribe and look good. But that very sentiment being expressed *is* virtue signaling. A judgement about the values being expressed by others being inferior to your own.

    There needs to be a happy middle between raising awareness on issues with good social value and lambasting with personal judgements which adds a sort of social fatigue to new changes. And some self-reflection on where the desire for expanding change is coming from, and who it's benefiting, and why. But insulting people's passion is, imo, not the way to go about any of that.
     
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  3. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    To beware virtue is a provocative idea.
    Trickery! Trickery! Trickery!
    It's really about bewaring solutions to problems, both
    of which are inadequately considered. This is a theme
    of the podcast, Freakonomics. I highly recommend it.
     
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  4. Ray Warren

    Ray Warren They/Them

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    That was nice. I quite enjoyed it very thought provoking.
     
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  5. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    That one's a keeper. Thanks, @Nakosis!

    Beyond enjoying Watts' speaking skills, which are considerable and much on display here, I noticed so little that was inaccurate in his speech as to make me come close to actually regretting my decision to spend my university years sleeping in class so I would be fresh and awake to spend my evenings watching strippers and drinking. I wouldn't come even close to being surprised if Watts's speech a hundred years from now could still be called "timeless".

    The only "problem" with it that I can at the moment come up with that is true is that almost all of the ideas he mentions can be found in common circulation in this or that field of knowledge or group of people. In other words, some of us might dismiss his speech as "unoriginal". But is that really a bad thing? Up to each individual to decide that one. Dang sad day for my heart, though, when I can't find something better than that to be snarky about.

    I am as certain as I can be of anything, though, that were Watts' speech made mandatory listening by some authority, then among the things that would come from that is a whole lot of listeners would start denouncing each other on the grounds that 'some folks' failed to grasp and live up to these truths that denouncing 'some folks' for not living up to these truths can have unintended consequences more than it was proper and admirable to fail to live up to these truths. I can see a sizeable portion of a whole nation or world going at each other like that might have some unintended consequences itself. Most likely including a mix of desirable and undesirable ones.

    As for myself, if anything like that were to actually happen, I'd be inclined to feeling it was a refreshing distraction and change from being housebound these days due to the pandemic and thus insufferably reduced to more often than is healthy for anyone reading my own posts on RF.
     
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  6. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    I tend to internalize it. Meaning I judge it against my actions, speech. I look at myself but maybe it is missing the point if we are trying to use these ideas to make a judgement of others.
     
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  7. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    What resonated with me is the idea that I really don't know how to fix myself. Lots of available ideas of self-improvement. Maybe they will work or maybe you are just exchanging one set of problems for another.

    And, if we lack the knowledge to perfect ourselves, what makes a person feel they need to go about telling others all of the things they need to fix.
     
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  8. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest I have the kavorka
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    I don't need perfection (fortunately).
    Some overall improvement over the years is good enuf.
     
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  9. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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  10. Wandering Monk

    Wandering Monk Well-Known Member

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  11. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    It seems to be somewhat of a theme lately to profess one's ignorance and, of course, immediately expand that to everybody else.
    That should make the Agnostic in me happy, I guess. After all, that's our motto: "I don't know - and neither do you."
    But when I hear it from others, I feel uncomfortable and, as in the case of Mr. Watts, misunderstood. It's not that we know nothing. Or that not knowing is a preferable state. Agnosticism is withholding judgement if something is unknown, it is sceptically evaluating, if, what we seem to know, is really justified true belief.
    What Agnosticism is not, is fatalism. It's not that we don't know anything and it's not that we can't know anything or shouldn't try to know something. It is not moral ambiguity which can be used to excuse bad behaviour. It is not nihilism that dismisses all virtues.
    "I don't know" is not a call to accept ignorance, it is a call to "let's find out!". Not knowing in which way to improve is not a fate, it is a caution before too much optimism. We don't know if things get better when they change - but they have to change to get better.
     
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