Tag Archives: New Year’s Resolutions

Is this true?

14 Dec

“Virtue is the happy medium between two extremes.” La vertu est le juste milieu entre deux vices.

I read Aristotle’s advice in a post by an American woman living in France.  And it caught my attention.  At first blush, it seems ‘reasonable’.  Who wants to argue with avoiding extremes?

But then I thought, what if both the extremes are irrational?  Wouldn’t that indicate that all the points in between were as well? Would it follow that virtue be found half way between the two extremes?

For example:

Either you can spend all your time playing video games or you can spend all your time pursuing extreme sports.

Would Aristotle really advocate spending HALF one’s time amusing oneself with virtual reality and the other half with high-adventure?

Just a few moments of reflection provide evidence that life is BEST lived in reflecting deeply.  Unfortunately we are a rushing culture, one apparently content with oft-meaningless sound bytes.  A good number of people don’t take time to think and reason. Pondering takes leisure, curiosity and time.  Recall that the classical definition of leisure has little to do with ‘free time filled by activity’.  Instead it’s a “spiritual and mental attitude, a state of inward calm, contemplation, serenity and openness”

A new year is coming and if you are the resolution-making kind of logical Joe or Jane, how about challenging yourself to eliminate one extra-curricular activity in your week to make room for some guilt-free sitting and thinking. Your body and soul would certainly benefit and maybe your neighbor as well!

Logical Gal asks: Do you follow your heart? Do you trust your instincts?

10 Jan

What do you think?  do you agree with the premise advanced above?

Or how about this one:

My ‘gut instinct’ tells me to ask both authors of these truisms, “How do you know intuition or your heart won’t deceive you?”

I haven’t checked other world religions, but Christianity has us humans pegged! The prophet Jeremiah thundered, ”

Do you think Jeremiah trusted his heart?

Actually we have been given brains in order to think, to reason, to assess and to calculate.  Certainly we are to take our feelings into account.  But our mind should rule our feelings.

Acquiring some tools such as……

  • decision-making
  • making distinctions
  • techniques for defining terms
  • and the building blocks of a sound argument…….

can empower us and strengthen our confidence in our mind.

You’ve heard of arranged marriages, 2 strangers who start to correspond and as they get to know each other, they come to love each other.

This technique that builds positive feelings also works with inanimate objects. For example, I’ve experienced the phenomenon of going from feeling neutral about a subject to actually liking it JUST because I acquired knowledge about the topic.  The more one knows about something, the more the feelings fall into line.  We CAN influence our feelings by our acquired knowledge.

As a Christian, I have experienced this in my relationship with God.  How does one ‘love’ God? He’s invisible, immaterial and different from us.  What I’ve found is the more I learn about Him, the more my affections grow.

So, if you’re making some resolutions, this 2nd week of January, resolve NOT to oppose heart and mind, but to make your mind the master of your feelings.  Then you can start to trust your feelings more, but only if they are supporting reality, aka TRUTH.

And don’t fall for that old canard that juxtaposes supposed head knowledge against heart knowledge. Knowledge is knowledge and feelings are feelings.  Keep that distinction!

Question: What do you think about the possibility that when someone says,

  • I just followed my heart

They actually meant:

  • I just did what I actually WANTED to do, without considering whether is was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’