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Virtuism: Philosophy and the Aesthetics of Virtue

by R.S. Pearson


Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Pearson, Robert Scott.
Virtuism : philosophy and the aesthetics of virtue / Pearson, R. S.
Type of Material: Text (Book, Microform, Electronic, LC Control Number: 2005930056 etc.)
1st edition.
Seattle, WA : Telical Books, 2005.

 

Telical Books

Copyright 1984-2005 R.S. Pearson All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 0-9748139-1-5

 

Acknowledgments

 

Preface

Virtuism is about the aesthetics of human virtue, how virtuous deeds produce in us the same experience as great works of art. Witnessing or creating a virtuous act produces the aesthetic experience. This is a discovery in aesthetics that explains the power of many works of art and has implications in philosophy. Virtuism is the application of some of the laws of philosophy to the idea of human virtue, and has other philosophical implications such as understanding the artist's role in society, and how he or she can positively or negatively affect culture.

One: What is Virtuism

The idea of gratitude coming back to oneself from others who one has helped is a type of metaphysical system that is important in Virtuism. Does a person want to live a life in which people are grateful that they have lived, or one in which people have anger at that person for the life that he or she has lived? In doing things that make others grateful towards oneself, one creates a type of energy. One might argue that these energies somehow come back to a person at one time or another. If one believes that they come back to one in this life, to create these gratitude-producing acts is a type of proving the validity of a metaphysical system. One can do these virtuous acts to animals as they are easy targets, but also to all people that we live around.

Two: Virtue and the Balance of Progress

Why does mastering and taking a position in recent modern philosophy necessitate an atheistic stance? If philosophy admits it can not prove the existence or non-existence of God, why do so many create philosophies that base all premises in a worldview that exists without higher meaning and the help of a benevolent God?

Three: Reconsidering Aspects of Modernism

Each era shows a cause and effect of its actions and how some of these actions result in delirious human conditions. Wise theoreticians develop plans to get their time out of them. People can see the effects of political decisions on the quality of life of their inhabitants just as they can see effects of education techniques on students. When politicians can see the aesthetic value of the virtue of their actions on their constituents, they will strive to perform more “righteously” -- a word hardly ever used currently to describe politics. Modern politics and law enforcement often prescribes what can be called “actions whose results are untraceable in objective cognition." We should establish a cause and effect map of what these somewhat arbitrary judgmental improvisations can do to a culture, and which ones do what kind of damage. On a similar note: did the incessant real estate seminars of the 1980’s have anything to do with the homeless population growth in the 1990’s?

Four: The Aesthetics of Virtue as a Philosophical Proof

The sight of the ocean, or even the feeling of sunshine, are qualified as aesthetic experiences by many people. One of the highest beauties available to man is that of the virtuous act in human interaction. This emotive aspect of human virtue can be breathtaking when we come in contact with it -- if it bypasses the hazardous cerebral mechanism that blocks such pleasure, such fulfillment of our will from us. We must sometimes prepare ourselves for this aesthetic experience. Some will not be able to understand the beauty of the aesthetic virtue. Some will be too callous, guilt ridden, or blinded by the competitiveness and materialism that they themselves have made of their culture. The creation of acts of virtue as aesthetic experiences is often done by filmmakers. There could be a list made of such events in film.

Five: Virtuism in Aesthetic Theory

A technique to increase both aesthetic form and content is the hybridization of existing forms, as in multimedia work, such as installations. The notion of the total sensory experience is not a new idea, but one that has been with us for at least a hundred years, yet little has been done to develop it fully. But our lives are a constant experience in different sensory media; thus working such a mode would virtually recreate life itself. The art of the Virtuist does not have to be for an audience larger than a sole human being. The rare revolutionary work is still accomplished. When people can produce such works in the lives of people who need it, the media often catch on to it and thus many people feel the same experiences.

Six: Foundations of Aesthetic Philosophy

Pragmatism is the obvious path to go on here. If such a philosophy as Nietzsche's produces many people in despair at its end, this should be a sign to turn to pragmatic philosophers instead. The result should be a person who is above acts of slander, misanthropy, corruption of ethics and the enforcement of meaninglessness. Some must see these qualities becoming inevitable when one struggles not to be a member of the masses -- a type of necessary reaction against entropic ways. These qualities have nothing to do with creative expression and only mirror the kind of art that some people are capable of producing. This type of ethical "decadence" is highly disputed, when it is even addressed.

Seven: Virtue and Differing Representations of the Same Idea

There is a strength one gets from the idea of the polyphony of strength in divergent views -- taking the virtues of various positions in different fields or on different subjects does not negate their individual truths.

To one, it's Sophia that personifies wisdom; to another, it's Allah. Both people may have the same amount of love and compassion, but through their language or their "myth" (the true home of Babel), they will come to mistrust each other. We see this time and time again with its disastrous consequences in those who are more ignorant and prone to violence. There is a stronger truth than academic or intellectual truths about mysticism, even though to some people, academic or intellectual truths may seem supreme. This truth is in truly seeing the tower of Babel crumble, however, one can only do this in the heart. We may not be able to convert someone to our outward form of expressing the true.

Eight: The Concept of Linguistic Blending

In various times there are problems that are perhaps a bit unique. In our time, a main problem is seeing the divine in all people. It is a main problem of our day because corporate advertising methods often depict people in an us-them mentality based on who is buying their products and who isn't. Most people can't help but be hypnotized by exposure to these kinds of advertisements. Human nature for the most part is plastic and moldable and can't help but be shaped by whoever or whatever wants to shape it. We are half-god and half-beast and the god part is only activated by our own inner struggle. Even the idea of grace in religion must be earned by a sincere existential choice. The beast nature becomes like cattle to be "milked" of money and time, striving ever harder to just be able to afford that which it sees as security needs. It is not often the security needs of food and shelter, but it is the security needs of having a recent car, a style of clothing that is current with a trend, and many other such things.

Linguistic blending is a technique of using the meaning of certain words when thinking on other words. A good example of this can be done with the words "God" and "life." "Life" outwardly rewards certain people, brings them blessing, yet some don't see that as God's will which causes a big rift between people. In what sense can we get freedom from our judgmentalism by using linguistic blending in this combination of the terms "God" and "life"? Can we hear what God is saying to us by sometimes blending what we mean by life with what we mean by God? This is in no way being theologically pantheistic but instead merely using a language game and observing the effect.

Nine: Thoughts on Physical and Psychological Regeneration

Practicing stillness brings us to the natural state of the body. The more we can consciously relax it, the better it operates, provided it is also exercised in rational ways. The same is true with the emotions and intellect. All the qualities that are called the vices tend to strain the mind and the emotions, while the virtues tend to relax them. One thing that slows down the mind, emotions and the tensions of the body is the awareness of the anonymity of life, which is like the feeling we get from the questions of "why am I here?" or "why did life create something instead of nothing?"

Heightening this feeling of the anonymity of life is the feeling of the aesthetics of virtue -- the two can work synergistically from each other. The two feelings operate at the same genetic level of creation. Convoluted thinking often produces the opposite. Crass tribalism, the type that is so often responsible for religious and cultural wars, is the very opposite of this feeling of the anonymity of life. The aesthetics of virtue come out of this anonymity, as does the ideas of the benefits of practicing stillness. Much virtue grows out of this awareness of anonymity -- it does not prove nihilism, meaninglessness and materialism. Instead, we can see the positive emergence of instinctively reinforcing virtues, the life-benefiting effect of virtuous acts and characteristics. It is often the creation of endless new meanings, laws and restrictions, by their limiting definitions and the stress they put on a person, that causes some people to act their worst.

Ten: The Ten Questions

A concept that can objectively fortify the idea that there are objective answers to our questions regarding the nature of life here on Earth, I call “The Concept of the Ten Questions.” It uses the example of examining ten different questions, questions that may or may not have been a part of traditional philosophical dialog. The answers to these questions we may not know, or be able to say we have truthfully achieved. Nevertheless, we can be sure that the answers do exist. Accepting this idea that the answers do exist is important in itself.

Eleven: Thoughts on The Post-Modern Condition

Some modern philosophers say that our narrative structures that we develop about life are really something that should not be taken too seriously. Implementations of Marxism and National Socialism caused tens of millions of murders. Various other ideologies through history have done likewise. But are we are seeing the results of a culture which has no "narratives" for many but the ones done by popular movies, television, and television's commercials? There needs to be some kind of philosophical understanding that there can be very little good that happens in such vacuums of positive ideologies. Base human behavior can also develop in Post-modern societies where no new positive philosophical concepts take root.

Twelve: Virtuism and Nihilism

A philosophy some people hold is one of materialism, a materialism that may have been a byproduct of a complex philosophical system or not. We, however, have to put ourselves in the place of earlier philosophers. The problem is that earlier philosophers never had an industrial/electronic age. Earlier philosophers never had automobiles and computers. A previous unspoken thought in philosophy seems to have been: “this focus on a soul and on faith is good but it isn’t going to get us important discoveries and inventions that we all know science can give us.” Earlier philosophers were not always stating that God should not be a concern in one's life, just that God's existence must be taken on faith. Philosophy became more rationalistic so that it could better help science achieve the benefits of creating in the material world.

Thirteen: Concepts of Regeneration

Regenerative thought:

...

5) holds the view that we live in a world that has a higher meaning in living for us. This meaning is higher than what many people hold as the meaning in life. Many people believe that achieving high status in society is the most important meaning -- so understanding there is a higher meaning for us in life than this has a regenerative effect on those who do not hold high status.

 

Fourteen: Spirituality is Philosophically Definable

Spirituality can be philosophically definable: it is that force which repairs the brokenness that is inherent in life on Earth. There is danger when the definition of spirituality changes from this, as when spirituality is abstracted into a commodity, and the fact that when one purchases such a commodity, one therefore becomes spiritual. This is seen where there is the ability to buy books, courses, seminars, exotic health supplements, videos, expensive oils, talismans, and hours of counseling/readings and such is seen as a "blessing from good karma" and therefore condones the title of "spiritual" on a person. But this type of spirituality is not necessarily repairing a person's brokenness, and can set them up in patterns that actually cause brokenness in themselves and others. Commodity-based false spirituality hinders the pattern of helping the other people in their life with help from a true spiritual source.

Fifteen: Futures of Philosophy or what has happened to Philosophy

Eventually, we will have many schools of thought in philosophy that are post Post-Modernism. If we think not, we, or those who happily believe in Post-Modernism as some kind of absolute picture of progress, fall into the same delusion as those in every age who think that those in the future will be thinking how wonderful they are as philosophers and how they got philosophy right for a change. Many take it that academic Western philosophy doesn't really improve from age to age. You might call when I'm sometimes trying to write "Virtuosophy" because it tries to get out of the kind of linear thinking progression of academic philosophy, which makes a valid contribution but which also can be a bit artificial when it comes to having objective sociological values by its influence in society. The influence of academic philosophy causes a "wake," much like a boat engine causes a wake in the water. Other departments are effected by its ideas, be it art or social science, and there is a danger of creating bad philosophy. Philosophy has never been only the study of logic, until the 20th century, but then art was never non-aesthetic until the 20th century.

Sixteen: Virtuism and the Philosophy of Religion

The idea of God being a dead subject matter in philosophy is not truthful. Perhaps in cerebral "armchair" philosophies that have little to do with life, it was easy to work from this idea but the world in a large part seems always operating in a Judeo-Christian-Muslim structure, and often in the West as in the East, one that is based essentially on Eastern philosophies. The great religions are like objects in nature, they are meant to be here and they aren't haphazard. They function also as psychology on a higher level for the wise, and also probably as a way of controlling the less educated, and yet hopefully not cripple them psychologically, which many people seem to think they do. The bible and other culture's religious scriptures openly judge promiscuous sexuality in the same way that early psychology textbooks do, or like the way Erik Erickson said that promiscuity is a sign that someone hasn't fully matured to a certain state of adult development. Non-promiscuous sexuality sets up an optimal system, like the way we can see two parent families are more functional, that is, usually easier, than one parent ones.

Seventeen: Definitions of Spirituality

A good philosophical definition of spirituality is that force which repairs the brokenness in society. It is therefore an essential component of any culture, and without it, people can quickly turn to barbarism. Instead of repairing broken people by incorporating them in a humane way, non-spiritual people try to remove them. When one sees the behavior that many have gotten themselves to, it's interesting to see lifestyles that have so little understanding of true spirituality.

Eighteen: The Entropic Norm

A "entropically normal person" -- someone who is into their own academic, social, or career life solely at the expense of any real altruism, only keeps things at the lowest level of interaction. They keep unhealthy levels of stress the norm, may eat bad diets by habit, will never consider skipping meat for a meal, easily support wars, and the like. This is the result of a "low maintenance person."

There are many who consistently hold themselves up against negative light -- criticizing themselves in awful ways. This essentially cripples them in all parts of their life. What is the problem with these self-haters? What is the cure? It seems interesting that they do not measure themselves against the millions of people that are in jails or hospitals or the hundreds of thousands that are in mental hospitals, or even the many that are homeless. They aren't measuring themselves against those in homes that have problems with physical abuse or addiction. Instead, they weigh themselves against what appears to be the "best" images that they can find. Or, they are weighing themselves against what they see on the highways -- those that drive more expensive cars than they do.

Nineteen: The Organic Structure of Religion

The bible seems to contradict itself on the point of bad things happening to bad people primarily, or at least expresses an existential reality which goes beyond the mind of man to figure out the nature of a given occurrence. Throughout The Book of Proverbs it is stated many times that ill fate befalls the wicked in this life. In the New Testament as in The Book of Job bad things happened to God's elect. But do those elect debase themselves constantly? Are they neurotic? Do they "hate their lives"? They seem to be confident that whatever they suffer in this life doesn't matter because they don't have a limited materialistic viewpoint. They matter outside of qualities in the human spectrum because of who they are to a God of love.

Twenty: Virtuism and Psychology

Psychology shows us the great value of breaking the human psyche down into the Ego, Id, and Superego. Much of mental illness, severe or mild, or even uncomfortable levels of human stress, comes from putting too high standards of perfectionism, or what could be called morality, upon ourselves, as opposed to standards of virtue. The standards are those that the Superego imposes, without any basis of what is probably divine measure. It would make no difference to another human being if the mentally ill overcame these standards. The only people that it would make a difference to are the ones who do the abusing. Future thought in this area has to continue to be how the abused uncovers areas of dysfunction or abuse. This is what the recovered alcoholic does when he understands that his addictive problems do not mean that he is a bad person, but that his disease started in his family of origin. It is what the child does in protection from child sexual abuse, and what many other rights groups have done. Freeing oneself from the false religion of the Superego is one way we come about to the point of "delighting ourselves in the Lord and getting the desires of our heart."

Twenty-One: The Excuse of Religious Exclusionism

Religious exclusionism is practiced when one takes a false solace that one has superiority over other people because of one's own beliefs being correct. No matter how much one is depressed, angry, bitter, indulging in secret sins such as overeating or sick imaginations, one still feels better inside because so many other people, in their mind, are going to hell. When one matures spiritually and is left without religious exclusionism, one can feel very down when looking at one's faults or inabilities remaining year after year. One may be left wondering why God was not able to make one a more fulfilled person. That is why one must be open to God allowing new ideas to enter one's life, ideas that may come from outside of the spiritual doctrinal books of one's faith. Although those books may support the new ideas, often God will work in a person's life outside of the parameters that are taught in church. Having this clarity to accept these new ideas is a great benefit.

Twenty-Two: The Sign of Evolution

When people in the world sink into great misunderstanding of spirituality and accept that as the norm, the suffering that is the result of this should be made better known. If not for the safety and warning of those in states of ignorance, at least for the quality of everyone's life and encouragement of the doer of good, which keeps the quality high. I believe this is provable in Western psychology that people cause damage to others enter into great suffering in this lifetime. It's actually fairly common knowledge -- although at times that there are pockets of people who don't understand it. They believe they are freeing the mind and the feelings by fighting ideas upholding the virtues. They think they are benefiting themselves and even others because of the pain of their own naturally arising guilt for not being more virtuous. But the direct result of this is that they are creating attitudes in people that make it impossible to even have the spirituality to live harmoniously with each other.

Twenty-Three: Explorations in the Healing Power of Love

We know that certain actions against us can cause emotional and cognitive scaring, therefore, it should be the case that certain positive actions cause growth that can override such problems. A life which springs forth gratitude clearly makes a person more productive and happy, and happiness is the ground for many benefits such as a better immune system. Instinctively, we are created in such a way that we also benefit from the practice of feeling love for everyone we see. We instinctively desire practicing feeling this love for everyone. There is some magical harmony, a love and longing for every type of person, that is built into our instincts. Most people have just never had this thought. One can make an experiment and try it. We become healthier people doing this exercise.

When people are feeling the joy of love, their demeanor shines and they can't be negative or malicious. They can't be seen as evil by others. The sense of life and light they radiate can give others a rest from the stress or confusion that they themselves may be feeling. Others with no faith, no valuing of love, are often seen as weak because they have no similar radiance of demeanor. One sees them, or better, it seems life as in even animals and events, seems to see them, as pandering to materialistic and self-centered needs primarily, instead of the life of the whole, of community, other people, the environment, the disempowered and disabled, and the like. There is a type of ambiance around those who are caring that is as health-giving to themselves as it is to others, and others know this and reward them as such. It is possible to monitor oneself to see how one gives off this feeling of empowerment to others, and to improve oneself in it when one is weak in it.

Twenty-four: A Virtuist Perspective on the Philosophical Concept of Power

There are certain psychological needs, such of the needs that empower the type of person who build roads and buildings, or have to otherwise endure the elements. It is not virtuous to judge all people based on academic or cloistered perceptions. Likewise, it is very foolish to think a truly peaceful and virtuous attitude might create people who are more reclusive, like monks and many artists, and unable to do hard physical labor. A person with a sensitive and loving nature can do any type of work. People who are construction workers can have a spiritual disposition. Hence, brutality is not ever the essence of what it means to be a soul born in a world like this, a world of souls and matter. There are harsh conditions of life. We have the raw materials to build incredible structures, but on the surface it seems to people they have to basically possess a fairly brutalized interior life to face the hardships and not turn "soft" inside to build such structures. Animals in nature are offered somewhat abundant food sources, but they have to kill the life of other animals to get it. We can exist with the higher qualities of the mind and not force ourselves to be so harsh in areas that have nothing to do with psyching oneself up as we develop as individuals. We must always be wary of people who think that a populace must be "dumbed down" to keep society flowing in an efficient way.

When we look at the basic and not megalomaniacal human drive to power, we can look at it more as an internal function of the healthy, more than some ugly Machiavellian force. It is even something done in secret by the religious since in religion weakness before God and humility before men are said to be the chief virtues, but without some thought of empowerment, no one would take the position of church leader. A literal reading of the New Testament plays a complex tune upon the idea of power, and often spawns the opposite extreme. But, if people followed the New Testament verbatim, there would have been no American Revolution, for it is said in the bible that God appoints the political powers that be. In the case of the American forefathers, surely they did not use this biblical view towards England. This did not mean they were "bad" Christians. Therefore, at all costs, Christians need to see that "the letter of the law" is only complete and true as it has meta-concepts in it about how to even see itself.

Twenty-Five: Religious Structures and World Progress

There is no absolute power for good that is wholly against organized religious bodies. Such bodies are outside of human parameters because they exist for very special purposes. It is a false abstraction that there is something unified which we can judge and call, for instance, the "Christian Church," or the “Religious Body”as represented in any country. "The church" as described by writers is only one manifestation of the religious leanings of a type of political body. Politics is not used in this sense as in governing people via laws but the interpersonal relationships. So, when the world's objective progress has grown, it has often done so against the wishes of such types of bodies called "the church." Major progresses in many sciences were done so against the wishes of "the church," a church that was not the spiritual, transcendent and transformative church, but only the religious leanings of the power structures.

Twenty-Six: Religion and Personal Action

Often, religious writing and preaching centers on making oneself weak so that the power of God can be made manifest. Of course, there is the bible verse that God's power is made greatest in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). But for this verse to always become the center of some people's lives can be problematic if ethical action is needed. People need to be at their strongest, and not delude themselves into thinking God has them on remote control. The message of depending on God was to correct the opposite extreme: that of competitiveness among people in the field of religion. It was to correct the idea that God was a foreign being like some of the old pagan gods to whom one must sacrifice human beings to.

Twenty-Seven: The Enhancement of Virtue Via Positive Emotions

It is true that positive emotions can be created at will by an adaptation of the attitudes in life. Creating positive emotion has to be a focus for them to occur. The reason why this should at times be a focus is often people have chronic amounts of negative emotions and there are many academic studies that negative emotions are physical, mentally and socially harmful.

Twenty-Eight: Optimization

What life is without a system of optimization and self-discipline is often the result of one's upbringing, for better or worse, and the effect of one's motivations and belief systems. One may stop drinking heavily but also feel they have to cut out art, creative thinking and other similar things from their life to stay "safe" and not be tempted to drink again. Some become conservative to save themselves from harmful habits like drugs or heavy drinking and also develop an inability for other optimizations in life. For people to find their way to their optimized state they must first dedicate time to nothing else but the method, the ladder. For some, prayer is a real way to do this. Practicing real optimization methods can bring one more into stress but it makes one face one's aim, to face one's responsibilities to oneself and others. The ascent of thought to positive emotion and the witness of the virtuous as part of the aesthetic state is itself optimizing.

Twenty-Nine: Beyond the Idea of No Good and Evil

The bible contains contradictions most likely for a divine reason, so that intelligent men would not adhere too much to "the letter of the law." Of course, this hasn't stopped people from doing just that, even while it says in the bible "The letter of the law killeth but the Spirit giveth grace." Modern writings can show the benefit of religious thinking that has matured historically -- hopefully in a way that many people will be able to understand. It is multicultural, accepting parts from various world religions, but allowing a person to make the personal choice that resonates with their individual psychology.

Thirty: Object Relations and the Marketing Mindset

Because of human dysfunction there are people who create a worldview and self-view that has wrong aspects to it, or else it wouldn't be functional at all in their dysfunctional system. They stay focused in themselves, and to do this they create rails of concepts that hinder them from straying into more enlightened, progressive thought. This isn't to say that these are people who are traditionally religious, far from it. They are progressive in a disturbing way. They are some of the modern children of materialism. seemingly also the combination of nihilism and atheism. The type of capitalism that states it can do anything to the marketplace it wants via trying to reduce people to their lowest common denominators of sexuality, physical appetite, and desire for luxury and power seems to be what forms their attitudes. These people can be either educated or non-educated, either knowledgeable of avant-garde arts or unaware. They are functional, for a time at least, until what will happen will happen as the wisdom literature of time immemorial always states happens to the nihilist and the materialist. They will degenerate emotionally, the product of never really being able to really get their own way, since again, the numbers of the many are against the one. They become the product of always competing, unable to turn off drives that have become totally mechanical and ingrained.

Thirty-One: Scrupulosity as a way of avoiding true virtue

Movements in Western culture have pointed toward "authenticity" as the ultimate healing modality in all human interaction. While this is true on many different levels, on the level of social personality it is a more complex picture. One can be authentic to the point of being neurotic and losing the power of what might be called "Ego walls." One may always be looking for an authenticity behind what in mercy should be ignored and covered up.

We have different uses and meanings of words, some of which obscure certain truths from us. One word that is interesting in this way is the word "act" or "acting." At one level of interpretation of the word "act," all people do is called an "act" and all people are involved in "acting" or "action" when they inter-act with the world around them. The closest word also to how healthy and optimal people interact with the world verses how less healthy people interact, can also be seen as use of the word "acting." Since it is always better to create more descript terms or phrases that further clarify what we mean, in this case, we can use the phrase "responsibility acting." This "responsibility acting" by psychologically optimal people is a useful idea in mental health and self-development. It has implications in the study of virtue. It is what makes people functional in society. As a type of responsibility, a psychologically healthy person and even perhaps a virtuous one knows to not let his whole inner psychology become exposed to the world. Some people, especially the schizophrenic or persons with other types of mental illness, have no such "Ego walls," no such separation from all the different thoughts and feeling they may have about someone. They cannot "fake it" for sake of social grace or taking a part in life. It is proverbial wisdom sometimes in life we have to "fake it till we make it." It makes the world a kinder and warmer place when people do some "responsibility acting" when they feel otherwise.

Thirty-Two: Virtuism and Pragmatism

In pragmatic essence, it can be proven that life gives most people an equal amount of favorable and unfavorable circumstances. A person's "wisdom" is what determines what amount is seen as favorable. Wisdom is the function that operates on a person's experience and makes it objectively favorable to that person. I say objectively and not subjectively because it has a firm objective value, not just to the person but to the outside world.

 

Thirty-Three: Judgmental Attitudes

We cannot assume God or the Universe has had an improper reaction to our actions or causes. For life to improve we have to study what has happened as the result of what we have done, not to endlessly criticize what has happened. It is odd to think the God force itself would want to make us in some way more a-religious, but clearly if people put down their trivial religious differences there would be much less evil in the world. In some way, the God force must want us to not use trivial things to separate us. Such people use this as a way to support their lack of religious interest or even their atheism. They even may say it is a part of a long process to make humanity more virtuous and yet not rely on tribalistic religious practices that cause us to fight against each other. It says in the bible that God is "past finding out." "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33). We are given these divine systems which have delivered us from brutality, yet they themselves must be totally understood for people to live together in harmony and for the love in each system to have its way on the Earth. This is a more clear way to live in according to scripture.

Thirty-Four: An Examination of Drug Use and Virtue

Most of the spiritual traditions say somewhere that physical substances can form a counterfeit for the spiritual experiences. This is a deep idea: that spiritual experiences without drugs and alcohol are always higher and to be preferred over experiences gained from physical substances. Drugs and alcohol provide a way to manipulate the medium that the divine works through, or the machinery that the virtues register certain responses in. Just as there is a process to get high with a drug, there is a process to fall under the weight of a spiritual experience. And just as repeated experiences with a drug produces a state of addiction and soon various forms of degeneration, repeated spiritual acts producing spiritual experiences produces the spiritual condition and regeneration. There are definite logical reasons for this.

Thirty-Five: Asceticism and Virtue

You can have two views about most people: affirming or denying. Why not deny that which tries to deny you both? Or, affirm the universe that affirms you both? If you deny that which another affirms (themselves) and which the universe affirms, you are being false.

Thirty-Six: Meditation on Virtue

In addition to the spiritual practices of prayer and sitting quietly, relaxing muscle tension as one sits and stopping thoughts when they arise, one can meditate on improving one's virtue -- thinking on how one can improve one's goodness to others, and improve one's own self-discipline. When prayer and sitting quietly has been done, this is a beneficial thing to do.

Thirty-Seven: The Ascent Toward Anonymity

The awareness of the anonymity behind creation is a part of life's objective signature.

The awareness of the anonymity behind creation is a part of life's objective signature. When we slow down our thinking and perceive our consciousness itself, we expose something deeper and more lasting than many of the other things that crosses our mind. Life has a currency in the real, as life is supremely real. Life displays itself and people assimilate as much meaning from life as they can. Life does not have to play a function like our mind plays one when going about the chores of daily life. Our level of communication and association with others is also often less sincere than the level that ascends toward connection with that which people call God.

Thirty-Eight: The Supra-academic

The constraint of academic study is always only a percentage of the overall truth. It is only a certain percentage of what is the presently knowable truth. Constraints are what the academicians are allowed to institutionally state as the truth. One can witness the change of constraints as the years go by, but this idea that constraints change is seldom taught in college.

Thirty-Nine: Virtue and Science

Scientific progress has been helped by epistemology reducing philosophy and thus, as I will show by my concept of the “academic wake,” some of human experience to a positivist level, but other areas of human experience have been negatively affected because philosophy has not been able to nourish them. Metaphysics can be shown to have something to do with human psychology, thus the departmentalization of knowledge and human experience cannot be destroyed academically by a department saying “this is not true” but instead saying “this is not philosophy, this is psychology.” Such may be the “fate” of metaphysics in the minds of some.

Optimistic metaphysics are philosophies showing the engine of change and development experienced in time; this engine is the notion of the virtuous universe. The more a human being focuses their attention on being virtuous to another human being, the more the former person’s life is changed for the better. What this means is that in the language of Kierkegaard, the person can ultimately no longer have a despair of being themselves. They may experience serious misfortune in their lives after doing many virtuous things but there is something concrete in their nature produced by the prolonged virtuous actions. These actions can be developed by seeing virtuous acts as reaching the level of an inner aesthetic experience.

Forty: Conclusion

At stake is a world frequently making its home in impossibility and despair. Suicide and drug overdose statistics support this. The doors of possibility and pleasure can be opened by these people if only they educate themselves in the right direction. A world at home in ignorance and destructive vice needs insight on freedom and the perspective that this can bring. In the grounds of opinion and attitude virtue gains, it will encourage a cooperation of idealism, hope, and help. Utopia is not a realistic goal, but an increase in the deep feelings surrounding virtuous human interaction is realistic and achievable.

Creative Virtue Press/Telical Books