More of an observation really

as opposed to a “case”

Glancing at this article today, “The Case for Virtue” there isn’t really much to learn.

It’s a long drawn out story of a man, named Arland D. Williams, and how he sacrificed his own life by assisting other passengers on a sinking plane be airlifted to safety. The wreck sunk taking him down with it in the icy water back on January 13th, 1982.

Now the writer’s intended purpose is to get us to think “why would he do that?” Myself, always biased, I ask “why don’t people do that, why don’t we all?”

My answer to my own question is of course “self” or ego, if you prefer Latin terms.

But I did find some tidbits in the article I’d like to copy and paste here to draw your attention to them:


“If you ask me why I should do things that benefit other people, the answer might be just that I should,” says Hurka. “You have some moral obligation to care for other people. You just do.”

Hey, it’s like that famous song “you better be good for goodness sake.”

Thomas Hurak      you’re an idiot.

“My idea of virtue consists in loving the good and hating the evil,” says Thomas Hurka, professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. “Loving the good is good.”

Wow, a very childlike and vague answer. Could you define “good” for us? Is it absolute, can it change? Is your “good” the same as my “good”? Perhaps Hitler was ‘loving the good’ as you say because one of his goals was to create a superior race.. and we all want to be the best we can be right? So he was only helping future generations to be their best by eliminating some individuals who did not suit the definition (as he saw it) as superior. So.. he was in fact acting on his belief of “good” wasn’t he? He wasn’t trying to make the world “bad”. … One more reason NOT to go to U of T. Thank you.

During the past several decades, this notion of virtue has enjoyed something of a rebirth among North American philosophers, who believe that actions should be judged, not by what they achieve, but by what they are.

Are you… comparing us to the.. Renaissance?

“Virtue isn’t just a matter of behaviour,” says Hurka. “Virtue is a matter of motivation.”

In many ways, this outlook — known as virtue ethics — harkens back to the teachings of Aristotle.

Ahhh.. now you’ve said something I think I can agree with. Yes, it is a motivation. It is something that structures one’s routine and daily life. Tell me the last time that selfish, self-centered person you know (sibling, coworker, person in the elevator with you) did one thing, one action that totally threw you. They did something so self-sacrificing that couldn’t possibly benefit them in anyway .. and they did it on purpose. Then returned back to their usual ways.  … Virtue is not an accident.

“There is something beautiful about the virtuous person,” says Tiffany. “There is a kind of aesthetic component to it. Aristotle thought a person who cultivates the virtues has bloomed into a beautiful example of the kind of person we want to be.”

(who’s “Tiffany”? Evan Tiffany a prof from BC mentioned earlier in the article). Now, that’s a sweeping statement.. because really if that “we” applies to all of humanity .. we’d have a whole lot less negative stories to report and an undeniable amount of ‘do-gooder’ stories everywhere we look. You know.. like this.

The ancient Greeks had a word that we usually translate as “virtue.” The word is arete, and it really means something closer to what we think of as “excellence.” “When you perform an action with excellence, you’re serving the ends of the activity rather than your own interest,” says Zupko. “The good life means doing things in an excellent way.”

(Who is Zupko? A prof from Winnipeg named Jack.)

Alright so what I got from the article is, be good for goodness sakes. Someone out there is measuring us for “supererogatory” with an “excellence stick” so if you want to impress them live a life of virtue. And if you want to know about the good in human nature/virtue – interview a bunch of Uni profs. Is that.. is that correct? Seriously.. like the people around you.. that you pass on the street everyday can’t differentiate between “good” and “bad” as well as those profs..ahem.. Hurka.

So the song spoke the utter truth “be good for goodness sake,” there is no other reason.. we have no scientific evidence you live longer or happier (not in this article anyway.. if anything it shows that those possessing this flaw live shorter lives), nor that others around you will learn and imitate your “good” behaviour.

*sigh* Merry Christmas, if you don’t believe in Christmas you can wish me whatever on whatever day you do believe in. I’ll be happy to receive the greetings.. consider that my “good”   ?



Now this bit… try to guess which era it is from:

It’s a world where little or nothing is prohibited, where governments may assassinate their enemies summarily, along with their enemies’ families, a world where even water-boarding is defended if water-boarding does the job.

In a world where almost anything is permitted, why would someone bother to be good?

Hrm.. Medieval times? When the Huns were rampaging across continents? Shanghai during the 1920s-30s? Rwanda 20 years ago? Russia 1917? Mexico/US border circa 1945? … you tell me, seems we just keep going around in circles but talking about it like it’s new…. “news” some might say.


About yolandalenin

I talk a lot. ______________________________________________________________________ I write even more.
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