Nathaniel on the cardinal virtues

Nathaniel on the cardinal virtues

Monday, February 5, 2018

6:30 a.m. I sort of overheard the process of dreaming, early this morning, and it came to this: Another part of myself was playing various scenarios, and showing how it could have come out this way, if I had done this. At least, I think that’s what I heard, or observed. I didn’t get up and write it down, so maybe I don’t have it just right. But the insight I was left with amounted to just what Nathaniel or whoever said – the important thing is not the first-tier action but the second-tier change as a result of the action. The same lesson, too, about my long careful struggle to lose weight. I doubt anybody in non-3D cares what I wind up weighing; but the habits developed in the long period of vigilance – or, say, of observation, not to be too dramatic about it – will have to have its effect on my overall characteristic mind. It’s like the whole 3D experience is a long rehearsal, or say practice sessions, to result in whatever it is we do result in as a result of so many choices over a lifetime.

Correct, Nathaniel?

Close enough, for the moment. You might also look at physical 3D life as a long process of thinking things over. You never get to a conclusion so profound that it can’t be improved upon, but also you don’t need to. It’s the process of learning and growing that’s of interest, more so than the arriving at any specific conclusion.

Okay. So what’s on the agenda for today? The cardinal virtues?

There’s not the need to re-examine them in light of new understandings that there was for the seven avenues of error, because few people will have an ingrained resistance to them, or to what they assume they are, in the way many people will have had in relation to the sins. Prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude will not be associated in their minds with guilt and resentment, so really it is almost enough to remind them of the existence of the concept [of the existence of four over-arching virtues].

A few words, maybe?

A few.

Prudence – it is well to bring as much instinctive understanding to a situation as is possible. A little less impulsiveness, a little more deliberation. Use all your resources, not merely your present-moment activated reactions.

Justice – weigh carefully, not overreacting out of emotion or prejudice or fear. Again, mindfulness, bringing your best you to the moment.

Temperance – nothing to excess. That doesn’t mean, couldn’t mean, never departing from one state of mind, never getting carried away, never varying from moment to moment. That would be beyond human capability, even if it were entirely desirable. But – nothing in excess. Continually return to your center of gravity, so to speak. If you get carried away, return.

Fortitude – don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by difficulties or even by tedium. Keep on. It’s a long road; travel it to the end, don’t just give up and sit by the side, waiting.

That’s it, then?

It’s enough. The situation isn’t complicated. It would be well to remember that all this plays out on a field larger and deeper than 3D Theater, but yes, it’s enough for practical use. They don’t profit you by being philosophized over, but by forming your habitual spine, your keel, your relied-upon framework.

Okay. Well, thanks for that. As I assume we’re not going to quit at 20 minutes, wherever we go from here, it’s up to you. I do have a couple of queued-up questions, but not to hand.

No reason we have to go on for a given length of time. The very shortness of this session may serve to underline our few words about the virtues, and lead people to ponder them, which is all to the good.

What about the three additional virtues that the Christian fathers added to the four virtues they inherited from the Greeks?

Faith, hope, and charity will meet resistances that prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude did not. We shall deal with them at another time, lest the four cardinal virtues be somewhat lost sight of.

Huh. Okay, then, see you another time. Our thanks as always.

 

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