Sunday, August 23, 2009

Aphorisms on Virtue

An economic system in which charity is needed is unjust.

To do help as a virtuous activity is nobly egoistic. It does not whittle down the ego, it exalts it.

To do "good" and to feel good about it is as pernicious as to do "bad" and to feel good about it.

A selfless act can not lead to feeling good. In a selfless act, there is no smoke after the fire.

Feeling good is not a crime, but neither is selfishness. The danger is that virtue, which is at best altruism in operation, can be mistaken for selflessness.

To be free of the need of feeling good is the ground of selflessness. To do something because one cannot not do it.

Good acts and good feelings are therapeutic. As such, they are means to free oneself from the need of good acts and good feelings. They are not ends in themselves.

Compassion is expended in charity. If it is not thus channeled, but instead directed to fuel the pursuit of the end of neediness in oneself, can it not be revolutionary?

To not be psychologically needy is your ultimate gift to humanity. Other gifts pale in comparison.

If you are needy yourself (psychologically), you are buying your good feelings in a dangerous way by indulging in virtue. Dangerous because it is praised so universally.

Humanity can be helped, but it is a cop-out to start helping others instead of putting oneself first beyond the need of help. It is a cop-out because you were now enabled to seek something beyond physical freedom, and you chose something easier.

Physical co-dependence is understandable, as we all co-habit the earth, but is buying virtue not parasitical?

Most people's virtue extends insofar as it is not personally discomforting.

If the roots are sick, is not washing the leaves an eye-wash? To fix the roots is not easy, but washing the leaves is dangerous, for it gives the illusion of health.

Discontent is extinguished through virtue. It is akin to guilt getting extinguished through apology. The momentum of one's realization of one's nature or of an oppressive system is brought to a halt because "all is well now".

The fire of discontent is stoked, made more fierce, by the lack of feel-good solutions.

An effortless benevolence is not virtuous. It has no cause, and hence it has no agenda for "me". It does not seek objects of charity.

To seek evolution through virtue is to aggrandize oneself.


Harmanjit Singh said...

Hi Jarnail, Please post your comments on the relevant blog post, and for the benefit of the readers, please post them in English.

Jarnail said...

On a columnar self
How ample to rely
In tumult or uncertainty
How good the certainty

Emily Dickinson

Jarnail said...

Insaan di kahani, Beethoven urran di zabani..ik khudkushi da chittha:

Heiligenstadt Testament

Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you. From childhood on, my heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I was even inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible). Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I was soon compelled to isolate myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh how harshly was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was impossible for me to say to people, "Speak louder, shout, for I am deaf." Ah, how could I possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed. - Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you. My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished; I can mix with society only as much as true necessity demands. .... Forced to become a philosopher already in my twenty-eighth year, - oh it is not easy, and for the artist much more difficult than for anyone else. - Divine One, thou seest my inmost soul thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to do good. - Oh fellow men, when at some point you read this, consider then that you have done me an injustice; someone who has had misfortune man console himself to find a similar case to his, who despite all the limitations of Nature nevertheless did everything within his powers to artists and men. - You, my brothers Carl and [Johann], as soon as I am dead, if Dr. Schmid is still alive, ask him in my name to describe my malady, and attach this written documentation to his account of my illness so that so far as it possible at least the world may become reconciled to me after my death. - At the same time, .... Thanks to it and to my art, I did not end my life by suicide - Farewell and love each other.... With joy I hasten towards death. - If it comes before I have had the chance to develop all my artistic capacities, it will still be coming too soon despite my harsh fate, and I should probably wish it later - yet even so I should be happy, for would it not free me from a state of endless suffering? - Come when thou wilt, I shall meet thee bravely.....

Ludwig van Beethoven
Heiligenstadt, October 6th, 1802