Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sanity Can Be Learned

"Return us to sanity."  but  but ... were we ever sane? The stoics describe a thought system based entirely on logic, reason, but there are no text books any more. There is an order that we must learn this information in, so that it can make sense. Some of the statements made are just totally foreign to modern thought, they do not seem rational, until we realize that the words did not mean quite the same things in modern times as they did a mere 80 years ago, when some of this was translated. English has changed that fast. How can we keep up?

Sanity can be learned. It is a learned skill, a collection of arbitrary knowledge, behaviors, actions, that are time and situation dependent, as defined by our culture, and now the mass media. There main objective is to sell product. There main message is buy, buy, buy. But what if we stop listening to them? And occupy our mind, our directing mind, with understanding this eating / food/ excess desire problem?  What happens to desire? Well, it is within our control, or partly so. Cuing, tempting, baiting may not be, but we have the power of assent or rejection of the mob intelligence, or the action of the masses. It is a learned skill.

The stoics tell us there are things within our power, and some things are not. Within our power (control, responsibility) are our judgements, our desires, our impulses, our interpretation of the input from our senses (judgements), our opinions, our understand of what is right and what is not, (our belief and value system) and from there we can build all the compound beliefs, value, principals, and the like. Start with the simplest form of judgement, assent or rejection of a propitiation, and we have control from there, as we build on that thoughts, concepts, ideas.

Suppose we receive joy from doing something right. Then if we always do right, because it is right to do right, we can live in a state of joy. We need to string those moments of present time into history. Virtue is always right, and if we always do right we should always be in a state of joy. If our thoughts are always virtuous, we should be able to stay in a state of joy. Virtue alone is necessary and sufficient to experience joy, one thought at a time, strung together in a non ending stream to produce tranquility and sanity. Philosophy is a full time undertaking, and thus a way of life.  Sanity can be learned.     

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