Monday, February 15, 2016
When we are learning, we go through iteration after iteration, making corrections to our beliefs as we go, increasing our knowledge at each iteration. When I read this piece, I had some issues.
First, pagan is a derogatory term. When you become negative, it is difficult to keep reading.
pagans such as Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius - although their systems are not suitable for us today ...
As confusing as the Stoic system is, it is the foundation of the christian ethics that were adopted by Christians in the second to fifth centenary CE. Epictetus's Discourses and Enchiridion were used with minor changes as a training manual, changing Socrates to St.Paul and the like. Marcus references Epictetus. It is suitable for use today, far better than christian, but much of it is not needed in our second world environment.
As human beings, we are social animals. Our sociality is the result of evolution, not choice. Natural selection has equipped us with nervous systems which are peculiarly sensitive to the emotional status of our fellows. Among our kind, emotions are contagious, and it is only the rare psychopathic mutants among us who can be happy in the midst of a sad society.
Who says we are social animals? We are a group of individuals who realized that we do better when we cooperate. We are dependent on the previous generation when we start life, and dependent on the subsequent generation at the end of our life. There is a big difference between being "social animals" and learning to cooperate. It is this learned behavior that allowed us to progress from clan based thorough village, city states, nations and hopefully world peaceful units. The most we can say is we are socially inclined animals, but there are many hermits, and isolated happy people who mix very little with others.
It is easier to maintain a happy outlook by not associating with people we find negative, even if they are family.
Among our kind, emotions are contagious, and it is only the rare psychopathic mutants among us who can be happy in the midst of a sad society.
We have two facilities, one emotional based, one rational. Each person has difference in the strength of these two separate centers, some genetic, some trained in. The ease of influence is dependent on the relative strength of these two, and the argument appeal to each. Reason is useless on a primary emotional based person, and vise-versa. Once we have become trained in reason, emotions lose there strength and utility.
"here's-how-you-rub-the-sticks-together" phase of technological evolution.
Note that there have been religions based on the keepers of the fire as Native Indian and Zoroastrians.
The person who practices "enlightened" self-interest, by contrast, is the person whose behavioral strategy simultaneously maximizes both the intensity and duration of personal gratification.
Enlightened, more as a candle being lighted as opposed to Buddha's awaking to reality, or his recognition of much truths relatively suddently. We can also undergo major abrupt changes in personality, which may seem like a rebirth or birth of a new person. This is what Alcoholics Anonymous tries to induce it its' people. If this change is permanent, as Paul on the road to Damascus or any of William James examples, then what do we call it?
But then what do I know about anything anyway?