jump to navigation

Virtue June 30, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Mindfulness, People, Word Play.

Wikipedia ~ Aristotle (in Public Domain)

Virtue means doing the right thing, in relation to the right person, at the right time, to the right extent, in the right manner, and for the right purpose. 

Thus, to give money away is quite a simple task, but for the act to be virtuous, the donor must give to the right person, for the right purpose, in the right amount, in the right manner, and at the right time. 

~ Aristotle

No wonder it’s so hard to know if we are doing the “right” thing.

There are so many “right” angles to evaluate that it’s easy to make a left turn without realizing it.

Especially if our eyes are closed.

No rules!  Just right!


1. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words) - June 30, 2011

Plus the definition of “right” changes depending on the person. So perhaps virtue has more to do with the choices that make an individual feel good inside, choices having to do with helping others and being considerate without judging. Perhaps right can only be defined on an individual basis. Thanks for the philosophical head spin so early in the morning. 😉

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

Nothing like starting the day by being mindful of our thoughts, words, and deeds! 😀

Cindy - July 1, 2011

Well said, Lisa!

2. SuziCate - June 30, 2011

I think Lisa’s comment ir “right” on!

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

“Right” you are! 😉

3. jelillie - June 30, 2011


nrhatch - June 30, 2011

Seems like we are all on the “right” page this morning. 😎

4. Carl D'Agostino - June 30, 2011

Live by example. There is reward and punishment bet modeling the behavior is overlooked far too much.

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

Bad things happen to good people all the time.

From my perspective, we need to be “good” because it makes us feel good right here, right now . . . not because we hope to be rewarded or punished for our good and bad decisions.

Happiness is when what we think, what we say, and what we do are in harmony.

Carl D'Agostino - June 30, 2011

I did not mean reward or punishment in the sense of heaven or hell but in the sense of behavior modification sought by a trainer of some sort like with a dog or classroom teacher re student behavior.. So the modeling is a third type and I agree we do good for the sake of goodness not reward or punishment. I hope I explained myself in a way that makes sense. I was talking psychology stimulus/response. I tried to teach reading importance by letting them see me reading all the time. So we model goodness hoping it rubs off in the same way as my reading example.

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

Gotcha! Yes. I think that behavior modication works with both reward and punishment, and that the “reward” for good decisions is that we feel better after making them.

Thanks, Carl! 😀

5. Tilly Bud - June 30, 2011

Do as you would be done by is a good guide.

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

The problem with that rule is that many people want others to “be nice” and “lie” to them in order to protect their fragile and glorious “Egos.”

Whereas I think that it’s kinder in the long run to tell the truth . . . and encourage people to stop using their “Ego” as a guide. 😉

6. souldipper - June 30, 2011

I’ve seen the damage done by those playing God in “all their goodness”. A neighbour builds schools/orphanages in various countries in the world. She carefully investigates needs that are identified and presented to her. She actually puts on her “Tilly the Tourist” persona and goes to check out the reality of the need.

In Myanmar, imagine her surprise to learn the country did not need two more churches built so priests could reach all the communicants – as stated by a Bishop. When she stayed at a convent/mission, she learned from nuns and priests that what they really needed was six bicycles. The poor overworked souls didn’t want to have to look after two more churches! They simply needed a more efficient means to get around on their challenging roads.

Six bicycles and spare parts for maintenance filled the bill!

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

I love this story!
Bicycles instead of buildings! Perfect.

Thanks, Amy.

Rosa - June 30, 2011

Great story!!

7. kateshrewsday - June 30, 2011

Ah, virtue: if I ever achieve it, in its purest form, I can only think it is purest accident. I seem constantly to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. Perhaps we could redefine virtue for Aristotle…

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

This week I’ve bumped into a few “walls” myself. 😉

8. Rosa - June 30, 2011

Food for thought!

nrhatch - June 30, 2011

When we keep our ears, eyes, and heart open . . . we tend to make better decisions. 😀

9. Penny - June 30, 2011

Virtue means doing the right thing, in relation to the right person, at the right time, to the right extent, in the right manner, and for the right purpose.

Very good description-and I also agree it all in our choices !! 🙂

nrhatch - July 1, 2011

I liked this comment by Aristotle (if, in fact, he uttered it). Because it’s not enough to just look at the action, without understanding our underlying motivation.

If we are giving to feel “superior” . . . that’s not terribly noble.

10. Linda - June 30, 2011

I have friends who will neve give money to a beggar. Since there is not always a way to know who really needs it I would rather give and not worry about it. If I help someone then good, if they are a thief then they have to live with that. My daughter had a hard time adjusting to working in a larger city where there were lots of people begging. She gave a lot and bought meals for people. She was only a nanny not a high paid profesional person.

nrhatch - July 1, 2011

I rarely give money to people on the street ~ it encourages them to sit there and keep sticking their hand out because they are receiving positive reinforcement.

And many don’t use it effectively.
I do agree with offering them a meal when possible.

11. Linda - June 30, 2011

This reminds of a book you may enjoy reading. It is Father Joe, by Greg Barrett. I might have spelled his last name wrong. About a priest in Thailand who doesn’t monkey around with nonsense. He helps those who really need help. Forgot about traditions and politness he really gets to the nitty gritty.

nrhatch - July 1, 2011

Sounds awesome, Linda. I’ll check it out.

12. adeeyoyo - July 1, 2011

Giving charity to the needy is very complicated, Nancy. It is much better to help them become self sufficient. One doesn’t want to teach them to rely on freebies. Rather give them their pride.

There will always be the lazy spongers though..,.

nrhatch - July 1, 2011

I agree. I rarely give money to people on the street. It encourages them to sit there with their hand out rather than looking for a better way to “earn” money.

And I never know if they are going to use it for drugs or alcohol, rather than food.

13. eof737 - July 1, 2011

It is hard to tell but I just give when/what I have and let the chips sort themselves out… 🙂

nrhatch - July 1, 2011

I tend to give more to organized charities than to individuals on the street. I don’t want to give money to someone for drugs, alcohol, or something else that might HURT them in the long run.

I’m now leaning more to charities that help animals, not people. Since animals cannot help themselves. And people are their biggest problem.

14. SoapBird - July 1, 2011

let your heart lead you…I always say 🙂

nrhatch - July 1, 2011

I agree:

Listen to your heart, it’s calling out to you
Be guided by the heart in all you do.
And to thine own self be true.

15. William D'Andrea - July 2, 2011

What about the specific virtues of honesty, truthfulness, integrity, and strength of character? They don’t seem to be welcomed among certain people in politics or the media, who expect everyone to “Go along” with whatever they say. Too often when someone makes a critical statement that doesn’t “Go along”, basing it on verifiyible fact, he or she is denounced as being “insensitive” or even a racist, anti-this or that, or something-phobic; or even “engaging in hate speech”. The one who makes the denounciation ignores the criticism, and is applauded by his supporters.

When someone thinks that he or she can’t accomplish his or her goal, if truth gets in the way, it causes me to wonder about the worthiness of what he or she wants to accomplish

nrhatch - July 2, 2011

Good point, William.

A few people wanted me to “shade the truth” a bit this week. They wanted me to focus on the “ends” to justify the “means.”
They expected me to “go along” with them.

I told them NO.

They waved the “tribe” flag ~ pointing out that we needed to stick together. “All for one and one for all!”

I said NO again.

They got MAD. They pointed fingers to try to make ME feel like the “bad guy.” Because I wouldn’t LIE for them. Tough. I am not going to LIE to put a few extra dollars in their pockets.

I expect that I am no longer part of their “tribe” ~ that I’ve been voted off the island. Suits me. Friends who ask me to sacrifice my values to suit their dishonesty and greed are NOT friends in the first place. They are merely using me to benefit themselves.

Good riddance! 😎

16. William D'Andrea - July 2, 2011

Good for you. I’ve heard about an ancient Greek named Diogenes (I’m not sure how it’s spelled) who went around with a lantern, looking for an honest men. While on this journey her also carried a club. That meant he wasn’t a fool.

nrhatch - July 2, 2011

Yup. According to Wikipedia, Diogenes is “notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man.”

Good for him. Honest men and women are hard to find.

We are socialized to be NICE, at the expense of HONESTY. We are encouraged to lie to protect people and their fragile egos.

Diogenes didn’t agree with that socialization.
Neither do I.

Maybe if we all told the truth . . . people would start to LISTEN.

Thanks, William!

17. Severitas « Rufia Prisca's House - July 6, 2011

[…] Virtue (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

18. Why Virtue? « creatingreciprocity - July 22, 2011

[…] Virtue (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

nrhatch - July 22, 2011

Your post reminds me of why the Dalai Lama encourages kindness and compassion ~ Being kind makes us happy. Right here. Right now.

If you’re interested:

19. Know Your Virtues « Regina's Cove - August 31, 2011

[…] Virtue (nrhatch.wordpress.com) Share this:TwitterRedditEmailFacebookDiggPrintStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post.  August 31, 2011  Regina Categories: Advice Tags: Ethics, Family, Philosophy, Tao Te Ching, Virtue, Virtue Theory […]

Sorry comments are closed for this entry

%d bloggers like this: