Virtue: A Must Have for Happiness

In my last post, I promised to discuss ballet pieces that help to represent the call to adventure. I want to discuss something different now only because there appears to be a lot of interest in exploring the world of virtue.

The philosophers go to great pains to define the virtues that are needed in life.  There are dozens of virtues extolled by many different philosophers.  However, I would like to focus on just four: wisdom (also called prudence), courage (also called fortitude), moderation (also called temperance), and  justice (which has many definitions one of which is a concern for the proper welfare of the community).  These four virtues are called the “cardinal virtues” and are basic to leading a virtuous life, encompassing all the other virtues.

So, why focus on the four virtues?  Because they provide the means for a virtuous life.  So, why be concerned with leading a virtuous life?  SImply, and as presented by the great artists as well as the great myths, a virtuous life is needed to reach happiness.  And, happiness is what the philosophers (especially Aristotle and St. Aquinas) tell us we all seek in life, and what the positive psychologists tell us we are all motivated to attain in our lives.

If we reach the level of proper self-esteem, based on years of involvement with others and exposure to the many risks of life, we will need the first two of the virtues to accept the call to adventure, if sent: wisdom and courage.  These two virtues are acquired during our experiences with others and our taking of risks to enhance our self-esteem.  In fact, many of the ancient philosophers tell us that wisdom is the most important of the four virtues.  I can’t agree more: without wisdom there is no adventure, and without an adventure, there is no possibility for happiness.

More to come!

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