So, the first two virtues of wisdom and courage are needed to recognize and accept the call to adventure. Once the call is accepted, then the individual is transported into the adventure.
The one goal of the adventure is to capture the boon or gift for society that was the reason for the quest in the first place. As Campbell teaches, the virtue of moderation or temperance is needed to combat the many temptations that will be encountered in the quest for the boon.
I don’t think that the virtue of moderation is needed before accepting the call to adventure, but it doesn’t hurt. Also, without moderation, the individual will most likely not endure the adventure and will return back to the everyday world with the knowledge that the adventure is lost, as is any chance for happiness. How many times have we heard of those who inherit large sums of money, or a family business, or even win the lottery, only to squander the newly-aquired wealth. Soon, the individual is left with nothing and no chance of ever returning to wonders of the adventure.
Also, Campbell teaches that adventurer may not have had enough exposure to risks, and is not strong enough to withstand the forces that must be battled to capture the boon. This failure is not due to a lack of moderation but a lack of proper training and preparation. In this case, the individual also returns to the everyday world but with the understanding that in the future a new adventure may come along. The individual still has the wisdom and courage to recognize and accept the new call, and hopefully the moderation to avoid temptations, but may need to engage in additional exposure activities to gain the proper training for future battles.
Of course, there are those who do have the proper training and preparation but lack the virtues. In this case, these individuals will never recognize or have the courage to enter into the adventure; they will be denied happiness in the future.
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!
This book is meant for everyone. It provides the roadmap for all of us no matter which gallery of life we may be in today.
This book is especially important for:
1) those who are stuck in a rut or are having a mid-life crisis,
2) those that have a passion to do something, but afraid to take it to the next level,
3) entrepreneurs that need some encouragement along the way to deal with the many risks that they will encounter (small business owners, professionals in private practice, intrapreneurs, and managers looking to instill entrepreneurship and creativity among their workers),
4) anyone who is unsure were they are heading in life,
5) anyone who is looking for inspiration and a little help along the way.
If you pass others on the street and they kind of have the look of those in the painting by Munch, you are not along. This book can help you break from the crowd, like the lone figure in the painting, and begin your journey to the blue horizon.
Roadmap to Happiness, Part I
In my three previous posts I discussed how the philosophers, classicists, and psychologists present their own means of achieving happiness.
Unfortunately, each one by itself does not really get us to where we need to be. Each takes us along the road for a while but then abruptly stops and we are abandoned by the side of the road.
However, if you add the three together, you get something very special – a roadmap that you can rely on to get you to where you need to go.
The modern psychologists give us the road to follow for the first half of the journey. The classicists continue the road, around the corner, for the second half of the journey, and the ancient philosophers give us the distance blue horizon that we all are looking for. If you add the three together, you get a remarkable roadmap to the horizon – happiness.
But that is not all. There is much more to come.