Temperance bearing an hourglass; detail Lorenzetti's Allegory of Good Government, 1338
Exploring Philosophy, Virtue

A Tale of Temperance

In recent history, the virtue of temperance has been associated with strict asceticism. A joyless lifestyle, filled with self-deprivation and suppression. But temperance was never meant to be an extreme. When we look further back in time, we find its essence and purpose. Quotes from Aristotle, Aquinas, Seneca & more.

'A tree with a path and a bay' 1976, by M.A.C.T.. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY
Exploring Philosophy, Meaning, Virtue

C. S. Lewis and the Law of Nature

In his book ‘Mere Christianity’, C.S Lewis speaks about the ‘Law of Right and Wrong’ or the ‘Law of Nature’. “…human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it.”

William Merritt Chase, c.1887, Young Woman Before a Mirror
Circumstance, Meaning, Virtue

Listening to Low Self-Esteem

Jane Austen in 1814 said; “We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be”. Instead of believing that feelings of low self-esteem must be cast away immediately, first hear what they have to say.

Malnazar and Aghap'ir, 1637 - 1638, David in Prayer
Virtue

The Trouble with Compassion

Like handing someone a glass of water while they are engulfed in flames, it does very little. The danger is that we are only really fulfilling our own need or want to be ‘compassionate’ people, in this vain sense.

Jean-François Millet, Potato Planters, 1861
Meaning

Start Small and Let It Be Ugly

There are many things we wish we could change to be closer to who we want to be; the difficulty comes in how to make those changes.

Carlo Crivelli, 1486, 'The Annunciation, with Saint Emidius'
Circumstance, Meaning

What Does Life Expect of Us?

The old moral philosophers called it the ‘finis ultimus’ (utmost aim) or ‘summum bonum’ (greatest good). The utmost to aim for in terms of our character, for those around us and our society.

Exploring Philosophy

The Divine Watchmaker

“As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.”

Jean-François Millet, 1857-59, The Angelus.
Meaning

We Are All Living in Faith

It seems the concept of faith has been hijacked, and is openly sneered upon. It is dismissed as nonsense and those who indulge in it as naive and not existing in the ‘real’ world. But by simply choosing to be alive means we have faith.