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.

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.

Gustave Dore, 1855-1861, Dante’s The Divine Comedy-Inferno, Canto XXXIV
Meaning, Virtue

Self-Deception: A Trip to the Underworld (2/3)

We don’t want to venture down there and face the damage we have caused. The alternative however, is more devastation every time the truth comes knocking; and it will keep coming. So, we muster every ounce of courage we have left, open the hatch door, and delve underground.

John Singer Sargent, 1919, Synagogue, Boston Public Library
Meaning, Virtue

Self-Deception- A Fragile Fantasy (1/3)

Even though we may think the ‘reality’ we have built is solid, when it holds no truth, it is under constant danger of collapsing. One cracked brick is no big deal, but if every brick we use is cracked, we end up with a completely unstable structure.

Anonymous, 1796, British Museum.
Exploring Philosophy, Virtue

Envy or Emulation

When we compare ourselves to others, we highlight our differences and in doing so, highlight our own inferiorities. We start believing that we are unhappy because of these things we lack in comparison, and envy creeps in.