Monday, September 11, 2017
We Don't Like to Contemplate Our Vices, But Could Reap the Easiest Benefit from Doing So
It is easier to contemplate our virtuous habits than our vicious ones, because we don't want to think about the ways we are vicious.
Yet Aristotle is right that contemplation leads to the highest happiness. I take this to mean that happiness requires the continuous feedback of contemplation of our habits, both the good habits and the bad ones. Gretchen Rubin, in The Happiness Project, found that she was made happier by reducing her bad habits than by increasing her good ones.
Contemplating our vices, and reducing the habitual ways in which we engage in them, are the low-hanging fruit for increasing our own happiness. But, for the reason given above, we resist contemplating our vices.