Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Suffering Turned to Holiness is the Highest Happiness

Another good one from David Brooks, "What Suffering Does."  His main point:

The right response to this sort of pain is not pleasure. It’s holiness. ... It means seeing life as a moral drama, placing the hard experiences in a moral context and trying to redeem something bad by turning it into something sacred.
Amen.  And this is a conclusion that you have to choose for yourself.  It is a hard choice. I don't think those who do not get there are to be blamed.

But there is a further step, which takes us back to happiness. At the end of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle says that the highest happiness comes from contemplation.  This comes as a bit of a surprise, after the first nine books talk about how to achieve happiness through action. 

I believe, though, that Aristotle is right.  It is only in contemplating the fruits of a life of active virtue that we can have a deeper understanding of what happiness is.  And the deepest understanding comes from contemplating suffering turned into holiness.

Monday, April 07, 2014

The Less You Know, The More You Want to Invade Ukraine

"The further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily."

That is the scary conclusion of a study that compared which policy position people favored toward Ukraine with their actual knowledge of where Ukraine is on a map.

This supports my view that knowledge tends to mitigate violence.