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Nine Noble Virtues

2003-07-20

Category: philosophies

The Nine Noble Virtues

July 20, 2003

I have mentioned before that logic can be used to make your life smoother. Though it is simple to see how logic can be applied to solve specific problems, the general usage of logic is more difficult to see. To help with day-to-day living, I present these Nine Noble Virtues. By applying these virtues to your life, things will go better. Meditate on these things.

The Virtues are:
Described as:

Courage

There was an old saying: Fear profits a person nothing. What does that mean?

When directly threatened, fear tells you to get out of the way. That is a good thing. What about when you are not directly threatened? Does fear do any good then? Probably not.

Many times in your life you will be faced with a situation that may induce fear. Looking for a new job; asking out that attractive person; performing on stage; or any of an innumerable list of things may present themselves. Fear may keep you from acting.

There is rarely anything to fear. The worst possible result is usually something simple like embarrassment. That isn't a direct threat. You must over come your fear.

Another saying was: A sleeping wolf gets no bone, nor a sleeping person victory. The modern version of this is "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." The idea is simple; you can't get ahead if you don't try.

Look at the fear you may be feeling and see if it has any merit. If not, ignore it for the moment. As you develop the habit of analyzing your fear it will become easier. One day you will realize that your are brave.

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Truth

Truth is a tricky idea. Everybody has his or her own idea about what is truth, how much truth is good, how do you tell what is true? I can't tell you the full range of absolute truth. I also can't tell you how to tell if someone is being false. I can give you some things to think about.

Truth starts on the inside. You must turn your vision inward to see what you really want and what you really think. You must be honest with yourself about what you see. It may be noble or it might be petty. You must look at both. Then you will understand the truth of yourself.

Next you must turn your eyes outward. The world is a complex place and difficult to comprehend. You must seek to separate truth from falsehood. It is important to realize that others will also have trouble seeing the truth. Be leery of those who claim to know.

When you know the truth of the inside and the truth of the outside, then you must act accordingly. Your actions will be true. This makes no comment on the moral rightness or wrongness of your actions. You must be aware of the consequences and be willing to live with them.

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Honor

Honor is a direct result of acting with truth and courage. If you know what you really must do and you have the courage to do it, then you will have personal honor. But there is more to it than that.

Remember that truth involves seeing the rest of the world for what it is. When you act, you must take into consideration the existence of all the other things. Not just people and animals but all other things as well. There is no honor in random destruction even of inanimate materials. To gain external honor you must use your strengths not only in your own best interest but in the interest of others.

Honor is difficult to describe because of its complexity. If you act with truth and courage, you should be safe.

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Fidelity

Fidelity is the sense that others can rely on you. This is very important because it affects how they trust you. Your folk, employer, religion, all of these groups need to know that they can count on you. Can your spouse or significant other trust you? How about your kids?

By building a habit of fidelity, others will consider you more important and will be willing to make sacrifices for you. You may need that help some day.

But it’s not a one way street. You must associate with people whom you can count on and be willing to make sacrifices for them. This mutual trust really makes a difference in the flow of life for everyone involved.

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Discipline

It’s not just others who need to be able to count on you. You must be able to rely on yourself. That’s where discipline comes in.

When there are things that need done, do you wait till someone makes you do them? That’s not good. You need to be able to make yourself do things. You must overcome apathy.

By concentrating on your works and putting forth the needed effort to accomplish things, you will gain skill. The increase in skill will make future endeavors easier. All that is really needed is an effort on your part to make yourself do things you know you need to do anyway.

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Hospitality

An extension of fidelity is hospitality. When you have guests, you must treat them with care and respect. They are relying on you to provide for them. Without destroying yourself in the process, you must give the best that you can.

This extends to your place of employment. Customers and vendors are your guests in the work setting. They should be given courtesy and be treated with respect.

The opposite side of this is that a guest should be respectful of the host and not overstay their welcome. Nor should a guest place too great a burden on the resources of the host. If you are a customer, you should treat the vendor with respect. Pleasant guests are more welcome. Pleasant customers get better service.

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Industriousness

An extension on discipline is industriousness. You have a finite amount of life in which to accomplish all that you need to do. That’s a lot of work. Best to get started soon.

By making the extra effort to accomplish things, you build skill. More skill allows you to work more efficiently. That means you can finish even more things.

Industriousness has another side effect. If you work hard, you will accumulate more stuff. That may sound greedy but it is really practical. First, you will have what you need during hard times. In the cold of winter you will have a warm hearth and plenty of food.

Secondly, it means you may acquire enough that you can help those in need. Remember the fidelity thing? It is easier to help your community if you have enough with which to help.

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Self-Reliance

You must always be able to rely on yourself. That is one of the big reasons for the discipline and truth virtues. Most of the other virtues show that you must be able to rely on yourself because others can’t rely on you if you can’t?

So, what does self-reliance mean? To start with, you must not engage in activities that are strongly self destructive with no real benefit. This would be things like illicit drug use. The entertainment you get from it does not outweigh the damage you do to yourself. This is different from the firefighter or soldier who does dangerous things. The goal of the firefighter is not the self-destructive action but is instead the greater good.

Self-reliance also means learning enough about how to live in your world so that you are not purely at the mercy of every little thing that comes up. Examples include knowing how to do simple repairs to your home or vehicle. You should put away a little money so that you can handle sudden expenses without being financially crippled. Know first aid and be prepared with proper supplies. If you really want to get into it, take a self-defense class so that you can handle those circumstances as well.

Do you really need to do the repairs on your car? No, you can still have someone do that for you. Still, you should have some idea of what that person is doing. Most auto repair people are honest, but you don’t want to get ripped off if you catch one of the few who are not. The same goes for everything else in your life.

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Perseverance

All the other virtues are useless if you don’t keep plugging away at them. Are you honest all the time or just occasionally? Are you courageous all the time or just when it is convenient? If you want your life to run smooth, you must endeavor to practice these virtues constantly.

Sometimes things in life are difficult. You may feel worn down or overwhelmed. That’s OK. The world can be pretty big and complex. You should stop and let it crush you? No.

There is no reason to continue on a futile path, especially if there is another path to the same goal available. But if you really think the goal is important, you must keep trying.

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