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Postby Ben2747 » 04 May 2008, 22:01

Lioba wrote:Hi, Ben- yes I´moving to fortitude. As I said, their is a lot more to Justice, but I tried to look at those parts that would touch our personal responsibility.
It seems not much what I said, but if you reflect it -especially my comment to the little word "them", there is much more in it.
The words about living simply so that others might simply live are known also in Germany. Their is one advantage about having Ratzi as Pope- everybody is now interested in the catholic statements.
About the philosophers- obviously nobody likes german philosophers-even the Germans themselves! Everybody respects and fears Kant, some enjoy Schopenhauers strange mixture of Idealisme and Misanthropics, many pretend to have understood Hegel and all are happy that Heidegger made a few political mistakes, so nobody has to like him. Honestly - I can not say, that I have more sympathy for Sartre and Beauvoir.
What about american philosophers?


American what? Sorry - never heard of such a thing, so you took me by surprise. I suffer from a common American syndrome - the complete inability to tolerate anything abstract. Insofar as philosophy has departed from the pursuit of truths that are drawn from experience, rather than the exclusive atmosphere of academia, I simply don't have patience for "philosophy." I love Plato, Aristotle, and Aquinas, was mildly amused by Rousseau and Nietzsche, and could not resist the guilty pleasure of Machiavelli - but I really don't read much philosophy anymore. I don't think I'm hostile to intellectual pursuits, per se - I just find that most philosophy doesn't really fit the definition of the word. If it's not drawn from the world around us, and doesn't really give illumination to the things of our experience, I just sort of shrug. It has to be about "stuff" - otherwise, I don't care, and don't know how I would go about evaluating it to see if it's true.

So - on to fortitude. Do you think it has any relation to physical endurance? I am curious about the old custom of training children in gymnastics. Gymnastics and music. I was wondering if music might aid in the development of prudence and justice, and gymnastics aid with temperance and fortutide. Perhaps music would also be important for temperance. Do you remember - I think it was in Plato's Symposium, where the dialogue centers on Socrates' physical endurance? He marched barefoot on a campaign, in the winter, and would stand outside all night in contemplation. His courage in the face of death made a deep impression on me when I was in high school - and I was not surprised that someone like that would exhibit such remarkable physical endurance, as well.
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Postby Lioba » 05 May 2008, 08:42

So this also is our way: to risk most freely, where we had reflected best.
In others only ignorance begets fortitude, reflection begets reluctance.
That´s from one of Pericles´speeches and is quoted by Pieper.

_________________
As I have no better translation of the Quote, I will take mine.
To your question regarding a persons constitiution helping to develop fortitude.Pieper also thougt about this. He says, that physical strenth and robust mental health are an advantage in developing the virtue of fortitude, but that by grace a seemingly week person can develop it too.
you askerd about thwevalue of gymnastics and music, both have a postive influence on health and character, especially regarding indurance, concentration and balance.
Now to the quote:
What Pericles wanted to show, that their different kinds of fortitude. Their is a fortitude coming from ignoring the dangers, the price to be payed. In a kind of naive euphory people run into adventure, war, martyrdom or any other kind of trouble.If they had thougt twice, they probably would not have done so.
This is not the virtue of fortitude!
Fortitude as a virtue is working in harmony with the other virtues:
Reflecting best-that´s prudence-seeing the reality-the danger, the price to be paid but also the necessity to go this way and then deceiding to do what´s right and not what´s easy- there is justice, that is the point where fortitude comes in.
Pieper distinguishes two kinds of fortitude- a more passive one that brings you to hold on , stand your ground and another one,that leads you to act , it´s more aggressive.Thomas says, that in this form of fortitude, anger can have a place, as it leads you forward, but only as long asd it does´n´t lead you to far, loosing control.
Thomas also see different degrees of virtue regarding the development in your christian life.Their is the fortitude shown towards the world around you, but their is fortitude in your inner struggles.
Enough for today,I must work.
P.S: So America is really a country of pragmatists- what are you doing with people, who tend to the abstract???
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Postby Ben2747 » 05 May 2008, 12:10

Lioba wrote:So this also is our way: to risk most freely, where we had reflected best.
In others only ignorance begets fortitude, reflection begets reluctance.
That´s from one of Pericles´speeches and is quoted by Pieper.

_________________
As I have no better translation of the Quote, I will take mine.
To your question regarding a persons constitiution helping to develop fortitude.Pieper also thougt about this. He says, that physical strenth and robust mental health are an advantage in developing the virtue of fortitude, but that by grace a seemingly week person can develop it too.
you askerd about thwevalue of gymnastics and music, both have a postive influence on health and character, especially regarding indurance, concentration and balance.
Now to the quote:
What Pericles wanted to show, that their different kinds of fortitude. Their is a fortitude coming from ignoring the dangers, the price to be payed. In a kind of naive euphory people run into adventure, war, martyrdom or any other kind of trouble.If they had thougt twice, they probably would not have done so.
This is not the virtue of fortitude!
Fortitude as a virtue is working in harmony with the other virtues:
Reflecting best-that´s prudence-seeing the reality-the danger, the price to be paid but also the necessity to go this way and then deceiding to do what´s right and not what´s easy- there is justice, that is the point where fortitude comes in.
Pieper distinguishes two kinds of fortitude- a more passive one that brings you to hold on , stand your ground and another one,that leads you to act , it´s more aggressive.Thomas says, that in this form of fortitude, anger can have a place, as it leads you forward, but only as long asd it does´n´t lead you to far, loosing control.
Thomas also see different degrees of virtue regarding the development in your christian life.Their is the fortitude shown towards the world around you, but their is fortitude in your inner struggles.
Enough for today,I must work.
P.S: So America is really a country of pragmatists- what are you doing with people, who tend to the abstract???


I was rereading Plutarch's biography of Pericles last night, in the hope I could find this passage. Not yet. Yes, it's a country of pragmatists - deTocqueville observed this quite early when he was here on assigment for the French government. This is positive and negative, at the same time. On the negative side, our obsession with business and politics can obscure the value of liberal pursuits. On the positive side, if what we define as "philosophy" has become corrupted, our pragmatic bias can at least remove us from some of its harmful effects!

This naive euphoria you describe - I think we would call it "rashness." Aristotle talks about it as the other extreme of cowardice, in the section on courage. The Irish in me enjoyed his comments about the rashness of the Celts, who fear neither fire, earthquake, nor storm - a courage he thinks not befitting a rational man.

You say Pieper distinguishes two kinds of fortitude - this is interesting. I have never heard this, before. Is it really two kinds of things, or is prudence dictating the kind of action warranted by circumstances?
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Postby Lioba » 05 May 2008, 15:24

Ben, it is a bit difficult for me to explain, I think that it is more about two aspects of fortitude, two branches on one tree.Thomas also mentions it, but their not really two sorts of fortitude, more two ways of acting. Zhomas and Pieper say, that fortutude as standing your ground is connected to patience and endurance. The more active way of fortitude is more aggressive. in German we really have different words to express it.
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Postby Ben2747 » 05 May 2008, 17:00

Lioba wrote:Ben, it is a bit difficult for me to explain, I think that it is more about two aspects of fortitude, two branches on one tree.Thomas also mentions it, but their not really two sorts of fortitude, more two ways of acting. Zhomas and Pieper say, that fortutude as standing your ground is connected to patience and endurance. The more active way of fortitude is more aggressive. in German we really have different words to express it.


I had never known this before- how interesting! I found summary of Aquinas on the theological and cardinal virtues that I thought was helpful, and it contains this passage on fortitude:

The respective parts of fortitude, on the attacking side, are
confidence, carried out with magnificence, which reckons not the
cost, and magnanimity, which does not shrink from glory. On the
defensive side is patience, which keeps an unconquered spirit, and
can be protracted into perseverance.


Here's the link - it's from Fr. John Hardon, who is really good.

http://ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/MEANVIR.TXT
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Postby Lioba » 06 May 2008, 07:58

Thank you Ben, this quote expresses exactly, what I wanted to say!
Oh, and thank you for the link!
Lioba
P.S. Obviously your celtic heritage has gained a lot of patience! Another heritage or just training in the virtues? :smile:
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Postby Ben2747 » 06 May 2008, 12:51

Lioba wrote:Thank you Ben, this quote expresses exactly, what I wanted to say!
Oh, and thank you for the link!
Lioba
P.S. Obviously your celtic heritage has gained a lot of patience! Another heritage or just training in the virtues? :smile:


Glad you liked it. I'm not sure if it's "nature or nurture." I'm primarily German and Irish - perhaps the German blood provides some "stability" for the Irish side?
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Postby Lioba » 06 May 2008, 20:40

Hi, Ben- I don´t know if germans are very patient, but I think they tend to loyalty and hm Kontinuität?what could that be in English- continuity?For example, I often hear people talk about being friends- for me it can take years, before I say someone is my friend, even when I like the person from the first moment, but then it ´s for a lifetime.
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Postby Ben2747 » 07 May 2008, 01:12

Lioba wrote:Hi, Ben- I don´t know if germans are very patient, but I think they tend to loyalty and hm Kontinuität?what could that be in English- continuity?For example, I often hear people talk about being friends- for me it can take years, before I say someone is my friend, even when I like the person from the first moment, but then it ´s for a lifetime.


Yes - continuity. I would recommend that you read Cicero, On Friendship. He makes the statement that it is a fortunate man who has one truly good friend in his lifetime - and a blessed man who has two. Generally, we have relationships that are useful, or good for diversion - but few of these are actually friendship.

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/cicero-laelius-melmoth.html
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Postby Lioba » 08 May 2008, 07:49

The last link: yes-this thougts are very good and clear.for this week, I won´t probably have no time to write, I hope, I will be back here middle of next week- a blessed weekend to all of you.
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Postby Ben2747 » 14 May 2008, 13:17

Lioba wrote:The last link: yes-this thougts are very good and clear.for this week, I won´t probably have no time to write, I hope, I will be back here middle of next week- a blessed weekend to all of you.


In retrospect, it's probably not a very useful link, especially to someone for whom English is not a first language. I haven't read this letter in 15 years, and had forgotten how cumbersome Cicero is when translated. To quote one sentence:

In the treatise I lately inscribed to you on Old Age, I represented the elder Cato as the principal speaker, being persuaded that no person could, with more weight and propriety, be introduced as delivering his ideas in relation to that advanced state than one who had so long flourished in it with unequalled spirit and vigour.


5 clauses - and this is not the worst! That's the way it always is with Cicero. Anyhow, hope you can find it in German. It would be much easier. In reflecting on this whole discussion, I realize that almost all of my recommendations are of pagan authors, with just a sprinkling of Aquinas for the purposes of commentary. I suppose I could start throwing in Averroes (known as "The Commentator" - for his commentaries on Aristotle) to add a Muslim influence. I hope all of these recommendations are not leading you to embrace Paganism!
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Postby Lioba » 15 May 2008, 15:11

Ben, don´t worry. German sentences are often complicated and long.
Many things that can be expressesd throug participles in English, need a whole sentence in German.
Okay, Bonhoeffer as promised.
When Bonhoeffer was a teenager, he dreamt of having a heroic life and death.But first he only was an idealistic intellectual, leeding a rather peacefull life as a bachelor with a few friends and a lot of books.
But when Hitler tried to take over the control of the German protestant church, Bonhoeffer refused every compromise, keeping his seminary independant at any cost. He didn´t think much of himself because of this. He said, that he was luckier than many others, having a good education and being financially independant thanks to his family.
When things got worse, he was invited by hies american friends.So he travelled to the States and lived as guest-teacher of an American seminary.He was gratefull, but he found no inner peace.so he returned to Germany and became part of a resistance-group, that helped people to leave Gemany and planned to kill Hitler.
During this time, the convinced bachelor fell in love and was engaged to a young girl, that had contacts to his group.
A short time after he was imprisoned and when the war was almost over, he was hanged.
In Bonhoeffer, I see both aspects of fortitude- he resisted wrong compromises as a seminary-leader and later in prison.He stood his ground. Returning from America and helping to build up the resistance was active- he could have stayed in the USA, but he deceided to go back and work actively, knowing that it could cost his life.What touched me most, was the fact, that he learned to love life, to enjoy friendship and love just in this time.He was not throwing away his life, because it didn´t mean much to him.He risked his life, because he knew, that his belief was worth to do so.Therfore he is in my eyes a good example for fortitude as a virtue.
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Postby Lioba » 15 May 2008, 15:11

Temperance has to wait a while, as I have a busy time.
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Postby Lioba » 25 May 2008, 20:12

The Terms Prudence, Justice and Fortitude are wellknown, even when they were not always used after the classical definitions.But Temperance sounds a bit strange to most people-it´s often connected with negation- don´t be so emotional, angry, sensual etc.; do not eat or drink so much.
It seems to be contradictional to every kind of intensity, resulting in luke-warm mediocrity.
But that´s not what Temperance as a main-virtue means.
In old allegorical paintings Temperance is shown as a woman with two jars in her hands, mixing together either hot and cold water or wine and water.
This symbolises one spect of temperance-balance, the finding of the right measure. To develop this in a persons life, self- discipline is necessary.
so temperance is in the first line something positive and active.
Pieper says, that temperance is realised by finding the right measure for everything and living according to it through discipline.
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Postby Lioba » 25 May 2008, 20:26

Neither Thomas nor Pieper like a temperance, that rejects Strength and Intensity or that just looks for a overcarefull lifestyle that only is interested in selfish self-preservation and is unconcerned towards the demands of god or the common wellbeing.
One important result of real temperance is inner peace and balance, that encourages patience .Patience is connected to endurance and steadfastness, which belong to fortitude.
More tomorrow- it´s bedtime for me.
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