Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two dimensions of a spiritual skateboarder

People have a tendency to avoid discomfort and to pursue comfort. This principle commonly finds expression in three ways:

a) 'Laziness': people often find it hard to expand themselves in a given area: to sharpen one's intellect, to develop new skills, to earn an income, etc. This is because expansion generally requires effort and struggle.

b) Fear: perhaps the element underlying all human psychological limitations, fear paralyzes people  and prevents them from acheiving their goals.

c) Indulgence: people generally like the path of least resistence. If a desire presents itself, the indulgent person gives into it and is sidetracked from attaining a goal.

The virtues needed to overcome these weaknesses are industriousness, courage, and self-control:

 a) Industriousness is the ability to put in effort and hard work toward acheiving a goal.


b) Courgage is where one feels fear but overides it in order to attain a goal.


  c) Self-control involves curbing desires and instincts so they don't distract one from a goal.

In skateboarding , success is largely the product of the convergence of these virtues. The 'lazy' skater is too tired to practice and develop his skills; the cowardly skater sticks to the safer tricks; and the indulgent skater gets distracted from practicing due to temptations. Industiousness, courage, and  self-control are key qualities in a skater's progress.

However, though these qualities are 'virtues', they are not neccessarily 'moral' vitues. This is evident in the fact that a person seeking to steel from others may employ these 'virtues' in order to succeed. Indeed, we find that the most infamous tyrants employed these virtues in hienously immoral ways.

So what are moral virtues? Here are four central moral vitrues:

1. Non- harm: This involves restraining oneself from unjustifiedly causing harm to others when one is tempted to do so;
2. Kindness: Helping others in need of support and co-operating with others to acheive a common goal;
3. Fairness: Treating people equally, especially when one is in a position of authority; not discriminating without justification.
4. Honesty: Without honesty the other three moral virtues are undermined, for people assume that one is feigning beneficence or fairness for selfish ends.

In summary:

Industiousnness + courage + self-control = a good skater

Non- harm + Kindness + fairness + honesty = a good person 

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