Het goede oefenen – The Philosophers’ Mail

Alain de Botton nog eens, deze keer over de deugd ‘goedheid’ en de pejoratieve connotaties die deze vandaag de dag heeft. Net zoals je fysieke spierballen kan kweken in de gym, kun je ook ethische veerkracht trainen. Aristoteles had zijn lijstje van twaalf, christenen hebben een lijstje van zeven en Alain de Botton geeft hier zijn lijstje van 10 Deugden voor de Moderne Mens weg.

ChristusdoornWhy does being ‘a good person’ have such a bad name? In the modern world, the idea of trying to be good or kind conjures up all sorts of negative associations: of piety, solemnity, bloodlessness and sexual renunciation. It’s telling that ‘wicked’ has even become a term of praise.And yet the project of being good is as vital, or even more important, for the individual and society as is the project of being healthy. Yet while we have no problem with going to the gym to get fitter, it sounds deeply weird, even creepy, to suggest that one might ‘work’ at being better or nicer.That’s because we imagine that practice has nothing to do with being good – and if it is involved, then it’s merely a route to being fake. We assume you just are good or are not but exercise is not involved. This seems profoundly mistaken. Just as we have physical muscles, so we have ethical ones, and they too must be put through their paces. Goodness has to be worked at. [via The Philosophers’ Mail.]

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