02 December 2014

The Trick to Being More Virtuous

In truth, demand is far more important than supply: We get more of what we signal we want through our dollars, clicks and votes. If our politics are too often poisonous, it is because, as a society, we are demanding too much poison. If we want to grow in virtue, and experience a healthier, more productive political environment, each of us must demand more virtue.
We should ask ourselves: What will my next click say about my desires? Will the next article about politics I read elevate me? Or will it be a pathogen that provides momentary satisfaction from an eloquent insult to my enemies, but ultimately fuels personal bitterness and increases the climate of acrimony in America? Can I pass it by instead and seek personal moral improvement?

 I love that passage from the recent NY Times opinion page article from Arthur Brooks entitled, "The Trick to Being More Virtuous."  The idea of 'moral elevation' being "an emotional state that leads us to act virtuously when exposed to the virtue of others."  I have zero doubt in that idea and love what the quoted passage above shares, that we should therefore make sure we are exposing ourselves to the most positive and virtuous things we can.  
Sounds like a perfect idea for a New Year's resolution to me.

3 comments:

  1. to clarify - my post was meant in sincerity.
    and as small fractional instant karma for your generosity in sharing the message in the first place.

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  2. Loved this article, love the sentiment. There are always potential moral pitfalls behind every choice, so being aware is the first step, then actively seeking the positive and avoiding the negative is only due diligence, I believe. Especially in the workplace, where gossip is so injurious to a school climate. Hard work to keep this in mind, every day. That's why we get new days, I guess!

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