Ethics 1, Question 9
Compare and contrast the Nine Virtues described in the ADF Dedicant Path and prominent values in the dominant culture of the country in which you live. (200 words minimum)
My DP work on the Nine Virtues may be found in at Segoi: The Nine Pagan Virtues" for reference.
- Wisdom – The intersection of knowing right and doing right. While I thought for a long time that this was a shared value, I noticed that the confirmation process of Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court did not center on her judicial record (which many of those who declared a "no" vote stated was impeccable), but rather centered on two or three comments outside the courtroom. It astounded me that someone who had shown such wisdom on the bench could have that wisdom ignored. While this is an isolated incident, it is also alarming if such a trend continues. Still, I think this value is shared, though there is a twist on it: many people want their wisdom to be "blind," not visionary, at least on the courts.
- Vision – Seeing the connection between things and the rta. Vision is greatly important in business circles: there are entire firms dedicated to helping businesses write mission statements and vision statements. Projects with clear timelines and benchmarks that take into account all possibilities are looked favourably upon.
- Piety – Participating in the *ghosti- relationship through action. Of the First Function Virtues, this is least respected in our culture: between a notion that mystical visionaries are mentally imbalanced and the idea of piety as "going through the motions" (and this being a bad thing), "pious" has become somewhat of an insult in some circles. While some deeply religious people are idolized (Billy Graham comes to mind) and it is of great importance to some people whether our president is a "good Christian" or not, the wider value of piety itself is not, generally, a shared value in this culture.
- Courage – Action in the face of fear. I believe this society values certain types of courage greatly, with monuments to The Unknown Soldier, Congressional Medals of Honour, and Nobel Peace Prizes. It does not, however, value all types of courage: welfare mothers are looked down on even though they fight as hard as any other mother; conscientious objectors have no monuments; and American Idol does major business on people who have the courage to perform on national television, but do nt necessarily have the talent to do so.
- Integrity – The state of being whole and maintaining right agreements. Integrity is clearly a value of our society: we want agreements maintained, contracts honoured, and we enforce these agreements and contracts with laws (and on television, with Judge Judy and Judge Joe Brown). As children, we are taught to honour bets and accept "double dog dares." This may be the most widely accpeted value in our society: honesty and the notion of agreements being binding.
- Perseverence – Manifestation of motivation. Hard work is valued, and those who don't succeed are often looked down upon (the notion that homeless people "just didn't try hard enough" to keep their homes is a common perception). Our society tends to believe that if you start in the mailroom, you can reach the CEO's office through sheer will (and some people actually can). The issue comes in when those who fail to persevere (and there are far more mailroom jobs than there are CEO jobs) are looked down on because of a failure to arrive at the highest point possible.
- Hospitality – Participating in *ghosti- relationships in general. Many people value hospitality, but do not necessarily understand it well: I have one friend who has helped move another friend across town several times, but the friend who has been moved has never actually thanked the friend who helped her move, despite an avowed fidelity to hospitality. While I think that hospitality is definitely a shared value, understandings of it fluctuate greatly within the community about what, exactly, it means.
- Moderation – The rock of knowledge of limits and necessity. Those who understand concepts of balance, as well as those who can reach their limits without overreaching them are looked on positively. Those who have gone too far and have rectified their issues (recovering alcoholics, persons who worked their way out of debt, etc.) are also generally respected. Those who reach too far, or extend beyond their own reach, are usually looked down upon by most. This is clearly a shared value.
- Fertility – The maintenance of creation. Entrepenuership is looked upon with approval, as is great musical or literary talent. Actors are idolized and every kid wants to be a scientist who discovers something new. On the other hand, those who are no longer creating are looked on with derision, known as "selling out": the actor who takes parts for money and doesn't produce good movies, or the musician whose music starts to sound the same as everyone else's when she gets onto a major label. Fertility is clearly valued in this society.
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