Friday, July 6, 2012

Remember this continually.......

"It was clear to Marcus, as it was to Plato, that men are only brokenly and partially rational, that their reason is seated atop a volcano of seething feelings and desires, and that these lower parts of human nature are continually pushing aside the counsels of reflective foresight.  Such foresight, as a modern evolutionist would put it, is a recent and fragile addition to the complement of human faculties; and, as Marcus insists, we are cousins of the animals in the nonrational parts of our being.  In most men still the animal impulses of hunger, fear, lust, anger, gregariousness, and the emotions that form part of them, dominate conduct and make impartial judgment all but impossible.  It was the realization of this fact of human nature that made Marcus the compassionate mind that he was.  Men did not choose evil as evil; their passions first gilded it for them into the guise of something good, and thus they acted under illusion. " 'No soul,' says the philosopher Plato, 'willfully misses truth'; no, nor justice either, nor wisdom, nor charity, nor any other excellence.  It is essential to remember this continually; it will make you gentler with every one."'
-Brand Blanshard, excerpted from his essay on Marcus Aurelius in Four Reasonable Men

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