W o K     :     Ways of Knowing

A Virtual Seminar


Saving Aristotle's "Man on the Rack"

This talk concentrated on one aspect of the WH's background. Specifically, what would it mean to accept everything as “complete”? “Completeness” here bears on what to the ordinary mind are many distinct issues. Two of these are “happiness” and “the right way to be”. Many ancients in both East & West called the latter “virtue”. For WH, “virtue” and “happiness” are linked, to each other and to Completeness.

A very ancient controversy concerned this point, the extent to which happiness is linked to virtue. For WH, the link is maximally tight: true happiness is inseparable from virtue, “being real”.

So in my talk, I discussed this equation:
Being right (real) = happiness = Completeness.

Many ancient contemplatives & philosophers held that virtue was sufficient for happiness. Aristotle, however, was more “reasonable”: he agreed that virtue (contemplation of reality & living accordingly) was indeed the primary factor, but observed that without a minimum level of benign conditions, lucky circumstances, happiness was precluded. So for Aristotle, “not all that is, is complete”.

Opponents of Aristotle held to the contrary, that someone who truly understood virtue would maintain happiness in the face of all adverse circumstances. Their bottom line: virtue is the necessary and sufficient condition for happiness! WH agrees, while taking an even more radically inclusive view than that of the classical Greeks. We discussed how this perspective might be understood and applied in real life. I distinguished between ordinary notions of happiness and another kind, more related to WH and to reality itself.

I concluded with some basic questions about how this would be understood in a modern scientific context, and we discussed that and other related questions for most of our time together in the VR space.


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