Eudaimonia

While reading that nonsense from Lindy about being an astronaut the other day, something struck me. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the Millenials are simply spending far too much time in their parent’s basement. I mean, how long can you stay in your room before you go mad? Yes, electronics would make it better less horrible, but still.

I mean that’s what we call cabin fever, after a blizzard within a day or so, you’ll willingly shovel wet snowdrifts 10 feet high to get out of your house. Why? Usually, no reason except you’re down to you last gallon of milk for the two of you.

Look, I like my own company, and I spend a good deal of time interacting with others on line, and still if I don’t get out and around every day for a while, I get cranky. I like to think I’d be happy in a cabin in the mountains without all you idiots, and I would, for about five hours. 🙂 We all need people, preferably in person, but if they are good ones, on line can do, kind of, sort of. In fact, that’s why I have a lunatic respect for submariners (Hi Mac!). How anybody can volunteer to spend 60 days with only the 100 or so crazy guys on the crew, no matter how busy you are, I don’t understand. 😉

Quite a while back, Charlie Gilkey wrote an article on what Aristotle called  Eudaimonia, which he translated as ‘flourishing’. That translation works for our purposes, and I don’t do Greek, so we’ll agree. In it, he says…

  1. We are physical beings (because we are animals). As physical beings, we require nourishment, exercise, rest, and all the other things that it takes to keep our bodies functioning properly.
  2. We are emotional beings (because we are animals). What separates animals from plants, according to Aristotle, is that animals have wants, desires, urges, and reactions. We perceive something in the world that we want and we have the power of volition to get it; likewise, we have the power to avoid the things we don’t want. For humans, these wants can get pretty complex, but at rock bottom we all have (emotional) needs and wants that spring from rather basic sources.
  3. We are social beings (because humans live in groups). We must live and function in particular societies. “No man is an island,” and we are the type of being that does well only in social settings. Our social nature stacks on top of our emotional nature, such that we have wants and needs that we would not have were we not social creatures. For example, if we were the type of creature that flourished as hermits, the need for trust and friendly cooperation would not be nearly so pressing.
  4. We are rational beings. To the Greeks – and, let’s be honest, most cultures, including our own contemporary one – what made humans human was our rationality. We are creative, expressive, knowledge-seeking, and able to obey reason. We might not always obey reason and we may sometimes not want to exercise our minds, but a large part of our existence relates to our being rational animals.

That’s not all inclusive, at least to me, but he’s on to something here, I think. We do have to keep the machine maintained, decent food, the joints working, some fresh air all that. When I was a kid, there was that fad for fallout shelters, even as a kid (and a pretty young one) I wasn’t sure it was worthwhile if I was going to have to live in essentially a semi trailer for 6 months to a year. That’s still my trouble with some of the preppers. That just isn’t reasonable for human beings, unless you know it’s for a limited time, and the world will be out there waiting for you.

Well, it seems lately that we don’t need much encouragement to be emotional, or even overemotional. It’s important to note, but it seems to me that balance is lacking lately.

We can live in isolation, but I question how well. Perhaps the ones who did it best were the early Christian ascetics, and before all that long that had grown into monasticism, because, I’d guess, the ascetics found that God, for all his virtues, wasn’t very good day-to-day company. And that’s why holing up in Mom’s basement rarely works out well.

This to me seems the yang to emotions ying. Without rationality, we are simply animals, reason is what sets us apart. It has to be in balance, or we end up depraved (and deprived).

I said above that he was not all inclusive, and it’s not. That’s not a major fault if one is talking about Aristotle, because the source is, what is missing is God. But it is interesting, as Christians, we often refer to God as the Logos, which is also Greek, which in many ways is the original language of Christianity. It translates correctly as two things. Love, our emotional commitment to others, and as Reason, our commitment to rationality. Frankly, that is where Atheism and Objectivism fail, human beings are innately emotional, all of us, and it must be taken into account Both are gifts of God to humanity.

Of course, it’s up to us to use those gifts for good, and we could do better.

Advertisements

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

18 Responses to Eudaimonia

  1. the unit says:

    That explains why I’m always in the dog house! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      That’ll do it, everytime! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        And when I shoulda been sleeping I remembered this one. 🙂

        Like

      • the unit says:

        But I keep movin’. 🙂

        Like

  2. the unit says:

    You’ve mentioned your roots before. I should remember which country. Norway right?
    You probably already know this, but here’s a fellow who didn’t stay in anybodies basement. 🙂
    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/wood-raft-makes-4300-mile-voyage?cmpid=email-hist-tdih-2017-0807-08072017&om_rid=32c0eb303cefdf418b1b31ff1b1ff9594579ca83bcc0211620e16f6d72441fb4&om_mid=222558726&kx_EmailCampaignID=14110&kx_EmailCampaignName=email-hist-tdih-2017-0807-08072017&kx_EmailRecipientID=32c0eb303cefdf418b1b31ff1b1ff9594579ca83bcc0211620e16f6d72441fb4

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s the problem in the West, no more “Tarzan’s” anymore, and the belief that we need them! Proper myth has it’s place. But manhood is no myth that’s for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Indeed! Tarzans are important. Men need people to look up to, and besides he was the strong silent type.

      Like

    • Btw, C.S. Lewis and the Inklings, i.e. Chesterton, etc. were sort of paper Tarzan’s types for me! Where are our moral, intellectual and spiritual writers today? I’m sure there are some, but the culture now could care less!

      Liked by 1 person

      • And I know Chesterton was not an Inklings per se, but he surely affected them!

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s the whole point, who really affects us today?

          Liked by 1 person

        • See for example, Charles Williams and his book: Descent into Hell! He foresaw our path into cultural narcissism!

          Liked by 1 person

        • The key to Williams’ mystically oriented theological thought, Descent into Hell (arguably Williams’ greatest novel) is a multidimensional story about human beings who shut themselves up in their own narcissistic projections, so that they are no longer able to love, to ‘co-inhere.’ The result is a veritable hell.

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          And we’re seeing it now, in real life.

          Like

      • NEO says:

        There are, but not many.

        Like

        • Agree, but God does have his faithful remnant! But the fullness of human beings are getting rare these days. Simply too many clone like people, even in the visible church. Independent and free human beings are also rare! The herd mentality, surely with liberalism is alive and well!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Indeed it is.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s