Despite being an atheist, Ms. Doughty was told that any conscientious objection must be based on religious grounds, not simply moral objections. So as someone who was not religious, and didn’t believe in a god, she had no basis for objecting. Her statement has been denied and she has been informed that to move forward in the process she must submit a letter from the elders of her church to prove her conscientious objections are religiously based.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.
There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
In his new book Letters on Happiness: An Epicurean Dialogue, Peter Saint-Andre wrote an introductory survey and commentary of Epicurean doctrines, fragments, and even a letter by Thomas Jefferson, in the form of an exchange of letters between friends.
This type of contemporary philosophical literature is exactly the type of content that the Society of Friends of Epicurus would like to see more of, as it resonates with our teaching mission and vision. His commentary is didactically useful for several reasons. It's sorted by subject, which would make it useful within the context of a study group, and utilizes the strategy of approaching a teaching from various angles and paraphrasing in order to help the pupil easily apprehend therapeutic concepts. For instance:
Perhaps we can try to express the Epicurean remedies as actionable guidelines, as he does in Vatican Saying 71: Ask this question of every desire: what will happen to me if the object of desire is achieved, and what if not?The author is particularly equipped to write his Letters on Happiness because he is the translator of Epicurean writings for Monadnock Valley Press and for the public domain, so that he was able to gain thorough familiarity with the writings while he was conducting his translation work.
Saint-Andre also incorporated his summary of the diseases of the soul, again applying the technique of paraphrasing and giving readers a different approach to the teachings in order to help them assimilate the didactic content. The condensed Summary of the Diseases of the Soul is useful in learning Epicurus' doctrine and may even be helpful in our introspective philosophical work, in the cultivation of good character and of the analysed life.
Let's see if I can summarize the diseases of soul that Epicurus describes:
The fear of oblivion leads to the desire for immortality. Yet the ideal (what is natural and necessary) is not to live forever, but to face death without fear and to enjoy the span of your life on earth.
The fear of weakness leads to the desire for power. Yet the ideal is not to hold power over other people, but to be strong and effective enough to meet your own needs.
The fear of poverty leads to greed and the desire for great wealth. Yet the ideal is not to be super-rich, but to have enough material goods to meet your true and natural needs for food, shelter, clothing, companionship, etc.
The fear of obscurity leads to the desire for fame. Yet the ideal is not being renowned to all the world, but being connected to the people who truly matter to you.
The fear of being disliked leads to the desire for honor. Yet the ideal is not to be the recipient of great public esteem, but to have self-respect and to be respected by those you know and admire.
The fear of being bored or being perceived as ordinary leads to a desire for luxury (fancy things, exciting experiences, and such). Yet the ideal is not continuous stimulation but active engagement with the world around you.
The fear of being considered inferior leads to envy — the desire that others lose what they have. Yet the ideal is not tearing others down, but accepting and improving yourself.
The fear of being disappointed leads to anger — the desire that other people act as you want them to. Yet the ideal is not feeling that others must conform to your expectations, but accepting others as they are and maintaining your inner serenity.
The fear of failure leads to laziness — the desire to get something for nothing. Yet the ideal is not passivity but active confidence in your abilities and the pursuit of self-improvement.
You may read the book Letters on Happiness online, or via Amazon.
I must say that ever since I subscribed to God on twitter my relationship with God has gotten better. I didn't know he was this witty!
It's not that 10% of you came out wrong, it's that I'm 10% gay.tinyurl.com/itgettethbetter
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) May 31, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
You don't question what you believe, or cannot. I must.
I strongly recommend the film Agora. It's not fully accurate or historical but I thought it was a well made movie and it sheds light on the ancient history of oppression of philosophers and their schools under religious tyranny. It deals, in part, with the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, one of the most important history-changing events ever, which is impossible to under-estimate as it was this, along with the closing of all the philosophical schools in the sixth century by Emperor Justinian, that nailed the grave on ancient philosophy and science and ushered in the totalitarianism and mental slavery of the Christian Era / Dark Ages. If at least for a sense of perspective on the history of humanism, I think everyone should watch Agora.