On Betterment

by Dorian Minors

March 28, 2021

Analects  |  Newsletter

Excerpt

Betterment, to me, is one aspect of any good cynosure: something to focus on in a value system if you believe what I believe. The search for a righteous, fulfilling, and moral way of being, is a concept that has preoccupied every major philosophic and spiritual tradition. According to the greats, this way of being is the path to eudaemonia—wellbeing of the highest order.

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We should seek to better ourselves, and our position in the world. Excellence, but within moral bounds. And, since any fact about morality is a judgement about wellbeing, using the sciences of mind as a lens seems prudent.

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The search for a righteous, fulfilling, and moral way of being, is a concept that has preoccupied every major philosophic and spiritual tradition. According to the greats, this way of being is the path to eudaemonia—wellbeing of the highest order. In the east we might know it as dharma, and in the west as the Greek arete or ‘virtue’. These concepts have filtered their way through civilisations uncounted and all coalesce on a core of achievement and excellence, but within the boundaries of morality.

Any fact about morality is at its core an attempt to make an almost utilitarian judgement about the wellbeing of those involved. Such a thing can only be explored in the context of the mind in the loosest sense—the capacity to feel, think, and act. Thus, any journey towards betterment must consider these things.

So, let’s consider them.


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