is an activity
of the soul
that expresses complete virtue.
...and it expresses this complete virtue,
through our own actions day in and day out...ultimately cultivated over a lifetime.
And to that end, this end result -- this happiness -- can only be fully recognized when we are done, finished, having come to the end of our now complete life. Taking this long look back, we can then ask ourselves, what did this virtuous life thing bring? Was it worth every do-good-er thing and thought -- completely tethered to a higher purpose and purity of moral responsibility, of course -- for the greater good of one and all? How did we benefit? How did society benefit?
“As far as its name goes, most people virtually agree [about what the good is], since both the many and the cultivated call it happiness, and suppose that living well and doing well are the same as being happy. But they disagree about what happiness is, and the many do not give the same answer as the wise.” NE 1095a17-21
Granted -- this thing called happiness comes and goes in life. It fluctuates -- within the day, even an hour, over many moons and years. One minute we may be jumping for joy, and the next in tears. As any reasonably intelligent human being may divine and conclude, our days are inconsistent, at best.
It often feels fleeting, this happiness; and yet, sometimes, this happiness engulfs us, as if it takes over every cell of our being and overfloweth in delight. And what we find -- really, discover in ourselves -- is that this true happiness is much more than a feeling. It's more like a deep satisfaction, a gift from our Maker, a sensation affirming our unique reason for being is in our grasp, or at the very least, awfully close.
But the thing is -- this making of happiness -- depends solely upon ourselves. Here's a lovely page to read for more on that...
and while all this is being said just to begin a day, all there is to add is, oh wow... giddy up, girl...
I love how people are chatting about the Hillsdale Commencement ceremony for the 164th graduating class, featuring the great, the wonderful, the rather quiet soul that sits upon the bench of the highest seat of justice in the land, the Supreme Court -- the Honorable Clarence Thomas.
Being on the Imprimis [in the first place] mailing list, a monthly Hillsdale publication -- a weekend alert to watch the whole affair, complete with a live stream, did not go unheeded. What a joyful thing, I thought.
But lo and behold, what began as a splendid idea, turned into a whirlwind of emotion, totally unsuspected.
Now, perhaps the tears were just from exhaustion. Perhaps the release was all the live long week, rocked with all the usual suspects of petty ups and downs and running ragged finally coming into their own, and feeling rather entitled, celebrating a chance to come to a flourishing finish...who really knows what it was, or where it came, or where it went when it was all done with me, right? What goes up must come down.
I just couldn't stop crying.
It was as if I was trying to feel every word; taking everything to heart and becoming completely overcome, this neat little care package via the magic of apple and enjoining all things Americana, collegiate, our origins, and the great hope of our future was brought to my door -- the entire world, really -- bearing the gift of new life. As in, what is truly old is obviously the new new. Can I get a witness?
Larry P. Arnn, the twelfth president of Hillsdale College, opened the ceremony defining the "age old activity" of learning and its benefits (and paraphrasing as best I can, I will try to be quick about it....tee hee):
- the activity itself, to learn, is joyful; the stuff humanity is made for, and of, to become more like our Maker
- freedom -- for the learned soul cannot be enslaved
- for the improvement of character...brave, moderate, and just
- to enrich the connection with God, this being especially true at Hillsdale and an attribute required of gaining a complete education. A connection with God is highly supported, encouraged, and even favored, while believing the right for everyone to worship as you please.
He also reminded us of the words of President Kennedy, "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." indeed
Thomas continued making his remarks and his beliefs UNapologetically made known, including telling a short tale of the modern age, and making up an instance based on a What If....And basically proposed, what if spring breakers returned fully exhausted from their reveling demanding the redistribution of grades with the students who stayed, studied, and got their fair share of an A, well deserved? What kind of an injustice that would be, right?
Indeed, and all to make a point -- "if we continue to consume the benefits of a free society without making deposits...we will run out of other people's sacrifices..."
"Today, of course, there is much more focus on our rights as citizens and what we are owed...
It is not often that one hears of our obligation or our duties as citizens, unless of course there's talk of our duty to submit to yet another new policy being suggested or proposed...
At the risk of understating what is necessary to preserve liberty and our form of government, I think more and more that it depends on good citizens, discharging their daily duties and their daily obligations..
In addressing your own obligations and responsibilities in the right way, you actually help to ensure our liberties and our form of government."
this is how America was designed to work, literally.
We gave of ourselves, freely, in the support of liberty for all, by 'addressing our own obligations and responsibilities in the right way' dutifully -- we did not ask anything from town and country, but ultimately benefited town and country through living and working a virtuous and good life all the way around. We were raised not to take from America, but give; and in turn, as luck and values and virtues work, we learned to benefit in the living of a complete and happy life, more or less.
It was duty and delight coming in contact with one another and making magic, imprimis.
Oh my word, I just found a new website! It's called The Art of Manliness! This link actually takes you to a wonderful post on Latin Words and Phrases Every Man Should Know. It's just fabulous! And ironically, it is written by a Brett and Kate McKay, so you can just stop the hate mongering, k.
The motto of Hillsdale, Virtus tentamine gaudet -- strength rejoices in the challenge -- is what brought me to the pages of manliness, for in my feeble attempt of taking notes during the commencement ceremony, my tee's were not crossed and my i's were not dotted, and that led me all over the place for just a wee bit, and mostly just for kicks. but surely, I digress.
Strength may indeed rejoice in the challenge, for this sort of rapture only comes with perspective. What value is there if all things are just handed out like participant trophies for everybody? Satisfaction comes, happiness comes, and perhaps can only come, after we have met the challenges of working hard at something, for something. Perhaps a Bachelor of Science or Philosophy ir something...
“Each function is completed well
when its completion expresses
the proper virtue.
Therefore the human good
turns out to be the soul’s activity
that expresses virtue.”
Aristotle, NE 1098a15-17
“[V]irtue of character
is concerned with pleasures and pains.
For it is pleasure that causes
us to do base actions,
and pain that causes
us to abstain from fine ones.
Hence we need to have had
the appropriate upbringing—
right from early youth, as Plato says—
to make us find enjoyment
or pain in the right things;
for this is the correct education.”
Aristotle, NE 11049-13
PUT GOOD IN, GET GOOD OUT!
“[N]either virtues nor vices are feelings.”
Aristotle, NE 1105b29
No matter how we feel today, tomorrow, yesterday -- we must recognize the big picture and all that is truly divine in the making of a day. The Law works in equal portion for everyone, if we dare ask, align and agree to the terms, working with IT! -- the Universe says yes when we move our own two feet.
A simple day, the making of a life -- happy or sad -- it is ours to make or throw away, whether steeped in ignorance or knowledge. It just is. Enough with how we feel; let's get back to what we do!
And one thing's for sure, things are generally dulcius ex asperius...sweeter after difficulties.
and then of course, there's this:
flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo
...if I cannot move heaven, I will raise hell. hehehe
[This phrase being perfectly embodied by Winston Churchill, right?]
But as the Age of Manliness duly notes, it happens to be a phrase from Virgil's Aeneid...and just one more silly Latin thing this girl learned in a day...bon appetit (yeah, that is French....so?)
Gloria in excelsis Deo
and to think...you get all of this delight pro bono. badump ba.
and now that you have arrived at the end of a day, here's looking at you, kids.
This day is finished -- and as it ever was, where it stops nobody knows... it turned into a day in total, complete praise -- as in, magna cum laude to the max -- of Hillsdale College, Clarence Thomas, Aristotle...and me making magic with my Maker. amen. It's just what we do in America, one day at a time...As Clarence Thomas declared, we began as a "flawed nation" but it IS our "last great hope."
Make it a Good Day, G