Virtue ethics and its applications.

Socrates once said, “know thyself.” Aristotle further expanded on this quote by developing a system of Morality called Virtue ethics, which as the title suggests, is to aim to develop virtues for each and everyone of us in order to achieve a much happier and successful life.  Virtues and their vices are really just labels applied to a set pattern of mental, emotional and physical reactions we have towards certain situations like dealing with people, in a stressful environment etc. Virtue ethics is basically applied Psychology. For instance, focus on the feeling/ idea of anger; too much anger and we become irascible, make people scared to interact with us and lose all sense of reason. This is very important with regards to Business because a business can’t afford to lose customers if its employees and/ or CEO are rude and irritable to its customers or if the company is unable to stay calm towards an unsatisfied customer. Furthermore, quickness to anger shows you are not in control of the situation you are weak. Too little expression of anger and we become passive/ passive aggressive and people will take advantage of us in our everyday life, making us become bitter of the past which drains us of our mental resources rather than focusing on the present which is what matters. Being passive/ passive-aggressive and being very irritable are examples of Vices with respect to the application and expression of anger which we feel in certain situations. The “Golden Mean”/ the Virtue/ the True Path of expressing anger is to neither be too angry or too passive but to be patient, to bear the anger, acknowledge it and express your feelings towards the person/ situation in a controlled and calm way. The feeling of anger and how we respond to it, whether being irascible, passive/ passive-aggressive or patient is also important in Politics because Diplomats know they must treat their counterparts and foreign Government officials with respect to not provoke them into wars and to get cooperation.

Similarly, for the feeling/ concept of self-worth, too much overconfidence in oneself and its physical expression borders/ becomes arrogance which leads to the path of destruction as we become blind to our egos, we become like Narcissus which makes us weak, powerless and easily manipulated. There are numerous times when an army that seemed far superior technologically was brought to its knees because the General of that army was too arrogant to think that the opposing army was ever match to his army. Just look at the examples in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and the American Revolution where the British, American, Russian and Greek Empires suffered horrific casualties at the hands of a smaller, poorer army. An abnormally small amount of confidence leads to shyness which could lead to arrogance because the very shy person tries to compensate for their lack of social interaction by excelling in Academic studies, thereby feeling superior than everyone else. If that is not case, then the person will likely not get very far in life because you need to form connections with people, market yourself etc. Image and reputation counts and it is the key to power. Thus the Virtue of the concept/ feeling of self-worth is confidence where you feel you are strong enough to deal with a person/ situation while making the required preparations and not underestimating the opponent/ challenge.

 

However, although what Aristotle says is true and wise, there are times when despite achieving/ trying to achieve Virtues in our lifetimes, situations and life do not go according to how we want them which makes the whole attempt to achieve Virtues pointless.

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