Tuesday, March 10, 2009

JK Rowling on the route to personal happiness

So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.
JK Rowling http://harvardmagazine.com/commencement/the-fringe-benefits-failure-the-importance-imagination 

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How often should I meditate?

Half an hours meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed
(St Francis de Sales, 1567-1622)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Epicurus on informed desire-satisfaction

71. Question each of your desires: “What will happen to me if that which this desire seeks is achieved, and what if it is not?”
Vatican Sayings

Monday, February 23, 2009

Is morality objective? James Rachels' view

A truth in ethics is a conclusion backed by reasons. The “correct” answer to a moral question is simply the answer that has the weight of reason on its side. Such truths are objective in the sense that they are true independently of what we might want or think. We cannot make something good or bad just by wishing it to be so because we cannot merely will that the weight of reason be on its side or against it. And this also explains our fallibility: We can be wrong about what is good or bad because we can be wrong about what reason commends.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Aristotle on the benefit of examining the nature of the good life

 Will not the knowledge of [the good] , then, have a great influence on life? Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what is right? If so, we must try, in outline at least, to determine what it is ...
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book 1, Chapter 2

Derek Parfit's Optimism about the future of Ethics

[In the long-term future,] there could be higher achievements in all of the Arts and Sciences. But the progress could be greatest in what is now the least advanced of these Arts or Sciences. This, I have claimed, is Non-Religious Ethics. Belief in God, or in many gods, prevented the free development of moral reasoning. Disbelief in God, openly admitted by a majority, is a recent event, not yet completed. Because this event is so recent, Non-Religious Ethics is at a very early stage. We cannot yet predict whether, as in Mathematics, we will all reach agreement. Since we cannot know how Ethics will develop, it is not irrational to have high hopes.

-- Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons, pp.453-454.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Richard Branson on his attitude to life

"However hard I'm working and however tired I am I make sure I just
enjoy every single second of my life"

Richard Branson

Quoted in Laurence Shorter: 'Life has never been so good'

Independent on Sunday Sunday, 4 January 2009