Website owner:  James Miller

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Way of Wisdom

   Rufus:  What is the most important object of life?

   Gaius:  Personal happiness.

   R:  What way of living will give personal happiness?

   G: The way of wisdom and understanding.

   R: What is the way of wisdom and understanding?

   G: It is a life ruled by Reason, Sense, Judgment; a lifestyle in 
      conformity with right reason.  Connected with this way of 
      wisdom and understanding is a certain kind of mind, the 
      understanding mind.

   R: What kind of mind is this understanding mind?

   G: It is a mind characterized by fear of God, faith in God, love 
      of God; a particular set of values, attitudes and outlooks; 
      and by calmness, quietness, seriousness, sobriety, 
      thoughtfulness.  It is a quiet, calm, dispassionate mind; a 
      mind devoid of agitation and worry; a mind of quiet 
      confidence.  Such a mind sees things with impartiality, 
      objectiveness, balance and perspective and is important to 
      the proper working of Reason.  It is a mind born out of fear 
      of God, love of God, obedience to God; the right way of 
      living; the right outlooks, attitudes and values; good 
      mental health, good conscience, and contentment with little.

   R: How does one follow the way of Reason, Sense and Understanding?

   G: One must avoid those things that are against Reason, Sense, and 
      Judgment and pursue those things required by Reason, Sense 
      and Judgment.  It happens that the things that are against 
      Reason, Sense and Judgment tend to be destructive or 
      disruptive to the calm, quiet, thoughtful, understanding 
      mind.  And the things required by Reason give the quiet, 
      understanding mind. 

   R: What kinds of things are against Reason and detrimental to this 
      calm, quiet, understanding mind?

   G: Certain kinds of behavior or conduct.  Certain ways of acting 
      or responding.  Mostly they are things that act against 
      peace and harmony with our fellow man.  Things like 
      selfishness, pride, arrogance, anger, hatred, envy, 
      jealousy, malice, bitterness, spite, vengefulness, 
      impetuousness, rashness, covetousness, violence, 
      prodigality, laziness, indolence, carelessness, lust, 
      inordinate desire, strife, argument, lying, dishonesty, 
      stealing, murder, sexual immorality, adultery;  treating 
      others wrongly or badly, doing things that will cause one to 
      feel guilt or remorse. 

   R: What kinds of attitudes, outlooks, values, habits and behavior 
      give rise to this understanding mind? 

   G: Attitudes, outlooks, values, habits and behavior that are 
      demanded by Reason and Sense, in conformity with them.  
      Mostly they are things that promote peace and harmony with 
      our fellow man, peace with ourselves and peace with God.  
      Things like fear of God, obedience to God, always doing what 
      is right, acting according to conscience, treating others 
      kindly and with respect;  putting the other person first; 
      humility, meekness, kindness, peaceableness, patience, 
      forgiveness, justness, uprightness, honesty, self-control, 
      self-denial, purity, chastity, industriousness, thrift, 
      frugality, self-reliance, contentment with little. 

   R: I have a question.  Doesn't your argument presuppose that 
      there is a God and that there is a final judgment in which 
      the just will be rewarded and the bad will be punished?  
      Suppose that I assume that there is no God and no final 
      justice.  Can't we then say that Reason and Sense speak for 
      putting yourself first, ahead of other people; for grabbing 
      the biggest piece of pie, for pursuing your own self-
      interest; for looking out for Number 1 first, forget the 
      other person; indeed for lying, cheating, stealing and doing 
      whatever you need to do to get the things you want?  Under 
      this assumption doesn't Reason speak for selfishness instead 
      of selflessness? 

   G: There is a higher wisdom, a higher understanding, that knows 
      that there is a God and that there is final justice.  There 
      is within us all a knowledge of right and wrong, a voice for 
      goodness and right, a conscience.  Reason, acting from this 
      higher knowledge, knows the folly of going against what is 
      good and right.  It also knows that if everyone were 
      fighting to get the biggest piece of pie then all would be 
      fighting and conflict and violence.  There would be no peace 
      and harmony.

   Jan 2005

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