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Inner Strength and the scale of Apathy
« on: 2007-06-24 23:17:48 »
Many things in the world are not absolute, and apathy is one of them. I see apathy as a spectrum:
Apathy, one of the sins of CoV, means lack of caring. Conversely, Passion would be mean strong desire or caring for or about something. I define it as a desire of the will rather than a desire of nature, as I will explain below.
Somewhere between apathy and passion lies a state of conflict, where the desires of our will are in conflict with the desires of our nature. Desires of human nature are often basic and powerful, including hunger, thirst, sex, sleep, and satisfaction of an addiction. Addictions can be physical or psychological, anything from gambling and internet gaming to smoking crack and drinking booze. Some weaker desires can be desires to scratch your head or pick your nose. I even think procrastination is a type of desire of human nature.
Clearly those who lose this battle are not guilty of apathy, because they do care, even though they fail. The power for even a weak desire of the will to overcome a desire of nature, I will call inner strength. Inner strength has another spectrum.
Discipline is the long-term ability to win battles of desire, while willpower is more short-term. For example, not falling asleep during an exam would be closer to willpower because you can fall over as soon as you are done, while not falling asleep every day at work for 8 hours straight each time would be closer to discipline.
Inner strength can also have scope - someone can be really good at resisting doing one thing, but give into another. I know someone who has gotten addicted to drinking but not smoking.
Increasing inner strength is important because it allows you to act with more reason, which is one of the virtues of CoV.
Some of you may think this is bull, but how often have you all succumbed to the desire to do something which you didn't feel was right or something you didn't want to do? If you all can think of a better explanation, that would be appreciated, but for now I will run with this explanation and try to discuss methods to increase inner strength, which will prove its usefulness as a model.
1) Vision, another virtue, can help inner strength. If see how your desire of will is important and how it fits into the big picture of things, you can more easily execute it.
2) Practice inner strength for the sake of inner strength. Next time you experience a battle, try to win it not only for the sake of whatever you are winning it for, but also for the sake of winning. Next time it will be easier.
3) Get friends with a lot of inner strength. Humans are easily affected by what their friends do, and if your friends slack off you will more likely too.
4) Have a positive attitude. If you are hopeful that your actions can affect something, then it is easier to execute them. But try to be critical despite being positive, or your actions may not bring about good results.
Inner strength is really elusive, but if you can somehow increase it, I have no doubt you will have less trouble acting with reason and not just thinking with reason. Try to avoid using drugs or any substances (regardless of legality) for that reason since using them for that reason makes you dependent on them. Even being dependent on being full or having enough sleep to have inner strength is a bad thing, because those are desires of human nature in themselves.
Unfortunately doubt seems to erode inner strength, because it is harder to unerringly stick to one course regardless of its correctness, since we do care about its correctness. We skeptical people need to arm ourselves with more inner strength to match those who are ignorant!
One thing I didn't discuss yet because of its complexity are things in between desires of will and desires of nature. For example, being social has to be examined carefully on an individual basis: just enough will help you, but too much will be a time sink and possibly a resource sink. It's fun for some people, so some people will go to extremes and have too much or not enough because that makes them feel better, even though it's not the best in the long run.
Thanks for reading, please discuss! It will be very helpful if someone adds methods to increase inner strength!