Friday, December 16, 2016

The Ultimate Virtue

There seem to be two types of people. Some seek happiness. They’re easy to spot. They say phrases like “you need to do whatever makes you happy” or “all you need is love”. These people are usually warm and empathetic.

On the other hand are people who seek truth. They might be analytical or competitive, but ultimately they are of a similar mold. The analytical mind seeks logical consistency to know what is right. The competitor seeks the judgment of action in the world to know what is right.

Sanity is the ultimate virtue. Sanity is the combination of the two types, happiness and understanding. People of the first type can easily slip into insanity. These empathetic people shun uncomfortable truths that may offend someone and harm the path to happiness. Thus they become shut off to aspects of reality. They lose feedback from the world, which is the definition of delusion.

But the truth seekers face their own peril too. They can become zealots, egotistical, or cruel. They share the opposite conundrum; they may become jaded when human nature interferes with the pursuit of truth, or forget about the world outside their arena. They shut themselves off from the spiritual energy of the universe, and they are often disturbed or miserable.

Sanity is the ability to both comprehend reality as it is, as opposed to how one wishes to to see it, combined with the ability to cope with that reality. Sanity is getting dumped but knowing that it was for the best. Sanity is smelling a skunk and realizing their can be a strange pleasantness to the odor. Sanity is being screamed at by your boss and understanding that he is emotionally ill, and that you won’t be infected by it. Sanity is the ability to couple Machiavellian shrewdness with Christian forgiveness.

The world is full of people who only comprehend one half of the sanity equation. They will tug you in their direction. If you don’t follow the path towards pure happiness they will call you hateful. If you don’t follow the path towards pure truth they will call you stupid. The sane person will understand the dynamic and handle the encounter gracefully. It requires both the willingness to fully perceive reality, and the empathy to relate with the other person.

Without sanity nothing matters. Worldly success without sanity is a loss. The love of others without sanity is a loss. Sanity and nothing else is bliss. But with sanity, success, love, and all the other good things are likely to follow.  

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