Okay, a good talk because it asks questions that go right to the heart of our everyday lives. If. question doesn’t go there, it is not worth asking. But most people don’t ask questions that go there because it creates disturbance in the field. We pull back into conformity and don’t agitate our heart, we don’t disturb our soul. We don’t want to know who I am.
And so we sleep, content to fight superficial cultural wars. We shy away from heartfelt questions. The questions Who am I is a direct route to Virtue.Virtue is integrity, wholeness, authenticity, true nature….yes, our true nature is Good and virtuous. But in order to be truly human we have to discover that virtue, we have to uncover it, we have to dig for it. Virtue is not given.
Virtue has to be won. Virtue is born of the double-bind between this and that, between this commandment and that commandment. Virtue is born from the conflict between the outside of the cup and the inside of the cup. The outside of the cup is shaped by culture, the inside of the cup is our heart. Virtue is when we make the inside and the outside the same cup. That is the Holy Grail the heals the wound that separates the mind from the heart, the wound that won’t heal.
I hope you listened to the talk. Virtue is being morally good. The movie I use as a metaphor Mona Lisa Smile is about the virtue of young women in the 50s who moral duty was to become wives and abandon any desires to have a career. The question of our time is whether being morally good is a creative act or an obedient act, and if it is an obedient act then who do we obey? Our church which is now politicized? Do I hate gays because it is morally right? Big problems here, as you point out.
The next question is whether Virtue is integrity or division. Can one be virtuous and be conflicted? This is where sex comes in. If I must be chaste in order to be virtuous, but I’m in love and want sex…what is virtuous? Celebrate priests get into great trouble here.
Okay, we have arrived at the understanding that Virtue is not given but must be created. And virtue is created out of a conflict between mind (culture) and heart, or thinking and feeling. Our thinking mind thinks culture. When culture is divided like it is now, our mind is divided. We can’t find the station of the heart through the static of the mind’s thinking. Culture gives conflicting commandments. Its messages are duplicitous. The Stench of Lies is everywhere.(Apocalypse Now)
When culture is divided, who do we turn to? Virtue is not out there. Virtue is inside the heart. Virtue and faith are not separate. Culture is truth believed in: Faith is leaping beyond belief. Faith is being born again…born from the womb of culture and religion because religion is culture’s partner. Religions and science are the two wings of culture, but they flap in opposite directions so culture goes in a circle. But Virtue bypasses the dysfunction. You go it alone. You go straight.