A few weeks ago, I was doing a little research on the meaning of “Virtue.” This isn’t a word I use all too often (or ever), but have been noticing its use more and more around the internet. It’s fairly common for me to investigate something’s meaning if I feel it’s important to today’s world.
Basically, virtue is a standard that some people might choose to live up to. Of course, it’s much more complex than that (if you choose it to be) and you can look up its full meaning here.
After reading and understanding what virtue is all about, I started thinking about how difficult it is for those of us to live virtuous lives. It might not be all too much of a challenge to actually identify what’s right and wrong, according to our own moral standard; I believe the challenge lies with how to identify virtuous acts in today’s complex and tightly woven world.
Let’s face it, the playing field has changed. In this day and age, attempting to gather data and make a choice on who benefits the most from a single decision is almost impossible. Just ask and business person or politician. It’s only getting more and more difficult every day. Things are so large now that the network of choices and ramifications is hard to imagine.
Here’s a silly little example I just thought of while looking out the window: Should I help that little old lady across the street? Well, that depends on much traffic there is. Will I be in danger? Should she be walking across the street at this time of day as it is? Does she even need help, or will she be offended? Did she just do something bad and is trying to get away?
Just from this short example, you can get an idea of how troublesome every decision you make can be when there are such questions to be answered.
I think I found some help. I came up with an idea after receiving an email from my mother a few days ago. She visited earlier in the month and wrote a thank you email that included something like, “…good food, good people, good memories.” After I read this, I started thinking about how memories can be used to measure virtue.
Throughout life, we become smarter. The reason we become smarter is because we learn from past successes and failures. If we continuously look back to measure the effect on others around us regarding the larger decisions we make, we can see if we made the right decision. I believe this fits with living a virtuous lifestyle. Everything we do affects others and ourselves. If we use memories to gauge how we feel after we do something, we can alter future actions. Does that make sense?