arete

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, self-culture, virtue, excellence, and arete

In this world, not to be concerned with the pursuit of arete means to be doomed not just in the struggle with life but also in the struggle with other peoples: a people so facile, slack and fatuous as not to prepare to defend itself has already naively resolved to live out its existence as the enslaved subjects of others. War is omnipresent, to some a demoralizing eventual fate of all cities, and to others "the [Heraclitean] father of all things," i.e. the spur to all forms of virtue and excellence. We should be as energized and passionate about our commitment to our utmost values and self-culture as the warrior must be in learning the arts upon which his very life will depend.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, mind, language, culture aristos, arete, excellence, reality, and intuition

Learning to free up or liberate one's mind to capture precisely the most essential points in anything is an athletic exercise in which, for the first time, we discover just what the actual cash-value of our "culture" truly is: has our culture contributed to making our minds more acute, clearer, more nimble and elastic? Has it given us a richer vocabulary of essences or concepts to facilitate our rational and moral digestion of issues? Or is our "culture" really no enzymatic culture at all, but merely a scheme of encumbrances, of intellectual and rational impediments that have been compounded out of endless Pavlovian conditionings, by which we came to accept fallacies and equivocations and deceptive connotations and lying rhetoric etc. as if they were the gospel truth? The premier value of reading the ancient thinkers lies in their aristocratic culture's determination to put an absolute premium on the development of acuity, directness, economy or essentiality of characterizations, etc. To be competent as an "aristos" (one committed absolutely to the cultivation of excellence or "arete" in its superlative degree), an individual was expected to keen his insights and judgment as much in the domain of intuition (being sensitive to the subtleties of the evidence, the realities) as in the domain of intellection (mustering the most apt tools of expression to characterize, conceptualize and evaluate these realities). Moderns have only the feeblest grasp of both of these processes.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, character, fate, eudaimonia, culture, potential, arete, and determinism

Nietzsche is a determinist like Spinoza, a fatalist like the Greeks: character is fate, we only become what we already are (Aristotle's more genteel expression: no one achieves arete IN SPITE OF his base of natural potential, only because of it). Aristic moral "fiber" must exist first of all as an instinctive imperative, and second as an imperative of character, before it can be cultivated by an appropriate directorial culture. The resources that make human beings ultimately philosophical or spiritual (Aristotelian eudaimonia) are so profound and structural that of course they cannot be "learned"; if one has them, they can be developed and cultured, but that is not the same thing as "acquiring" them.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Ragnar Redbeard on arete, vitality, now, presence, power, and social darwinism

Here and now is our day of torment! Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity... Choose ye this day, this hour, for no Redeemer liveth!

Ragnar Redbeard

Source: Might is Right: The Survival of the Fittest

Contributed by: dalaigoat

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, character, excellence, humanness, purpose, and arete

Greek culture understands the key to understanding nature, instinct and organism as consisting in the endowment of each creature with some distinctive "excellence" or talent (arete).  Among humans there is great controversy whether (because of the diversity among different character-types and the clash of different political and philosophical perspectives) there is at all such a unitary, universal or congruent thing as "excellence" for man per se.  There are many aspectival or specialized excellences; but does man in general have a defining purpose or a metaphysically obligatory excellence that everyone, just insofar as he is human, is obligated to cultivate and pursue?  --Or do we have a problem here in trying to extend the term "human" to creatures who really have little substantial in common with one another?

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by John Eliot on commitment, excellence, arete, love, and success

Future superstars don't get there by keeping part of their heart in reserve.

John Eliot

Source: Overachievement: The New Model for Exceptional Performance, Pages: xx

Contributed by: Jessica

A Quote by Jim Collins on love, work, greatness, arete, people, relationships, and business

For no matter what we achieve, if we don’t spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect – people we really enjoy being on the bus with and who will never disappoint us – then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes. The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with.

Jim Collins

Source: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't, Pages: 62

Contributed by: Jessica

A Quote by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on enjoyment vs pleasure, exhilaration, arete, and excitement

Enjoyment, on the other hand, is not always pleasant, and it can be very stressful at times. A mountain climber, for example, may be close to freezing, utterly exhausted, and in danger of falling into a bottomless crevasse, yet he wouldn't want to be anywhere else. Sipping a piña colada under a palm tree at the edge of the turquoise ocean is idyllic, but it just doesn't compare to the exhilaration he feels on the windswept ridge. 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Source: Good Business : Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning, Pages: 37

Contributed by: Jessica

A Quote by Socrates on the apology, arete, and goodness

“It is best and easiest not to discredit others but to prepare oneself to be as good as possible.”

Socrates (469 - 399 BC)

Source: The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro; The Apology; Crito; Phaedo (Penguin Classics)

Contributed by: Brian

A Quote by Socrates on excellence, wealth, arete, and the apology

“Wealth does not bring about excellence, but excellence brings about wealth and all other public and private blessings for men.”

Socrates (469 - 399 BC)

Source: The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro; The Apology; Crito; Phaedo (Penguin Classics)

Contributed by: Brian

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