The Quest of
The Virtues of Man
as interpreted by
Lord Ely O'lestlobain
In response to a task given by his
Knight Qadi Dahoud
Throughout all time there has been a code by which all men live. Each man has an individual interpretation of this code, and each man lives by their own beliefs. Whether he be priest or pirate, pauper or prince, Knight or rogue. An anonymous author once wrote:
"Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny."
Each man must choose which path he travels on, whether it be a virtuous path or the path of the unrighteous, it matters not. If it be the virtuous path take heed these words and listen for I am about to extol upon you the Virtues of Man. The virtuous person tends toward the good as a habit with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions every time, not just on a whim. All Virtues are acquired by Human effort.
Plato once wrote:
"When the faculty of justice develops in man, all the other faculties and powers of the soul are illuminated by it, and these faculties and powers all acquire light from each other. This is the condition in which the human soul moves and acts in the best and the most meritorious manner possible, gaining affinity and proximity to the Source of Creation."
As with any thing in life there are excesses and deficiencies. Excess Justice is Tyranny and the deficiency is submissiveness. Justice is to treat all men as you would have them treat you. Do not cater to the rich and powerful nor bend down to the poor. Rather apply your best effort to each man as if he had no status at all. Justice being the first Virtue is no accident. Justice is the root from which all other Virtues stem.
Too much Wisdom and it makes one sly, too little Wisdom promotes ignorance.
An old Arabic Proverb:
He who knows not and knows not he knows not, he is a fool - shun him.
He who knows not and knows he knows not, he is simple - teach him.
He who knows and knows not he knows, he is asleep - awaken him.
He who knows and knows that he knows, he is wise - follow him.
To be a Wise man usually means years of trials and tribulations, successes and mistakes, one rarely hears of a Wise boy. Wise men listen and learn before they are made old by their mistakes. Wisdom is the ability to recognize what a virtuous man ought to be, and how a virtuous man ought to act. Wisdom grants us the ability to implement the other Virtues.
There are stories of men who have done great things in the face of danger and certain death.
From the writings of Theodore Roosevelt:
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes up short again and again...who does actually try to do the deed; who with great enthusiasm spends himself in a worth cause; who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
Fortitude grants us the ability to rise to the task of defeating evil when we know it should be done but yet our mind is telling us to run. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. Fortitude denotes a certain firmness of mind, and this firmness of mind is required both in doing good and in enduring evil, especially with regard to goods or evils that are difficult. Fortitude is the guard and support of the other Virtues.
Prudence dictates to one's self the right method of conduct. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is Prudence that immediately guides the judgment of one's conscience. The Prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. The Prudent man knows what to say and when to say it, but more importantly knows what not to say and when not to say it. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular situations without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid. Prudence guides us in the use of all Virtues.
Temperance is that Virtue that allows one to conduct ones' self
with moderation in regards to a multitude of situations
A quote from Benjamin Franklin:
"Temperance puts wood on the fire, meal in the barrel, flour in the tub, money in the purse, credit in the country, contentment in the house, clothes on the back, and vigor in the body."
Temperance in appetite denies the gluttonous creature. Temperance with strong drink denies the alcoholic. Temperance in lust denies the rapist. Temperance is used in all other Virtues. Without Temperance, one would stray from the even course of the other Virtues and pursue the excessive or deficient nature of each. Temperance controls the yearning for pleasures that can and will eventually destroy man. Without Temperance one would eventually succumb to either an excess of pleasure or delve into a bleak existence void of any pleasure at all.
"To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it and how much and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power - nor an easy matter. Hence it is that such excellence is rare, praiseworthy and noble." Aristotle
"Anticipate charity by preventing poverty; assist the reduced fellow man, either by a considerable gift or a sum of money or by teaching him a trade or by putting him in the way of business so that he may earn an honest livelihood and not be forced to the dreadful alternative of holding out his hand for charity. This is the highest step and summit of charity's golden ladder." Maimonides (1135-1204)
Charity is the Virtue that gives one the power to give the gift of the other Virtues. Throughout this report I have refrained from referring to myself in regards to any of these Virtues…until now. One of the things that I feel truly defines who I am, is what I give. I would rather trade than sell for money. I would rather provide a place to play the game than rent a site. I would rather teach people how to play the game than try to find someone who already knows. For it is this teaching, giving, and providing that truly makes me feel as though I am a great man.
One last quote to end my task:
"If you can build it, teach another to build as well. If you can write it, teach another to write as well. I f you can say it, teach another to speak as well. If you can fight, teach another to fight as well. For the knowledge you have to offer is wasted if it remains in your mind"
John Lawler aka Ely O'Lestlobain (1967- )