Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Purpose of Education, Culture, Political Science and Religion is Eudaimonia

"Eudaimonia: (Greek, happiness, well-being, success) The central goal of all systems of ancient ethics; according to Aristotle, the ‘best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world’" - The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy in Religion & Philosophy

I've written of this before: eudamonia means well-being/flourishing, and you get it though arete, or excellence. Eudaimonia made it into the Declaration of Independence as "pursuit of happiness," which in no way gives the full flavor of what eudaimonia really means.

And how do you get excellence? Through autonomy, mastery and purpose. See the video for an explanation.

No matter which way I turn, everything is supposed to lead to achieving eudaimonia. What's the purpose of education (which means "to draw out")? To identify your strengths and develop them to your fullest. That is, excellence. Do we have it? Sometimes. Otherwise, nope.

I blame a lot of our school problems not on the teachers, but on the fact our "public" schools are actually socialist - which means everyone is supposed to be "equal." Which is an impossibility. We are not blank slates. Everyone is unequal in their inborn talents.

Socialism doesn't support civilization; it destroys it. The evidence for this is without exception. Yet there are those who attempt to impose it every generation.

The purpose of culture? Same thing. To develop our inborn strengths. Do we have that? No, not really. Our culture is in many ways degraded - our music and other arts especially.

Political science? Same thing. It's supposed to improve our lives to the extent it can. Instead we have a bunch of psychopathic politicians and incompetent economists tormenting us and damaging everything they can put their grubbby little paws on.

Religion? Sometimes. The word means "to bind," which I've heard described as "the social glue that keeps us from coming undone into sheer chaos and rules of the jungle anarchy. It keeps us sane."

For that matter, did not Jesus say, "I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!" Or instead of "overflow," sometimes "complete," sometimes "full." Eudaimonia.

Education, culture, political science, religion...all of them are supposed to keep the chaos at bay and after that, allow us to develop to our best, to achieve eudaimonia through arete. They are supposed to be the best they are be, to allow us to be the best we can be.

All of those things are supposed to be in service to us, and once we are the best we can be, then we can support education, culture, political economy, and religion.

But the way things stand now, those things often use us and expect us to be in service of them. That's what I mean by the Machine State: we're supposed to be cogs in service of the Machine.

The mythologist Joseph Campbell might have put it best: "Man should not be in the service of society, society should be in the service of man. When man is in the service of society, you have a monster state, and that's what is threatening the world at this minute."

"...there is a very significant difference between the typically ancient and the typically modern meaning of happiness. Ancient words for happiness, like eudaimonia, or makarios in Greek or beatitudo in Latin, mean true, real blessedness." - Catholic Resource Education Center

1 comment:

JKB said...

Alan Macfarlane's 'The Invention of the Modern World' tracks the development of modernity, which is defined as the separation of the political, economic, social and relgion/ideology spheres with the individual, not a dominate sphere or the family/tribe as the unit element. Capitalistic enterprise, secure property and political rights have promoted this move to the modern world. He tracks how those elements developed in England.

And yet, Britain, has been an eager embracer of socialism which seeks only to replace the controller of the economic, political, society and religious/ideology with their clerisy. The work of the Progressive is to cast humanity back into a pre-modern world run by those willing to use the most violence and exceed societal norms to achieve their ends.

Interesting in the video (and the studies) that they see the value of a purpose driven organization and promote it for commercial enterprise, but fail to see that the universities were purpose driven organizations but now are overrun by members with a runaway profit motive. Your tenured professor, especially at the more famous universities, makes more than "enough" money but for them it is never enough profit for their pittance of work and they certainly don't seek mastery anymore. There may still be some who do but they don't control the universities.