Back to Blackburn

August 12, 2008

Wow!  Been a year since my last post.  But I am back at least today and perhaps later this week as well.

Lot to chew on in Blacburn’s “Being Good,”  but this is what caught my attention last night.  In making the distinction between an ethical climate and a moralistic one, Blackburn observes, “one peculiarity of our present climate is that we care much more about our rights than about our ‘good.’  For previous thinkers about ethics, such as those who wrote the Upanishads, or Confucius, or Plato, or the founds or the Christian tradition, the central concern was the state of one’s soul, meaning some personal state of justice or harmony.  Such a state might include resignation and renunciation, or detachment, or obedience, or knowledge, especially self-knowledge.” (p. 4).

Now I have no intention of specifically addressing his topic, rather I was struck by he emphasis on self-knowledge.  Yes we all know our preferences like technology (Mac), music (Terrence Blanchard) or ice cream (cookies & cream ice cream cake from BR).  But do we know ourselves?  Can we map the terrain of our own soul.  Or is it just a baffling place that sends us fleeing to the hills?

I once had an altercation with someone I like and respect.  It should not have blown up to the degree that it did.  It took a bit of digging and ruminating until I found ‘it.’  So now I walk away with a deeper understanding of who I am and a greater sensitivity to the humanness of those around me.

Lest I puff myself up too much, I must acknowledge that most days are spent following my preferences (and avoiding the mint chocolate Dips in the freezer).  I enjoy my family, friends, and work.  I pursue intellectual topics that I find stimulating.  Perhaps I should spend a bit more time with compass, paper, and pencil in hand.