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Friday, September 21, 2012

Weight Watchers and Virtue

Virtue describes a habitual way of acting.
For the most part, virtue is not inborn, but we must learn it through many years practice until it becomes "habitual" and "second nature" to us.

If virtue is not habitual and "second nature", there is always the extremely good chance that we will not act virtuously:  when called upon to act, we may react with something distinctly non-virtuous. It happens all the time.

We must be trained in virtue, we must practice virtue, we must meditate on virtue, and we actually should do so in a way that is at least as structured as the training we undergo for the rest of our lives. We train for good habits in sports, in work, in driving... every activity has its good habits and we try to practice them.

We train for good eating habits. Think of diet and nutrition, and think how difficult that may be, and how we are constantly trying to improve our diets and trying to reduce calories or cholesterol or increase fiber or whatnot. This is the Virtue of Weight Watchers.

We should struggle to be virtuous with at least as much effort as we struggle to eat healthy.

Just as to our regret we have let the Responsibility for our Good Nutrition be handled by Food Processing Companies and Developers of Genetically Modified Foods, so also did we all Responsibility for our Good Virtue to be handled by priesthoods, preachers, and people with a constant flow of new ideas for self-improvement.
This was a mistake that led us to be as ignorant about our food as we are ignorant about virtue; our inability to focus on the processes involved in the entire food procurement and preparation process as well as the inability to train into good habits instilled in us a sense of prudishness that led us to hide the whole messy business, and to encapsulate it all into small and tidy boxes:  the cardboard containers of processed foods ready to gulp down, and the Sunday morning ritual of marching off to holy orders from the pulpit.

It is acceptable for us to be open about our diet and our weight, but we are much more secretive about our morals, unless we are holding forth about what is wrong with the world.
It is a good thing that we keep our sense of morality hidden prudishly, for it is between God and us and no other beings.

Therefore, we need not be endlessly preached at about what is moral, but we do need help establishing our independent quests for morality: we need early training and structure that allows us to eventually stand as adults on our own two feet and be virtuous.

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