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St Cuthbert: Feast Day – 20 March

“Gratitude is the Paschal Candle in

the Cathedral of the Soul.” — Fr. Joseph Martin

March 21, 2018

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The Meaning of Human Virtues

December 12, 2017

The Meaning of Human Virtues

 

What are human Virtues?

 

Human virtues are standard moral qualities of human beings and are related to the construction of the personality of each individual.

 

 “...happiness does not consist in amusement. In fact, it would be strange if our end were amusement, and if we were to labor and suffer hardships all our lifelong merely to amuse ourselves... The happy life is regarded as life in conformity with virtue. It is a life which involves effort and is not spent in amusement....”  ― Aristotle

 

The types of human virtues differ according to some authors and the different areas of study. According to the philosophers and psychologists, people's fundamental human virtues are benevolence, justice, patience, sincerity, responsibility, optimism, wisdom, respect, self-confidence, contentment, courage, detachment, unconcern, determination, discipline, empathy, stability, generosity, honesty, flexibility, humility, mercy, introspection, among others.

 

Plato and other philosophers, however, summed up all human virtues into four distinct types: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

 

Human virtues are not innating of essential human nature, but rather elements that build up and complement the personality of people throughout life. For example, no one is born with "self-confidence" or "honesty," but learns to have these behaviors from lessons and morally positive references within the environment in which they are inserted. In other words, Human beings must be educated and shown how to become their best.

 

In the religious sphere, according to most Christian doctrines, human virtues (or moral virtues) must be combined with the called "supernatural virtues" or "theological virtues," which consist of three primary qualities: faith, charity, and the hope.

 

It is worth remembering that the human virtues represent meritorious characteristics and positive qualities of the behavior of the individual. Virtues are responsible for shaping the moral compass of an individual, and ultimately dictate the character, values, and personality of each person.

 

“We do not place special value on the possession of a virtue

 until we notice its total absence in our opponent.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

 

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