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On Questions and Conflict and Virtue

Nancy Sherman, in her book The Fabric of Character: Aristotle's Theory of Virtue explains, "The agent [of virtue] comes to learn different ways of reading a situation and different questions to pose in order to see the picture with increased insight and clarity. How to see becomes as much a matter of inquiry as what to do."

Questioning, actively seeking understanding, is the only way to see truly.

Seeing or perceiving rightly is as much a virtuous act as the act of doing.

She also tells us that Aristotle tells us: "Through ... friendships [of virtue] we gain transparency before ourselves, see ourselves ... as if in a mirror. We see our foibles and expose what we keep hidden from others. ... We need 'to live together with friends and share in argument and thought' in order to be fully conscious of the sorts of lives we are leading."

In essence, we understand better who we are in relationship with others--in argument and in the sharing of thought.

But only with those committed to the virtues. A liar, for example, who cannot admit to his or her own falsehoods, who claims--perhaps almost believes--the lies to be true, has the capacity to do great damage.

Seek out the virtuous friendship and shake off those who dangerously exhibit profligacy, uncontrol, unrighteousness, small-mindedness, and cowardice.

Love to you all.

The Ninth Circle