Virtues/Purity

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Introduction:[edit]

Purity is the virtue of benevolence—acting without any trace of evil or selfish motives. Intentions are pure only when they are free of self-interest, egoism, desire, envy, cruelty, spite, greed, malice, lust, trickery, and dishonesty. Motives are pure only when they are free of power, control, and coercion.[1]

Manipulation and exploitation arise from impure motives.

Pure love is giving, not taking, not a transaction, not a means to an end.

Purity can only be genuine, never faked.

The Virtue of Purity[edit]

Purity is good because evil is not.

Everyday Purity[edit]

Examine your motives. Strive for purity each day in these ways:

  • Examine your speech. Are you being simple, straightforward, and candid, or is there some intent to deceive? Are you promoting both truth and grace?
  • Examine your friendships. Are the relationships instrumental—sustained by the possibility of gaining some future ego or material benefit—or are they based purely on caring? Do you trade on your friendships?
  • Examine your gift giving and charity. Do you ever give with the thought of receiving something in return, or is your giving motivated purely by caring, kindness, generosity, compassion, and love? Do you ever give complements with the hope of receiving a complement in return? Do you use flattery for personal gain?
  • Examine your persuasion, influences, and charm. Do you ever intend to alter someone’s beliefs to align them with your political or religious ideology, rather than encouraging a broader examination of what is? Would you even be having this conversation if you were not trying to sell something?
  • Become aware of your own hypocrisy. Notice when you are inconsistent in what you say and what you do. Strive to increase your fidelity. Beware; those who espouse purity the loudest may be the least pure. Look first to yourself.
  • Identify your vices, these may include: vanity, envy, jealousy, anger, greed, overindulgence, smoking, excessive drinking, gambling, infidelity, and others. Strive to end these.
  • Reflect on your own sexual behaviors. Have all participants expressed their informed, adult, consent? Is anyone ever deceived, tricked, coerced, shamed, harmed, or regretful as a result? Do the behaviors bring only enjoyment to each participant? Does the sex express caring?
  • Examine your love. Is it conditional—sometimes intentionally withheld to coerce another—or is it unconditional.

Be gentle with yourself, purity is a virtue but absolute purity is unattainable.

Assignment[edit]

Part 1: Choose one of the areas described above to examine in detail.

Part 2: For one week, for the area chosen to study, as you act keep a record of each impurity that has crept into your motives.

Part 3: Resolve to purge that impurity from yourself.

References[edit]

  1. Comte-Sponville, André (2002). A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life. Picador. pp. 368. ISBN 978-0805045567. 

Further Reading[edit]

Students interested in learning more about the virtues of purity may be interested in the following materials:

  • Haidt, Jonathan (2012). The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Pantheon. pp. 448. ISBN 978-0307377906. 
  • (Evaluate the book: Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo )