Cardinal Virtues: questions of development and speed

The “Epilogue” to E.F. Schumacher. Small is Beautiful ends thus

Justice relates to truth, fortitude to goodness, and temperantia to beauty: while prudence, in a sense, comprises all three. The type of realism which behaves as if the good, the true, and the beautiful were too vague and subjective to be adopted as the highest aims of social or individual life, or were the automatic spin-off of the successful pursuit of wealth and power, has been aptly called ‘crackpot-realism’. Everywhere people ask: ‘What can I actually do?’ The answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: we can, each of us, work to put our own inner house in order. The guidance we need for this work cannot be found in science or technology, the value of which utterly depends on the ends they serve; but it can be found in the traditional wisdom of mankind.

The question arises as when and where to trust “traditional wisdom”. Schumacher’s vision calls for patience and practice.

Development does not start with goods; it starts with people and their education, organisation, and discipline. […] Education does not “jump”; it is a gradual process of great subtlety. Organisation does not “jump”; it must gradually evolve to fit changing circumstances. And much the same goes for discipline.

It is tempting to “jump” between these excerpts and map justice and truth to education, fortitude and goodness to organisation, temperance and beauty to discipline. And prudence to the dexterity of jumping.

And so for day 464

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