The essays or counsels civill and morall

How do these two celebri-chefs contribute to Stoic practice?  By showing their abilities to work within the fields of culinary art and science to take “ every obstacle, every impediment, and [work] around it—[turn] it to its purposes, [incorporate] it into itself.”  Rather than be limited – and potentially frustrated – by the obstacles they faced in their respective fields, the chef turned scientist and scientist turned chef show us how embracing the challenge and relinquishing attempts to control the boundaries that may exist can produce a more integrated whole.  Through their extraordinary efforts, both Adria and Myhrvold provide clear examples of how  a rational being can turn each setback into raw material and use it to achieve its goal.

‘…What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. Certainly there be, that delight in giddiness, and count it a bondage to fix a belief; affecting free-will in thinking, as well as in acting. And though the sects of philosophers of that kind be gone, yet there remain certain discoursing wits, which are of the same veins, though there be not so much blood in them, as was in those of the ancients. But it is not only the difficulty and labor, which men take in finding out of truth, nor again, that when it is found, it imposeth upon men's thoughts, that doth bring lies in favor; but a natural, though corrupt love, of the lie itself. One of the later school of the Grecians, examineth the matter, and is at a stand, to think what should be in it, that men should love lies; where neither they make for pleasure, as with poets, nor for advantage, as with the merchant; but for the lie's sake. But I cannot tell; this same truth, is a naked, and open day-light, that doth not show the masks, and mummeries, and triumphs, of the world, half so stately and daintily as candle-lights…

THE stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man. For as to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies; but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like a fury. You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one, that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that great spirits, and great business, do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the latter was an austere and wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love can find entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified, if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, Satis magnum alter alteri theatrum sumus; as if man, made for the contemplation of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel before a little idol, and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth (as beasts are), yet of the eye; which was given him for higher purposes. It is a strange thing, to note the excess of this passion, and how it braves the nature, and value of things, by this; that the speaking in a perpetual hyperbole, is comely in nothing but in love. Neither is it merely in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well said, that the arch-flatterer, with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man’s self; certainly the lover is more. For there was never proud man thought so absurdly well of himself, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore it was well said, That it is impossible to love, and to be wise. Neither doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved; but to the loved most of all, except the love be reciproque. For it is a true rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque, or with an inward and secret contempt. By how much the more, men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth not only other things, but itself! As for the other losses, the poet’s relation doth well figure them: that he that preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas. For whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth both riches and wisdom. This passion hath his floods, in very times of weakness; which are great prosperity, and great adversity; though this latter hath been less observed: both which times kindle love, and make it more fervent, and therefore show it to be the child of folly. They do best, who if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarters; and sever it wholly from their serious affairs, and actions, of life; for if it check once with business, it troubleth men’s fortunes, and maketh men, that they can no ways be true to their own ends. I know not how, but martial men are given to love: I think, it is but as they are given to wine; for perils commonly ask to be paid in pleasures. There is in man’s nature, a secret inclination and motion, towards love of others, which if it be not spent upon some one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable; as it is seen sometime in friars. Nuptial love maketh mankind; friendly love perfecteth it; but wanton love corrupteth, and embaseth it.

Like other neo-Stoic authors of the period, Gournay admits that the nature and authenticity of virtue is elusive.  But unlike many of her contemporaries, she does not simply dismiss virtue as a mask of the vice of pride.  In Vicious Virtue , she argues that the elusiveness of virtue is tied to the hidden motivations behind virtuous acts.  While one may observe external actions, one cannot observe the occult motives inspiring the moral agent to act in an apparently virtuous manner.  “One cannot remove from humanity all the virtuous actions it practices because of coercion, self-interest, chance, or accident.  Even graver are the external virtues which follow on some vicious inclination…To eliminate all such virtuous acts would place the human race closer to the rank of simple animals than I would dare to say.”  Much, if not all, of human moral action is motivated by immoral or amoral factors.  External virtuous conduct is caused more by personal interest or accident than by conscious virtuous intention.  To eliminate all the moral actions inspired by less than virtuous motives is to eliminate practically all deliberative moral action; the only remaining activity is comparable to that manifested by non-rational animals.

The essays or counsels civill and morall

the essays or counsels civill and morall

Like other neo-Stoic authors of the period, Gournay admits that the nature and authenticity of virtue is elusive.  But unlike many of her contemporaries, she does not simply dismiss virtue as a mask of the vice of pride.  In Vicious Virtue , she argues that the elusiveness of virtue is tied to the hidden motivations behind virtuous acts.  While one may observe external actions, one cannot observe the occult motives inspiring the moral agent to act in an apparently virtuous manner.  “One cannot remove from humanity all the virtuous actions it practices because of coercion, self-interest, chance, or accident.  Even graver are the external virtues which follow on some vicious inclination…To eliminate all such virtuous acts would place the human race closer to the rank of simple animals than I would dare to say.”  Much, if not all, of human moral action is motivated by immoral or amoral factors.  External virtuous conduct is caused more by personal interest or accident than by conscious virtuous intention.  To eliminate all the moral actions inspired by less than virtuous motives is to eliminate practically all deliberative moral action; the only remaining activity is comparable to that manifested by non-rational animals.

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