Here’s an interesting column from the Guardian that highlights the fact that virtues and values have to be taught and learnt – through practice rather than from theory or through indoctrination. Giles Fraser is talking about what 3Di calls spiritual intelligence, and not about religious faith.
Within the same article he’s also talking about what 3Di calls personal intelligence, emotional intelligence and social intelligence.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this column is its focus on what 3Di calls instinctual intelligence, and highlights how instincts are not just a given at the moment of birth. Instinctual intelligence can be both taught and caught.
Courage: a product of practice rather than faith
by Giles Fraser
The idea that courage requires discipline and training needs a fairer hearing. For at least since Aristotle there has been an important strain of moral thought that has recognised human virtue not as some innate given, but rather as something that one can prepare for, and indeed get better at.
The reason the soldier strips and re-strips his weapon a thousand tedious times on the parade ground is so that he can do it, without thought, when he hasn’t slept for days and the bullets are pinging about his ears. Over time, it becomes a matter of instinct. And the advice of the modern army is that the same is true of courage. If you rehearse “doing the right thing” enough, you are much more likely to do the right thing when terrified or confused.
Courage isn’t about not being afraid. Indeed, not being afraid in life-threatening situations is simply foolishness or foolhardiness. Rather, courage is being afraid and doing the right thing nonetheless.
Yes, church itself can be a school of virtue, encouraging a set of practices that transform character. In the trade it is known as formation. But the faith bit may well be incidental. For we can be schooled in virtue by a whole range of institutional practices, the army and AA being two others.
All of which suggests that it’s not the fear of our inner Captain Shettino that matters most. He lurks within us all. The real question is how we shape our behaviour. Which is why the issue of being true to oneself offers so little to the task of becoming the person we would want to be. Change requires practice.
Read the entire article here –