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Four Cardinal Virtues

.. have rights and must respect each others rights. For example: if I am asked by another person to do a certain job for him for a specific amount of money and we do this through mutual agreement, then that person is obliged to pay me. There are many other factors that play a role in this situation, however considering that I do the job to fulfill what we agreed on, then that person owes me a certain due. It is unjust if that person does not pay what he promised me if I gave him what I said I would. This very simple situation brings justice in to play, and justice is the reason that I now have something due to me.

If that person is a just person then he will pay me. Humans deal with each other in everyday life in many situations. Usually justice is the basic element that builds trust between individuals. If I see someone act in an unjust manner then I will not be inclined to trust that person. In order for us to trust and respect each other we must learn to be just with one another. Once a person develops the notion to act justly and not try to hurt another person, then he or she has taken a big step forward towards fulfilling the Christian image of man.

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Then it becomes necessary to move on and try to develop and attain the next virtue towards becoming a Christian human, which is fortitude. I will now move on to explain what fortitude is and its role in the process of becoming a Christian being. I will also show how this virtue is dependent on the previous two, prudence and justice. This next virtue, fortitude, is the one that interested me the most in our study of the four virtues. The reason it interested me so much is because of what it explains in human beings actions.

The virtue of fortitude is the one virtue that deals with suffering and injury; but deals with it in a manner where it justifies humans death in certain situations. This may sound very complicated; but it is really very simple and is crucial in the process of fulfilling the ideal Christian image of man. Fortitude is the readiness to give up ones life, suffer injury, and be brave in the name of something that is just and moral. “Fortitude is basically readiness to die or, more accurately, readiness to fall, to die, in battle.” However, the battle must be one that is for a just and moral cause. If a human believes that there is injustice and immorality in any sort, then he or she must fight against the injustice and immorality no matter how much pain and suffering they face.

The ultimate test of fortitude would be death for a good cause. I have already written a short paper on this specific issue. Death is considered to be the ultimate test of fortitude due to the fact that a human faces the biggest fear in life, which is death. Pieper explains to us that fear is not perceived as a bad thing, in fact it is an important aspect of fortitude. When a human being is suffering injury in the name of God, he or she does not do it just for the sake of the injury.

People who withstand pain, suffering, and ultimately death do it for the idea that they cannot live in a society where injustice is O.K. This does not mean that a martyr perceives life as of little worth; a martyr faces an outstanding fear of entering the unknowable for the idea that humans must not live amongst injustice. Humans must be able to recognize any type of injustice around them and act to change that injustice into the good. God puts us on earth so that we may live just, moral, and good lives. This is not possible unless we all recognize the good and devote ourselves to eliminating injustice and immorality. When a man is ready to give up his life for a good cause, this should tell the rest of society that we must not go on with injustice as a part of life. Humans have the power to become good men and women through just and moral thinking.

If a person gives up his or her life for a cause, then this should tell us that something is wrong and it must be altered. When a person gives up his or her life for something, this means that the person was not able to go on living experiencing the immorality and injustice that was occurring. Many of the injustices that occur in todays society are due to humans not knowing or understanding the need to know ourselves and be able to comprehend what is good not only for ourselves but for the rest of society. Many times these injustices occur due to humans not being able to control their desires, which leads to unnecessary beliefs and actions. The final virtue of temperance is the one that deals with the issue of desire. This next virtue tries to explain how humans need to be in order for us to fulfill the Christian image of man.

I will now move on to briefly talk about this virtue and show its importance in the process of becoming an ideal Christian. Temperance is a virtue that we have not studied as closely as the other three. This virtue deals with the difficult task of humans being able to give things for our well being. The main theme of temperance is selfless self-preservation. What this means is that humans must be able to act in good manner for their own good. For example, if I love to eat chocolate and do it everyday, I must be able to control my desire for chocolate be knowing that it is for my own benefit as well as to the benefit of society. It may sound strange that me not eating too much chocolate will benefit society, however this is a very basic example.

Whenever humans consume too much of something not only are they affecting their own selves, they are also affecting the rest of society. We live in a country where food and drinks are not that hard to find; in fact we have too much of it and waste a lot of it. While we are wasting all this food, there are people in other parts of the world whom sometimes go a whole day without anything healthy to eat. This is a perfect example of the type of injustices we are living amongst. Temperance teaches humans to know themselves and have inner knowledge of what they really”need” and what we consume.

Humans must understand that we can be selfless or selfish. If we act selfishly then we are not caring about the rest of society and are only looking to please ourselves only. On the other hand, a selfless person is one who recognizes that there are other people around us and understand that whatever we do may affect the rest of society. “For man there are two modes of this turning toward the self: a selfless and a selfish one. Only the former makes for self-preservation; the latter is destructive.” This piece of text shows the fact that the sole thing that can throw a person into destruction is the self.

In other words it is our self-being that controls what happens around us. If we want to live in a just, moral, and good society then our self-being can see that this occurs. “Most difficult to grasp is the fact that it is indeed the essential human self that is capable of throwing itself into disorder to the point of self-destruction.” This is the one unique and distinct point in the virtue of temperance. This virtue is the only virtue that deals with the human self. “Temperantia is distinguished from the other cardinal virtues by the fact that it refers exclusively to the active man himself.

Prudence looks to all existent reality; justice to the fellow man; the man of fortitude relinquishes, in self-forgetfulness, his own possessions and his life. Temperance, on the other hand, aims at each man himself.” To sum things up, I have tried to show how a person who attains these four cardinal virtues can become the ideal Christian being. This does not mean you have to be Christian in order to attain these virtues, because when we say the ideal Christian being, we mean a good person. All humans who attain these four virtues are people who have dedicated their self-being and life to do what God asks from all of us. What I have tried to show is how these four virtues are distinct from each other but yet so dependent and connected with one another.

Humans must understand that we are not living our lives so that we may enjoy pleasure and wealth at the expense of the rest of society. We are all on earth together and everything we do affects each other. Therefore we must try our hardest to only involve ourselves in good action; in this way our action will affect the rest of society in only a good manner. I have also tried to express the importance of understanding what the good is. Humans are good in nature; sometimes it is our surroundings that make us act immorally and in a bad fashion. This is why it is necessary to always try and keep a good surrounding.

This can be achieved if all humans attain the four cardinal virtues. Therefore, in order to live in a society that is full of nothing but justice, morality, and good; we must all work towards fulfilling the Christian image of man. This can be achieved simply by attaining the “Four Cardinal Virtues.”.


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