12.22.2018: One Chapter of Nonfiction

Today’s soundtrack is Despised Icon: The Ills of Modern Man, a solid album by the Canadian deathcore band with tight drumming, satisfying grindcore-style squealed vocals, and just the right amount of “-core” to keep me banging my head.

This afternoon, we got together with some friends, ate pizza, and played Really Bad Art, a fun, fast-paced cross between Pictionary and Apples to Apples. Now that the kids are in bed, I’m reading the fourth chapter of the second book of Aristotle’s Ethics.

According to the third chapter of this book, we must train ourselves to find pleasure in good actions, since our actions determine our character. So does it logically follow that those who perform good actions are good people? No, says Aristotle. A man’s intent in performing an action is the ultimate test. He says that three criteria must be met for an action to be good: “(1) The agent must act in full consciousness of what he is doing. (2) He must ‘will’ his action, and will for it for its own sake. (3) The act must proceed from a fixed and unchangeable disposition” (p. 61). So a man must practice good actions before he can become a good man. It is the only way that a man can be good. Doing anything else is useless; Aristotle compares a man who thinks about goodness to the sick man who only thinks about the treatments that his doctor has prescribed.