Monday, May 6, 2013

Three Red Pills

What can a person be said to possess?  Yes, there are material possessions, personal relationships, language skills, knowledge of history, professionals achievements.  But these are particulars - what are the most fundamental possessions of man?

More precisely, what are the intrinsic ends of human action?

Proposition: pleasure, wisdom, and power are the three intrinsic ends of man.

Pleasure - momentary by nature, man's experience of himself, a physiological experience.
Wisdom - everlasting by nature, man's experience of his Creator, a spiritual experience.
Power - everything not momentary and not everlasting, man's experience of others, a social experience.

With respect to Plato's theory of the soul as explained in Book IV of The Republic:
Pleasure is epithumia.
Wisdom is nous.
Power is thumos.

And, of course, Catholicism:
Pleasure is body.
Wisdom is spirit.
Power is soul.

In other words, it ends where it begins.  Yes, there really are only three red pills.

1 comment:

Mindstorm said...

What about genetic legacy? Pursuit of pleasure doesn't guarantee it any longer, wisdom would generally advise to restrain from reproduction, it also rather subtracts from than adds to personal power (making one more vulnerable to pressure). Yet widespread forfeiture of producing offspring would render the other three meaningless.

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