Monday, March 8, 2010

Virtue and Wisdom, Death and the Past

It's that time again. Below is a preview of the next chapter of Tom's book. (Notice any changes in the title?)

Hope to see some of you on Tuesday this week for the AZ chapter of the World Future Society meeting, and on Wednesday at Rio Salado Lifelong Laerning Center for Tom's presentation on chapter nine of his book. See the sidebar under Upcoming Events for details.

Now onto the preview...

Mind Flight: Enlightenment, Wisdom, and the Pursuit of Love

Chapter Nine: Virtue and Wisdom, Death and the Past

As the house takes shape around them and the garden grows ever more profuse, Tom and Jeanne grow in their love for each other. But all is not right in paradise. They continue to suffer various maladies. There are more panic attacks, more stomach pains, and bad falls. There are computer malfunctions and domestic upheavals. Tom can’t shake the sense of some malevolent force, but chalks it up to stress from work and conflict over the kids. Still, he wonders if he and Jeanne are a reflection of the larger society with its chaos, speed and overload, its glorification of the individual ego and its narcissistic presentism. The same issues he sees at home confront him at the college. Everywhere people seem to find excuses for their bad behavior, from deterministic arguments derived from psychology to Sartre’s “bad faith.” Everyone is a victim. Everyone seems to deny the basic existential fact of their own power over their lives and identities. How to combat these negative tendencies and achieve enlightenment? The answer, Tom comes to believe, lies in the practice of a key set of virtues and the pursuit of wisdom. Through it all there are mystical moments in places near and far. Tom comes face to face with Spinoza on a cold and rainy day in The Hague; he loses his mother and finds the children he had lost; he returns to Chicago and sees it anew; he wanders the deck of the Queen Mary, alone, and misses Jeanne; he walks to the edge and turns back from it. He waits for God’s next move. When it comes, he finds himself standing before a pan of scrambled eggs…and the monsters of the id come to light …