We live out our lives, both individual and in our relationships with each other, in the light of certain conceptions of a possible shared future, a future in which certain possibilities beckon us forward and others repel us, some seem already foreclosed and others perhaps inevitable. 1
What future does the transhumanist wish for? There are two dominant strains of thought. The first count amount their membership those who desire to be free from work, free from body, free from family, free from nation, and otherwise free from responsibility. The second to pure energy expenditure, a rapturous exponential acceleration into the void while Burial blares in the background. These options repel me–I desire a beautiful future!
It is not enough that I should state a desire. What are the ethics (so-called) of today but pure statements of desire? The transhumanist elite cries out for gay multicultural space automated luxury communism–“If only the Godpilled peasantry of the heartland voted in my own interests!” Her emancipatory desires do not come to pass solely due to the failure of others, never because she herself is at fault. How could she be, having so dutifully amplified the marginalized voices that suited her best?
The tradhumanist wishes for beauty and flourishing, but recognizes that this only comes through continual action. It is only through labor that he may rightfully say he lives his full telos.
Within that teleological scheme there is a fundamental contrast between man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essential-nature. Ethics is the science which is to enable men to understand how they make the transition from the former state to the latter. 2
To be fully in possession of a virtue is to be habitual. For those who practice the virtue of honesty truth-telling is a reflex. Rather than conspire to say what is most pleasing to the interlocutor, the honest man is forthright without thought. He chooses to be virtuous and speak truly. The idea of being dishonest disgusts him.
We become builders by building, and we become harpists by playing the harp. Similarly, then, we become just by doing just actions, temperate by doing temperate actions, brave by doing brave actions. 3
Clearly society is at its best when all its members practice honesty. If not, we run the risk of being overrun with those who cheat for gain, poisoning the well of commons. So too with the rest of Aristotle’s virtues: courage, temperance, generosity, magnificence, magnanimity, ambition, wit, friendliness, modesty, and righteous indignation. If members of a society do not practice these virtues, they soon find themselves Living In A Society.
The human good proves to be activity of the soul in accord with virtue. 4
I should be clear that when I speak of virtue I am not making a claim that I own full virtue. Rather, I am interested in virtue ethics in order to become less prideful, less lazy, less sinful and otherwise a better person. I tell you of virtue ethics as a record–here is what I am attempting! It is not that I contain goodness and virtue, it is that I work to obtain it. The results will speak for themselves.
Contrast this with the dominant mode of ethics where special knowledge of goodness manifests itself in select few based on their adjectives. We should not then be surprised that we see people switching to higher rarities of identity. Those are the good ones!
Virtue of character is a mean between two vices, once of excess and one of deficiency, it aims at the intermediate condition in feelings and actions. That is why it is also hard work to be excellent. For in each case it is hard work to find the intermediate; for instance, not everyone, but only one who knows, finds the midpoint in a circle. So also getting angry, or giving and spending money, is easy and everyone can do it; but doing it to the right person, in the right amount, at the right time, for the right and, an in the right way is no longer easy, nor can everyone do it. Hence doing these things well is rare, praiseworthy, and fine. 5
What future does the tradhumanist wish for? It is not a single place, a stopping point, a singularity, no! My God, look at everything around you! Nothing holds, this will all fall apart! It is only through the continual practice of virtuous labor that eternity may come to be. Tradition is not a mere revival of the past, it is the eternal practice of the just and the right. What we wish for is the ability to continually construct a virtuous society.
The mark of a virtuous society is that it is beautiful. If it is good, there is no way for it to not be shining and unassailable in its beauty. Next time, more on the beauty of flourishing.