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On Moral Virtue – Selections from “Morals” by Plutarch (vegetarian), Part 1 of 2

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As a compassionate vegetarian, Plutarch reminded people of the perils of animal-people flesh-eating; in his essay “On the Eating of Flesh,” he stated, “Animals have senses: they have faculties for seeing, hearing, understanding: is it right to extinguish these faculties? Who knows, but the bodies of animals may contain the souls of deceased men, of a father, brother, or other friend?”

Plutarch’s “Morals” showcases a collection of essays and transcribed speeches exploring morality, ethics, and character development. It offers timeless wisdom on living a virtuous life. Through engaging speeches and thought-provoking insights, Plutarch’s “Morals” remains relevant and enlightening, inspiring readers to reflect on the interconnectedness between our actions and the Divine and strive for personal upliftment.

On Moral Virtues

“For I think it is clear that virtue can exist and continue altogether free from matter and mixture.”

“As for those who wonder that what is unreasoning should obey reason, they do not seem to me to recognize the power of reason, how great it is, and how far-reaching its dominion is – a power not gained by harsh and repelling methods, but by attractive ones, as mild persuasion which always accomplishes more than compulsion or violence. For even the spirit and nerves and bones, and other parts of the body, though devoid of reason, yet at any instigation of reason, when she shakes as it were the reins, are all on the alert and compliant and obedient, the feet to run, and the hands to throw or lift, at her bidding. […]

Accordingly moral character […] for it is, to speak generally, a quality of the unreasoning element in man, […] because the unreasoning element moulded by reason receives this quality and difference by habit, […]. Habit is the strong formation of power in the unreasoning element engendered by use, being vice if the passions are badly tutored by reason, virtue if they are well tutored.”
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