Human Event Paper #2

Human Event Paper #2 - Samantha Gustafson Jacquie...

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Samantha Gustafson October 29, 2004 Jacquie Scott-Lynch HON 171 - MW 10:40 am Sex vs. Virtue Charles Dubois once said: “The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.” For centuries, the idea of integrity as a result of personal sacrifice has been a dominating characteristic separating the admirable from the fortunate. An analect from Confucius states, “I have never seen anyone who loved virtue as much as sex” (Analects 41). This illustrates a more modern view on the value of integrity. Although the original analect has been translated in many different ways, the underlying theme is still consistent - one will choose transient pleasure instead of holding out for righteousness. The analect is relevant today and as far back as Virgil’s Ancient Epic, The Aeneid . In this epic, Aeneas and Dido’s love affair reflects Confucius’ observation in opposite ways. Aeneas’ actions counter the statement while the actions of Dido prove it to be true. The analect conveys the sacrifice needed to attain virtue. Interpreting the word “sex” literally, the love for sex is evident because sex is easily satisfying and virtue is not. Sex does not require one to sacrifice much for the instant pleasure that is acquired. However, if the word “sex” is interpreted as general happiness or something that gives rapid gratification, Confucius’ statement implies that no man is patient enough to obtain virtue. It takes a lot of self- determination and work to do the right thing instead of opting for the speedy solution. Confucius, therefore, implies that achieving virtue requires unwavering patience, which is the basis of determination. If one is going to wait for the right time to perform a virtuous action, any opportunities that could have been taken while he was waiting are sacrificed. Analect 15.9 illustrates the sacrifices that are involved in acquiring righteousness: “The Master said: ‘A
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righteous man, a man attached to humanity, does not seek life at the expense of his humanity; there are instances where he will give his life in order to fulfill his humanity” (75). If one is determined to be virtuous, he will stop at nothing to attain that virtue. One will give up portions of life, no matter how great, in order to progress when the time is right, even if he must wait. Aeneas’ decision to leave Dido and lead his people to a new land refutes Confucius’
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Human Event Paper #2 - Samantha Gustafson Jacquie...

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