Understanding Moderation And Self Control Essay

1670 words - 7 pages

The habits and actions of a person will instantly mirror his character, which sometimes it could be uncomfortable. Being like a transparent window through which anyone can see is not always what one might desire. Yet, Aristotle will claim that if one is unhappy with his character, he can change it into a better one, by deliberating well and making the right choice he would then be able to act in accordance with reason; and this will eventually help him reach a virtuous character. Although difficult to be put in practice, there is hope if the person really tries to correct his character. Throughout Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, specifically within his seventh book, he talks about the inner ...view middle of the document...

The self-control (enkrates) person is probably the closest one to the virtuous person with the degree of character excellence. This person may even look as a virtuous person, yet that is not a too big of an illusion since he does have the disposition to be virtuous and proves to be in control of his appetites; his rational calculations is what can fool the amateur eye. And although it may look like an excellence, it is not an excellence, mentioned in Book IV, "self-control is not an excellence either, but a sort of excellence that's mixed with something else" (1128b33). Since being virtuous requires excellence along with a whole lot of moderation within each act, the self-control person comes close in acting as a moderate person, yet the fact that it does not come from the heart, makes him stuck at the level of self-control, enabling him to reach the true virtuous characteristics; however that does not mean that it is impossible, in only requires some more practice. Aristotle claims that, "the self-controlled one knows that his appetites are bad, but does not follow them because of what reason tells him" (1145b12). The self-controlled person possesses strong appetites which are not usually perceived as good appetites to savor on, yet due to his discipline and rational calculations, he can shut his appetites down by having his reasoning win the inner battle. This type of person possesses the knowledge about what is right and what is wrong- and unlike the person who lacks self-control; this person is able to apply his knowledge to making choices, which then permit him to take correct actions. Although many times the choices and actions that the self-controlled person takes are not always pleasing at first, through habituation those actions and choice become as a second nature. For instance, let's take the scenario of a married man desiring another woman, other than his devoted wife.
His name is John and he has been married to Susan for an x amount of years. They are happily together and have many children. John goes out with his friends every Thursday night, every time he enters the bar, his eyes are drooling for the young, provocative bartender named Roxana. Every time John sees Roxana, his mind lands in a fantasy world where only he and Roxana are around. However the moment he blinks, John realizes that the desire and appetite for Roxana is irrational since he is married to Susan and he is happy with her and their children. Although John's imaginations play a trick on him, he does not fall in the trap of his desire of taking the necessary actions which will make his fantasy with Roxana a reality. Therefore John should be considered as a self-controlled person. John does not fall victim to his sexual appetite, and he lets his reason and knowledge of the concept that cheating is wrong to rule him out of his fantasy world. Although John experiences a battle within himself every Thursday night, he manages to keep himself on the right track by...

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