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Acquiring Virtue Through Constraint

We are often not virtuous by nature but because of our constraints. It is simply the difficulty that has forced us to be more virtuous.

It is said in the Bible that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to pass through the gates of heaven. Why is this? Because poverty is a material constraint that can help to develop a stronger spiritual feeling than if one lived in opulence.

Self-Imposed Constraints To Become Better

Most often, constraints are imposed on us by life. However, there are constraints that we can impose on ourselves to become a better person, for example, this is what we call a moral code.

A Hard Life Can Make You More Noble

There is nobility in the worker who gets up at 4 a.m. to go feed his family. There is nobility in the housewife who sacrifices herself so that her children have a better future. There is nobility in those who never go on vacation so they can pay for their children’s education. There is nobility in the child who starts working at a very young age to avoid being a burden to his family.

That said, one does not have to be poor to be able to recreate the difficult conditions of life. One can be rich or aspire to be rich while imposing difficult moral constraints on oneself.

Recreate A Strict Moral Framework To Avoid Becoming A Despicable Being, Corrupted By His Own Comfort

To define basic moral rules

Impose A Difficulty On Yourself Even Though You Live In Comfort

If you do not enjoy the constraint of a hard life and the possible virtues it brings, you can recreate the conditions. An interesting example is that of the samurai. When peace reigned in Japan, the samurai could have lost their warrior spirit and the nobility that came with it. Instead, they formalized their warrior ethic into what is called bushido. Even while employed in harmless occupations such as administrators or accountants, they managed to maintain their martial spirit by adhering to the strict rules of bushido. Discipline and gravity had to dominate their actions even while writing a note or doing accounts.

Outer Emptiness, Inner Wealth

There is a famous saying: “Hard times bring strong men, strong men create easy times and easy times bring weak men”. In short, difficulty builds character. People who live in extreme conditions (mountains, cold, wild animals, shortages, etc.) will generally have greater resilience than those who grow up in more hospitable climates.

Why Are Parents Generally Better People?

Having a child is a self-imposed pressure to become a better person. Of course, I am not talking about parents who do not assume their responsibilities. Parenthood is typically an example of a compulsion that pushes us to be more self-sacrificing, self-sacrificing and self-serving. It is often a simple and effective way to create a profound change in an individual. Obviously, it is not a burden to be taken lightly and it should not be taken by someone who does not feel capable of doing so, at the risk of compromising the future of a child.

Sport As A Constraint That Makes Us Better

Sport is also a striking example of constraint that leads to improvement. Why force yourself to run dozens of kilometres, to lift weights, to wrestle an opponent if it was in vain? The physical and moral constraint that sport represents forces us to improve on these two aspects.

School, A Constraint To Become Social And Disciplined

School is an uncomfortable place for all children. Leaving the family bubble to join a space populated by strangers can be confusing. Yet in doing so, one learns at least two essential things: socialization and the power of discipline – through work and study. Both of these things are important for life in general and serve as indispensable tools for success in society. By imposing the constraint of school, we put the chances on our side to improve our social intelligence and develop our cognitive abilities.

What Lessons Can We Learn?

– Constraint is the main place of learning
– Constraint most often develops our character
– Constraint can be recreated artificially through sports for example
– Virtue is often the result of undergoing constraints
– Constraint is essential for our moral, physical and intellectual progress

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