Isn’t this sad? – “Time Clipping Cupid’s
Wings”(1694), oil on canvas by Pierre Mignard
Socrates might have been taking into account the ability of those closest to us to hurt us the most, as well as love us the best, when he formulated his symmetric ethic: you have a capacity to do a certain amount of good, which is always accompanied by the ability to do a similar amount of evil.
“I only wish it were so, Crito, that the many could do the greatest evil; for then they would also be able to do the greatest good—and what a fine thing this would be!”-Socrates
If you came to see me, I might discuss Kierkegaard’s thoughts on coping with death, Ayn Rand’s ideas on the virtue of selfishness, or Aristotle’s advice to pursue reason and moderation in all things. We might look into decision theory, the I Ching (Book of Changes), or Kant’s theory of obligation. Some people like the authoritative approach of Hobbes, for example, while others respond to a more intuitive approach, like Lao Tzu’s. We might explore their philosophies in depth…We are especially vulnerable when we are low on faith, knowledge or confidence, as so many of us are who feel we can’t find all the answers in religion or in science. Throughout this century, a widening abyss has opened beneath us as, religion has retreated, science has advanced, and meaning has expired. Most of us don’t see the abyss until we haven in into. Things change. And friends leave. Life doesn’t stop for anybody, only that, some infinities are bigger than other infinities.