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" The songs of our ancestors

are also the songs of our children "

The Druid Way

Aristotle by Howard Campbell

July 31st, 2014
The OBOD Retreat at Cae Mabon Snowdonia May 2014. Howard is in the centre of the picture by the cello case.

The OBOD Retreat at Cae Mabon Snowdonia May 2014. Howard is in the centre of the picture by the cello case.

A splendid piece from Howard Campbell which he read out to the assembled company on the OBOD Cae Mabon retreat in May:

 

Aristotle – Howardean Ethics of the Mean after Nicomachus

            with thanks to Cormac McArt

 

choose to do that which brings you towards the virtue of your being

do not seek what you cannot know

do not dwell in what cannot change

 

if your nature be as rock

move down – go deep

 

if your nature be as fire

move up – flame with sparks

 

if your nature be as water

move around – meander

 

if your nature be as air

expand fill every corner – unseen

 

stir your cauldron full with

pleasure

sorrow

pain

and joy

 

learn the difficult craft of choice

make your way of being a work of art

not too much nor too little of any one tint

a finished work of art needs nothing

taken away nor added

 

search for the excellence of your being

so easy to have feelings

given out too much or too little

so difficult to find the centre of a circle

so difficult to change a habit to virtue

to sraighten a bent willow wand

curve beyond the mean

 

anyone can be angry – this is easy – so difficult

with the right person

to the right extent

at the right time

with the right motive

in the right way

this is not easy

 

choose to do what brings you towards the virtue of your being

do not seek what you cannot know

do not dwell on what cannot change

seek to be not too little nor too much

climb the steep path

stoop to the wind

navigate the mists towards

the virtue of your being

 

Notes – Nichomachus was Aristotle’s son. He edited his father’s notes which may have been lecture notes as they were repetitious and confusing. I have taken the liberty of condensing about 100 pages into the above piece hence Howardean. Brendan Myers led me to virtue ethics – the best way we can be – and on to Cormac McAairt 3rd century King of Tara who had an Aristotlean view of virtue ethics in his instructions to his son, Cairbre.

I have added two elements as Aristotle only referred to two. I have also added a few poetic twists.      

Howard Campbell     

2 Responses to “Aristotle by Howard Campbell”

  1. What a wonderful poem. It speaks to me very directly right now, especially ‘Do not dwell on what you cannot change’, and the whole concept of navigating ‘towards the virtue of your being.’ Thank you.

  2. I like it very much!
    Maybe sure, I would remove pain from my cauldron, and add more spice and humor instead to cope with all lifes challenges….;)

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