On three vices of human race (to be continued)

   Two years of specialization muffled my philosophical predisposition, a common danger in the dysutopia of academic life. Sometimes it is a lot easier for one to step back and summarize his career to date in a trenchant fashion, and follow a new set of rules that help him sail through many of the backwaters and snags of pilgrimage in the dark. This duty I have recently dabbled upon, though without apparently earthshaking consequences. What behooved me is the identification of three what I believe truly degenerate characteristics that haunted me hitherto. It takes great courage for me a naked human to broach on this subject; nevertheless I am obliged to do so.
   The first of those satanic features inveterate in me is greed, a so-called sin as often identified in Christianity as the name Satan itself. Dante’s Inferno stratified greed to the extent that 3 or 4 of the 9 levels of hell were dedicated to it. I found it more appealing aesthetically to treat greed as a unified scheme, to which only the multidinous manifestions are important. The most basic, philistine form that greed takes is known as gluttony and lechery. As the Confucian disciple Meng Ke pointed out, food and reproduction are entrenched in human nature. Indeed Darwinism further corroborates such empirical statement with the pragmatism of natural selection. How many industry nowadays go beyond the fulfillment of those two ploebian needs? Not too many. If we play a game similar to the Erdos number game popular among the published mathematicians, by assigning a number x to an industry which relates to those two biological functions in x indirect steps, then I dare propose that the maximal "Erdos" number would not exceed 3 (although Paul Erdos himself might be a bit pissed at my insolence and bumptious promulgation of pseudoscience).
  Many doyens were ostensibly aware of the vitiating effects of biological greed. The emphasis on ascetism is ubiquitous among Eastern Asian traditions. The Japanese perfected the art of forbearance, creating such chivalrous vocations as the Forbearer. Buddhism forbids many biologically worthy functionalities of human believers, hence also procuring a stoic culture, the forfeiture of instinctual desires. To confuse the picture a little bit, the Chinese boasted the revolutionary invention of Taoism, one of the most influential schools of philosophy from time immemorial. What strikes a callow observer is the externally quiescent coexistence with the unproselytized life. The doctrines simply demand harmony with nature, and liberalize all sorts of behavioral
"indecencies". But a closer scrutiny reveals the challenge of following such simple creeds. Tao is really a dynamical intellectual process. To be the winner requires a constant vigilance of imminent partiality. And to an acute mind such dynamics might in itself be paradoxical, with the appropriately drafted rubric.
   Having dwelled upon the foundational material quite laboriously so far, I present the core of my greed: that of excessive hardship. Through a autodidatic practice of action and reverse action, I indulged myself in fun-stripping style of ostricized learning. It became almost active-compulsive. That is the word greed flaring in front of your eyes, fellow readers! The sweet taste of sweated reward boosted my morale, as much as clogged my fresh-thinking cephalis. Unlike what some pedagogue would tell you sometimes, persevering might easily result in pertinacity, myopia, and dullness. Undisputable is the fact that most booksmarts turn waste in post-educational careers. Some attribute this devastating statistics to mental burden associated with unreasonable social expectation; on second thought, one may also argue that those sapplings were drowned by early growth stimulating, greedy dose of irrigation. Just as vividly coined by the Chinese idiom "yank the sappling to help it grow faster", no unreasonable expedient should be employed, lest it incurs opposite effects. The critique on the avaricious sage is questionable to many non-Christians only because it works against another more common form of human vice, sloth, which also features preponderously in Dante’s Inferno.
    The exposition on sloth will be staged up in the next essay in the present sequel..

About aquazorcarson

math PhD at Stanford, studying probability
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