Some books are interesting. Some useful. Some inspiring. There are a few who really touch, and kindle a passion. This book is one of those few ones. It reminds me of the time when I was a bookworm at university, wrestling with the philosophical puzzles that seemed hardly relevant to daily life. This book is particular good in that it is able to apply the philosophical principles to daily life. I remember I was never impressed by utilitarianism. Libertarianism once impressed me, but I often feel a bit uncomfortable about the idea that people are just free to do whatever they want as long as they don't affect others. I begin to see the ingenuity of Rawl's theory. It best reconciles the ideas of freedom and equality. If we are the lucky ones who have talent and wealth, we shouldn't be predatory. We should only deserve more if we use our talent and wealth to create value for the whole society so that even the weaker ones can benefit. I think this is real humanitarian....Continua
I've been attracted by the DVD that I would like to buy a book to read. I am always a reader than a watcher. I enjoyed reading more than watching the DVD I think. Well....maybe I am not up to the level as the author. I found it difficult to follow when I read further. It's not easy to understand the concept of each argument on the justice.
One thing I like is that the author tried to include many daily examples which are really helpful in explaining the difficult concepts in the theory behind. I think I née o read it again sometime in the future so that I could really grasp what it means....
I have to say, a book like this could enter into mainstream, even land in bestseller itself is very impressive... almost unbelievable a few years ago... before Leman's Bro bomb and the melt-down, financial crisis etc. This is a book about justice, equality, fairness!!! Who cares??
Well, it seems quite some people care. At least care enough to buy it and put into their bookself. I am very surprised that I am reading about philosophy again. But this book is not the confusing philosophy books I used to read. It is really practical, since it put the different philosophy into tests on the real-life situation. Very relevant!
And Immanual Kant's concept on freedom worth further exploration! I wonder if he was aware of Buddha's teaching at such an old times. But he arrived into the same conclusions as Buddha, in a logic easier for me to understand.... And his distinction about "Happiness" and "Goodness" is truly enlightening.
When I am choosing from vanilla and chocolate ice cream, I thought I have the freedom, and possible a lot of freedom of choice (there are also many unlikely ice cream flavor like sake, even curry rice). But actually I am not free at all. I am obey my desire of ice cream. I have no choice. The desire of ice cream is there.
So, the only freedom I have is to set my own law, and do it no matter what the situation and consequence is. This law must be based on the intrinsic worth of each human, since human are the only animal with reasoning, and worth respect no matter what.
Well, of course you can still derive happiness in helping others and giving donation, etc. But please make sure you do good things simply because it is good, not out of any other reason, not even it makes you happy! If you do volunteer work simply because it makes you happy, it is not exactly morally worthy. Doing volunteer work to earn happiness has NO fundamental difference from eating ice cream to make oneself happy!
This distinction clear my mind!!! The only way to do good thing and get good outcome is out of the sole reason because the good thing itself is good enough to do. Ledi Sayadaw explained it in his Manuel of Excellent Man, but I did not completely grasp it.
But here, to put it simply, the true parami is only because you do some good thing solely because of the "goodness", but not the "happiness" it brings. This is a very small difference but make totally different effect. If I do things to "seek for happiness" only, I could be caught up in the samadhi joy or bhanga ecstasy. But if I do things to purify the mind, to make myself a truly and thoroughly good person, I am automatically protected from the alluring and deluding joyful experience. This is the guarantee that it will direct to the true wisdom.
I always think the goal of some people to "reach nibbana" is very problematic, but cannot understand why. Now, from this distinction, it becomes very clear. Nibbana could be defined as the ultimate happiness. No any other happiness can be compared with the nibbana happiness. But if somebody do all the meditation simply to gain nibbana happiness, this is quite base. What is the difference between "wanting nibbana" from "wanting banana"?? It is just another worldly desire.
But if the goal is to be a truly good person, this is a totally different intention. You are targeting the "goodness", no matter if it brings "happiness". Goodness itself is good enough.
And luckily "goodness" and "true happiness" are the same thing, they are the two sides of the same coin!
But, make sure you target to "goodness", and you will get "happiness" as the (very gorgeous) side-product!!
The part from John Rawl is particularly humbling. If we really want to be just, we need to hide beneath the veil of ignorance, forgetting our interests, inclination, place in the society, strength and weakness, etc. Then a contract was made and sign among all these people on how to govern, then this is a fair contract.
And also the "Difference Principle": only those social and economic inequalities are permitted that work to the benefit of the least advantaged members of society. It is because allowing everyone to enter the race isa good thing. But if the runners start from different starting points, the race is hardly fair. That is why, Rawls argues, the distribution of income and wealth that results from a free market with formal equality of opportunity cannot be considered just. So the merit is overrated. For example, successful businessman like Bill Gates earn so much money, and the associated power and influence is only because he is born in the current capitalist America. If he was born in the old Ming Dynasty in China, bless him, he will find himself having extremely low social status, people despise him as money-hungry and bad taste, and he will need to struggle hard to please the official just to save his dear life... So, for John Rawl, it is to encourage the gifted to develop and exercise their talents, but with the understanding that the rewards these talents reap in the market belong to the community as a whole.
Some would argue that the talented are not just talented, they put into tremendous efforts. Rawls replies that even effort may be the product of a favorable upbringing. Even the willingness to make an effort, to try, and so to be deserving in the ordinary sense is itself dependent upon happy family and social circumstances. Like other factors in our success, effort is influenced by contingencies fro wihich we can claim no credit.
So, the successful no need to be proud. Loser no need to be sad. It is luck at play. If you believe in kamma, the answer is even better. You are getting what you sow before. And the important thing is what is sow right now. You make your future by taking careful sowing moment after moment....Continua