Word of the day – ἀρετή (arete)
Today we have a guest post from Stephen Dunne.
ἀρετή (arete), noun = meaning virtue, goodness, excellence, purity.
This Classical Greek word is difficult to encapsulate precisely in English but expresses a state of almost distinguished self enlightenment. It can however mean many other things besides virtues attached to the self; the Greeks did use the word to describe the form of inanimate objects like vases or statues.
There are many ways to think of the physical form of arete. In Ancient Greece is was the capacity and fulfilment of attaining one’s potential, perhaps in face of much environmental difficulty.
In Philosophy, arete is central to the notion of Virtue Ethics and many of the ideas stem from Aristotelian thought. Virtue Ethics is a serious challenge to other mainstream moral schools like Deontology or Consequentialism.
These days, it could be argued that many of the books in the post-capitalist self-help genre are centred on the notion of arete, with individuals seeking non material fulfilment.