- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Moon Books (April 9, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1846941156
- ISBN-13: 978-1846941153
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,187,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Other Side of Virtue: Where Our Virtues Come From, What They Really Mean, and Where They Might Be Taking Us Paperback – April 9, 2008
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
This is one of the most important books you can read. 'The Other Side of Virtue' explores territory that is vitally important to understand at this critical time in our history. Reading it will deepen your soul. It might seem strange to recommend cheating when discussing a book on virtues and ethics, but let me say this: this is one of the most important books you can read, but if you doubt this, turn to the very last two pages of the book and read the final passage marked 'The Messenger'. Better still, start at the beginning and let the book deepen your soul and broaden your understanding. Philip Carr-Gomm, Author of "Sacred Places", Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids [selected] The Other Side of Virtue is a bold reviving of the deepest ethics of past heroic societies, of spirited people living in a world of ultimate immensities, crafting lives of intrinsic value and meaning. This is a book full of fascinating insights and well worth the interest of readers concerned with the ethical dilemmas of the modern world. It is filled with arresting insights, unexpected turns of analysis, and the kind of rich analytic context that will more than repay the efforts made by its readers. It has given me much to think about, and much to re-think. Gus DiZerega, Professor of Political Science, St. Lawrence University; author of Pagans and Christians, and Of Fish and Men
About the Author
Brendan Cathbad Myers, Ph.D., has worked as a musician, an environmentalist, a labour union leader, a university lecturer and as a simple country gardener. He has appeared on several U.S. radio stations (including NPR) and half a dozen podcasts, and writes a regular column in several Pagan newsletters and journals. He lives in Southern Ontario, Canada
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Brendan Myers' book, The Other Side of Virtue, goes a long way in re-introducing us to our cultural roots. Here we find the social event of storytelling that once united people by forming communal dynamics while transmitting a common identity down through the ages. He unveils the virtue of the heroic mindset, and the desire to be remembered for outstanding deeds as the only grasp for immortality we can count on. He then challenges the herd mentality of those who relinquish their will for discernment. By resurrecting the concept of the noble soul, and how the Immensities of life confront by asking who we are, Myers shows us the means to authentic living.
A book well worth reading, and keeping.
This book could be a modern manifesto for humanistic Paganism; but its theories can also be applied to most modern Pagan practice. And it could also be read and enjoyed by humanists and naturalists of any faith. It could possibly even be held up to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking as an answer on the value of philosophy. Philosophy is not dead, Myers argues. It has merely changed form. A hard-core rationalist might ask "What use does philosophy have in the modern scientific and rational world?" The answer is "to teach us how to live a good life without faith to fall back on." But that being said, it does not challenge the existence of faith; rather, it suggests that ethics and values are essential and positive driving forces that cross the boundaries of religion or spirituality, and are equally applicable to everyone.
Myers postulates that classical heroic values are as relevant to the modern world as they were in the classical and heroic ages. He makes a good case for this by explaining modern humanist values as a natural outgrowth of classical values. Then he applies these values in the process of confronting what he calls "The Immensity." I have spoken of these things in previous articles as "the big human questions" and I have postulated that the degrees of Wicca are intended as rituals to help us to confront three of the Immensities that Brendan names: Life, Death, and Love; or as he puts it, The Earth, Death, and Other People. He suggests that our virtues teach us how to confront these Immensities; and by answering their challenges positively, we exemplify a virtuous life.
I love Brendan's way of articulating this concept in what I have previously described as "his liquid prose." His education is apparent through his choice of phrasing; but unlike many other academics, he does not write in technicalities and field-specific terminology. It is easily (and enjoyably) accessible to the layperson. And, I might add, he addresses how classical virtues, though grounded in patriarchal cultures, apply equally to women as well as men; and he uses figurative "he" and "she" interchangeably, giving me (as a woman who identifies as a feminist) a warm glow. When I first started reading the relevant section I was wondering why it was necessary to mention the subject at all; by the end of it I had realized it that it was because others often don't. The gesture was appreciated.
Brendan also covers the influence of the Romantic movement, Machiavelli, Shakespeare, and Nietzsche (while at the same time addressing the flaws in their arguments). He also presents us with two well known modern examples of tales of heroic virtue: Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Perhaps that is why these stories appeal to most of the Pagans I know; it's because they speak to the virtues we value. He assures us that living a virtuous life is not about doing everything right; it's about how we meet the events and circumstances that cause us to call our beliefs and our sense of self into question.
Myers lays down his final challenge on the last few pages:
"Imagine that you are at home alone, preparing for bed. Then a messenger appears in your room, and says to you: 'Every part of your life, as you have lived it until this moment, has been prepared for you right from the beginning. The many millions of events, all the accidents and coincidences that had to happen so that you could be standing here, were all planned from the very start . . . . Since the world was made especially for you, therefore your experience of life shall stand as the paragon of all experience. And every measure has been taken to ensure that the quality of your life becomes the most beautiful, most fulfilling, most near to the divine, that any human life can be. The very purpose of civilization and history has been all along to produce the experience of life that you are having right now. Your life shall henceforth stand as the greatest achievement of any God or mortal man, the exemplar of all pleasure and worth, the model of the highest happiness that anyone anywhere can achieve. In this way the purpose and destiny of the world, the very meaning of the world, has been fulfilled in you. And henceforth all people shall look to you as their model.'"
So, if this happened to you, would you be satisfied that how you have acted in your life is an ideal to which other people should aspire? I considered this at length. And that, to me, is the purpose of philosophy in the modern world. As Socrates is credited as saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
Needless to say, I loved it. And I'm going to ask my students to read it. I think you should too.
Most recent customer reviews
"Pagan is a negative term," I was told.Read more