Our Changing View Of Virtue

Alain de Botton outlines it:

In the modern world, the idea of trying to be a ‘good person’ conjures up all sorts of negative associations: of piety, solemnity, bloodlessness and sexual renunciation, as if goodness were something one would try to embrace only when other more difficult but more fulfilling avenues had been exhausted. Throughout history, societies have been interested in fostering virtues, in training us to be more virtuous, but we’re one of the first generations to have zero public interest in this. You’re allowed to work on your body (going to the gym has very high status as an activity), but announce that you’re going to work on being more virtuous, and people will be guaranteed to look at you as if you’re insane.

In response, he created his own manifesto, “Ten Virtues for the Modern Age”. Number one? Resilience:

Keeping going even when things are looking dark; accepting that reversals are normal; remembering that human nature is, in the end, tough. Not frightening others with your fears.

More on Botton’s philosophy here.