Today’s reading was titled “Only Three Kinds of Goods” and went in a direction I would not have expected. From Thomas Aquinas himself we have “Goodness is rightly divided into the virtuous, the useful, and the pleasant… Goodness is not divided into these three as something univocal to be predicated equally of them all, but as something analogical to be predicated of them according to priority and posteriority. Hence it is predicated chiefly of the virtuous, then of the pleasant and lastly of the useful. (I,5,6)
So, what is virtuous is the highest good of all, these things are good in and of themselves. I’ve seen several different versions of lists of virtues but the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a comprehensive listing of them in paragraphs 1803 - 1845
The direction this went was unexpected in that Kreeft used it, in part, as a reason for minimalism in our lives. Things we have in our life that are not useful or do not give us pleasure and do not increase our virtue, should be eliminated.
This is similar to criteria I’ve used in the past to sort through my things, if it is not necessary (useful) or beautiful or does not make me happy, I don’t need it and it is just in my way and should be removed.
Is Facebook useful? Maybe, but I’m not convinced really. Does it give me pleasure? Well, yes but… it gives me pleasure on occasion but mostly it leads me away from virtuous attitudes and into… well the nastiness of politics, pretty much the opposite of virtue in my opinion.
Is my rubber and plastic Viking hat useful? Nope. But it does give me great pleasure!
And so the sorting of my life resumes. Facebook, not out but restricted... Vikings, in! Looking at the news, that's right on out of here. Clothes I have not worn in the last five years or so, out.
Crappy books I never finished because they were boring and that are not classics I may try again someday? Out.
These guys? In obviously :-)