“Consider your origins: you were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge.” – epic poet Dante Alighieri
What is virtue? Virtue is commonly defined as “moral excellence.” I would also say that exercising virtue helps a person achieve mastery over oneself. Virtues are important characteristics each of us needs to strive for on a daily basis because choosing virtue or vice will shape our thoughts and behaviors. Virtues help rightly order our lives and help us become the best version of ourselves. Through the virtues, man/woman can master his/her passions and disposes them toward good things, whereas man/woman without virtue remains weak and succumbs to disorder.
When it comes to virtue, there are four that are considered the most crucial to human existence and are called the cardinal virtues. The four cardinal virtues are prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude. Since this is a blog about health, I would like to relate how a deeper understanding of each of them can help us to rightly order our behaviors to achieve maximum healing for our bodies and minds. In the following we will explore each one.
1. What is prudence?
Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it. Prudence serves to help govern all the other virtues by setting rule and measure. Without prudence, a person will be either too lenient or too harsh. Human prudence guides a person to avoid difficulty, suffering, or hardship. Indeed, today’s world needs more of this virtue; we see much suffering imposed by imprudent decisions.
As I stated in an earlier blogpost on the importance of the microbiome, the Agribusiness Corporations have made considerable profits by selling poisonous chemicals to farmers to spray on our food in the form of pesticides. Decades ago, many farmers felt this was the right way to eliminate pesky insects or weeds that threatened their crop yield and were compelled to spray these chemicals over the fields. This fundamental lack of prudence towards our food has nowadays affected almost every single patient who comes into my office; their microbiome is non-functional due to the presence of these toxic chemicals. As their doctor, it is my responsibility to rebuild the microbiome and recover the health that was lost. If the government (USDA), the Agribusiness giants, and the independent farmers were to exercise more prudence, we could eliminate this mess and find another way to work with nature instead of against nature. I know! What an idea! If they refuse to change, then it is up to the consumers to make choices right away to shift the demand- we must vote with our dollar. Starting today, do not purchase conventional foods that could be genetically modified or sprayed with chemicals. The top four foods everyone should avoid are crystal sugar (from sugar beets), corn (especially corn syrup), soybeans, and canola (oil). When you can, buy organic. Consider it part of your healthcare. Invest in your food.
2. What is temperance?
Temperance is the virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. Having the virtue of temperance obtains self-control. One who has temperance rules his passions and emotions instead of becoming a slave to them. The power of controlling one’s passions and desires for pleasure is the virtue of temperance.
Temperance controls our passion and desires, particularly for food and drink. Food and drink are good in themselves, but when they are inordinately pursued, they can be very dangerous. Each of us needs to have a strong and disciplined will to moderate them. I personally like to eat chocolate cake, but if I eat chocolate cake every day it would become harmful to my body. I also like to consume alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner on special occasions but if I were to consume them daily and in large quantities that would be harmful both to myself and my family. If you struggle with sugar or alcohol addiction, a good exercise to gain control of one’s appetite is to take up the practice of fasting. Intermittent fasting is useful and has gained a lot of attention lately because it yields good results for the healing of the body. Fasting allows our digestive organs to rest and helps us to control our passions. I personally fast every Friday because I have found it helps me to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. I highly recommend you try it. If you cannot tolerate fasting for extended periods of time, simply abstaining from rich food and drink is a means of further exercising one’s will, putting one’s desires into subjection to will and reason.
3. What is justice?
When we think of justice, images of a judge, jury and courtroom immediately come to mind. A criminal is handed his punishment. This, however, is not the full meaning of justice. Rather, justice means to give others what is owed to them. Justice is the virtue that enables us to live rightly with others. Justice as a virtue empowers us to take care of others and give them what they deserve and need. Exercising the virtue of justice helps us get away from the “me first” taking mentality and move toward “others first” giving mentality. Justice inclines us to do the right thing and treat others with the respect and dignity due to all persons made in the image and likeness of God. For this blog, I would like to focus primarily on one aspect of justice: truthfulness.
Truthfulness is needed in the relationship we have with everyone we come into contact. Truth is owed to others out of justice. Truthfulness implies sincerity, candor, and integrity. Truth consists in showing oneself true in deeds and truthful in words and guarding against duplicity and hypocrisy. How can you love someone else? Tell that person the truth.
Truthfulness is a key ingredient for a person to flourish, and I find it is also crucial for a person to get well. The very first step for every person on the healing journey is when they are totally honest with themselves that a problem exists, and something needs to be done. Denial of a problem is not constructive; at best it slows down a healing journey, and at its worst it will destroy it altogether.
Recently, I experienced the power of self-denial in a young adult male patient who presented because he was feeling very ill. He was referred to my office by his mother who got well while on my program. I listened to his complaints, performed my examination, and created a clinical roadmap on how to get well. I sat down and explained in as much detail as I could to help him get his body back on track. He purchased his needed items and went home to start his health restoration program. Little did I know, he wasn’t being completely truthful with me, his mother, or himself about the misperceptions he had about the status of his health and how natural healthcare works. As I learned a short time later, he refused to take the supplements and got in a big fight with his mother because he felt he did not need any help! Ultimately, the concerns of his mother and my clinical findings did not matter. The program failed before it ever started.
Another aspect of truthfulness that is salient to our discussion is the information surrounding the new coronavirus vaccines. As you all know, the government, NGOs, and the media are all pushing the narrative that we all need to get injected with their new toys. We keep hearing how the shots are “Safe and Effective.” Unfortunately, much of the information that is propagated is far less than truthful. Half-truths and outright lies appear to be the standard when it comes to enticing the population to accept the shots. What is the three biggest lies? First, that you need to get a vaccine when 99.9% of the population survives SARS-CoV-2 infection. Second, the shot you are getting from Pfizer, Moderna, or Janssen isn’t a vaccine at all; it’s a genetic altering device that fundamentally changes who we are and alters our bodies for life. And third, that masks stop the spread of viral transmission. Even the CDC’s own study they just finished publishing proves that it only decreases transmission by 1.8%. That is so insignificant it is laughable. Click each of the hyperlinks above for good information.
4. What is fortitude?
Fortitude is the fourth and final virtue. Fortitude is defined as the virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. Fortitude is courage. Courage helps us overcome fear. Fear is perhaps the most paralyzing of all emotions and it frequently causes people to make wrong choices. Overcoming fear helps us avoid cowardliness (inaction) on one side and foolhardiness (excessive action) on the other.
Fear can be so strong it keeps people from acting. For example, some people may fear to fly, and thus their fear keeps them from traveling. Or imagine if someone was so fearful of a virus that they won’t leave their house for an entire year. Yes, this has happened! Much good can be lost through fear. My friends, we must take courage, for when we do it will strengthen us to persevere and do great things.
Fortitude also leads to patience, which allows us to avoid anxiety, discouragement, and despair. I have witnessed a great number of times over the years folks who have quit their program because they fell into a pit of despair. When someone is following a healing program there are always layers that must be handled and they must be handled in order. And the hardest part to accept is you don’t always get to choose the order as your body works through them piece by piece. The bigger the goal you have set for yourself, such as the restoration of eyesight in my own case, takes many years to accomplish. I have been hard at it 12 years now and the vision in my right eye is not restored as of this moment. Should I give up and resign myself to never regaining my eyesight? No- I will never give up, and I am learning the virtue of patience on my journey. A high level of health is my birthright and I want it back. You should too.
Well there you have it. Healing is a virtue. In my office, I have a sign on the wall that says, Embrace the Journey. It reminds me every day of the tremendous value of the journey each of us has while we are on this planet. Energetic testing using Holistic Reflex Analysis® provides a window to help everyone, no matter how young or how old to grow in virtue. What is gained? Here is a short list of metaphorical changes you may experience along the journey.
- Turmoil vs. Control
- Disorder vs. Order
- Darkness vs. Light
- Sickness vs. Health
- Imbalance vs. Balance
- Chaos vs. Harmony
- Weakness vs. Strength
Remember, virtue is self-mastery. Understanding and applying each of the virtues helps us to rightly order our lives so we become the best version of ourselves. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have, we are here to serve you.
Dr. Daniel McDonald, DC