A Question of Character

I was reminded today of this article I read several years ago where the writer explores the old-fashioned concept of “good character” and its importance for a successful society.

Good character is made up of three parts: “a sense of personal agency or self-direction; an acceptance of personal responsibility; and effective regulation of one’s own emotions, in particular the ability to resist temptation or at least defer gratification.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said it simply: “Character is destiny.”

A glance at history reminds us that civilizations do not flourish forever. They rise, and they fall. They fall when the moral core deteriorates – when a society fails to pass on its core virtues, its strengths of character, to the next generation. The historian Arnold Toynbee observed: “Out of 21 notable civilizations, 19 perished not by conquest from without but by moral decay from within.”

(#31WriteNow Day 6)


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