Colin's Daily Log

Sometimes these log entries will be short.

Mon Nov 1 15:29:05 2021

It is said that "motivation follows action" (MFA). That you must first practice something in order to see or feel the why of the doing.

Somebody might be skeptical of the MFA ethic, however. Skepticism might take this form:

I know people who like to cook. I myself thought I should learn to cook, so I did. But I have no interest in cooking. Even after cooking thousands of of meals, even after learning to cook a few meals that are quite delicious, I still have no interest in cooking. I would, for example, never prefer to cook my own meal.

This situation can be looked at in terms of virtue ethics. Specifically, the notion of ethical continence becomes relevent.

The perfectly virtuous, it is understood, do not struggle to act virtuously. The excellent cook is different from one who can merely cook excellent meals in that the former does not struggle to cook well.

The merely continent must struggle against contrary desires, desires to act against what their reason tells them is virtuous.

So in the case of the skeptical cook, one might reply something like this:

Look at those people who do like to cook. Treat those people as exemplars - paragons of the virtue of cooking. Be charitable and realize that there must be some aspect of cooking that they "get" that you do not. Try to emulate them, not just in terms of recipes and techniques, but also in terms of outlooks and opinions. Do they like cooking because they enjoy the economy of it? The control? The opportunity to cook for others? Do they enjoy meeting the challenge of a difficult meal coming together? Try to cook from the same vantage as them.

If you are cooking and don't like to cook, perhaps there is still work to do. If it is only through "force of will", through ethical continence, that you can bring yourself to cook, then you are not through perfecting yourself with respect to the virtue of cooking.

It may be about an outlook as much as it is about an outcome.

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