We typically think of reverence as connected with religion, but my guest today on the podcast argues that reverence is a virtue that extends past religious ceremony and is vital for the flourishing of human society. His name is Paul Woodruff, and he’s a Professor of Humanities at the University of Texas and the author of Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue. On today’s show, Professor Woodruff and I discuss what the ancient Greeks and Chinese can teach us about reverence, why reverence has been forgotten in our modern age, and what you can do in your own life to renew this virtue.
- What virtue ethics is
- How to become more virtuous
- The Chinese theory of virtue
- Why reverence isn’t an exclusively religious virtue
- Why the opposite of reverence isn’t humility
- Why pride can be a good thing
- What is reverence
- Why feelings are more powerful at motivating good behavior than rules
- Why awe is the beginning of reverence
- Why you need others to express reverence
- Why reverence is important even in the modern day
- Why success is dangerous
- How reverence can make you a better parent, a better teacher, and a better citizen
- Why reverence was so important to the ancient Greeks and Chinese
- Why reverence is important in hierarchies
- Why reverence has become a forgotten virtue
- The mundane ceremonies of everyday life that display reverence
- How reverence towards tradition can revitalize ceremonies
- Why shame is a good thing
- How to develop reverence
- And much more!
Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast
- Practical Wisdom: The Master Virtue
- Nicomachean Ethics
- My podcast with Jamie Smith about You Are What You Love
- My podcast with Edward Slingerland about Trying Not to Try (Chinese virtue ethics)
- The Great-Souled Man
- My podcast with Ted Lyndon about Soldiers and Ghosts
- My podcast with Waller Newell about Tyrants
- Our series on male status
- The Power of Ritual
- The Greek Paean (battle song)
- Famous Battle Cries From History
- What Is Honor?
- My podcast with Carlin Barton about Roman Honor
- Moral luck
Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue provides a great background on virtue ethics in general and drills down to why reverence is so important and how we can all cultivate it in our lives. It served as a good reminder to me of the importance of living with humility and awe.
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