|Thanks, Dean. |
While sticking to Objectivist principles, I will try to tackle many contemporary-but-peripheral issues (e.g., Game Theory, religious values, neurobiology, etc.) in just one book. For instance, here's a note-to-myself for a blurb in Ch. 7 regarding the religious virtues of humility and gratitude/grace:
Both humility and gratitude can be looked upon as being general (unlimited) or specific (limited). For instance, when a religion teaches that man should be humble, it teaches that man should always be humble and in all things. There is a both permanence and pervasiveness -- a kind of universality -- to this kind of humility. Another way to say this is that your humility is unconditional.
Alternatively, a secular philosophy might teach that man has to obey nature in order to command it. This is a specific humility. Instead of there being a Higher Power making demands -- such as the demand for humility -- there is, one could say, a Higher Order (of the universe, or of Nature). If there is this kind of a thing -- an ordering of the universe such that man should learn about it and obey it (in order to command it later) -- then there is a cause for a certain kind of specific humility: the realization that your potentially-childish wishes won't necessarily "make it so."
Gratitude is another virtue that can be viewed as being either general or specific. For instance, Christianity teaches that man should be grateful for everything. This is because, without God, your life would suck (actually, you wouldn't even be alive!). If you think of the example of Job, you get a teach-by-example story about how to react to life (i.e., you should be long-suffering and grateful ... come hell or high water). In that case, your gratitude is unconditional. Alternatively, a secular philosophy might teach that developing the skill of knowing when it is right or good to be grateful (or have gratitude) will be a big -- albeit indirect -- boon to your background "sense of life" (Ayn Rand's term for your implicit, fundamental stance on the universe, and your place in it).
I want to include wording really close to this, inside of Ch. 7 of my book.