Why Can't We Be Good?

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1/31/2008
  • Publisher: Tarcher

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Here is a rare light on the most troubling-and least understood-aspect of our existence. In Why Can't We Be Good?, the widely respected philosopher Jacob Needleman identifies the crisis that therapists and social philosophers fail to see: As individuals, we know what is good-yet we remain mysteriously helpless to live by the ethical, moral, and religious ideas that are bequeathed to us, and that are intended to guide us in living authentic lives.

Author Biography

Jacob Needleman is a professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University, and the former director of the Center for the Study of New Religions at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley.

Table of Contents

The One Questionp. 1
The First Stepp. 3
The World of Ideasp. 5
Ideas Alone Are Not Enoughp. 6
But Ideas Are the First Stepp. 7
The Good Universep. 10
The Teacher Waitsp. 14
Ideas Live in Peoplep. 16
God Is Onep. 17
The Pupil Waitsp. 18
One God; Two Heartsp. 19
The Problem of Evilp. 20
The Secret of Socrates or Thinking Together as a Work of Lovep. 24
Enter Socratesp. 26
The Secret of Socratesp. 27
The Taste of Thinkingp. 28
The Mountain of Platop. 30
The Missing Pagep. 32
Freedom from Answersp. 38
Bread and Stonep. 40
The Ethics of Communal Thoughtp. 43
The Transformation of the Questionp. 44
The World of Appearancesp. 46
Two Halves of One Great Ideap. 49
The Real World Can Be Known Only by the Real Selfp. 50
The Question of the Heart Is a Moral Demandp. 50
The Authentic Teacher and the Authentic Seekerp. 52
A Kind of Lovep. 55
The White Dovep. 58
A Rehearsal for Moralityp. 59
Life Without Ethics?p. 60
Turtlesp. 63
Passion and Attentionp. 65
The Shock of the Questionp. 67
The Moral Power of Listeningp. 70
A Movement Toward Consciencep. 73
Something Exceedingly Finep. 76
Love and Listeningp. 77
Between Wonder and Despairp. 82
On the Way to Good and Evilp. 91
On the Meaning of the Human Bodyp. 95
The Socratic Thresholdp. 97
Interlude: The Garment of the Buddhap. 100
Glimpsesp. 101
"Knowledge" and Knowledgep. 103
A New Kind of Bodyp. 106
Intermediate Moralityp. 107
The Ethics of Attentionp. 110
Our World and Our Lifep. 110
The Fountain of All That Is Goodp. 112
This New Power of the Mindp. 114
Real Philosophyp. 115
The "Least Powerful" Man in the Worldp. 116
On the Measure of Friendshipp. 118
An Invitationp. 120
"Oh, I Forgot!"p. 124
Dr. Kinder's Misunderstandingp. 125
Mary Adijian's Discoveryp. 128
The Ethics of Attention IIp. 132
Why Do Moral Codes Fail?p. 136
I Am My Attentionp. 138
The First Obligation of Manp. 140
The Great Aim of Educationp. 141
The Two Moralitiesp. 142
The Log-off Clubp. 145
The Tragedy of Attentionp. 148
What Is Evil? And Why Does Evil Exist?p. 148
The Anguish of Fred Prozip. 152
The Face of Fred Prozip. 156
At the Heart of What We Call Ethicsp. 159
The Reconstruction of Mr. Prozip. 160
Awakening to Darkness, or the Meaning of Silencep. 163
Sacred Silencep. 167
What Is Taken Away? What Is Given?p. 169
The Essentialp. 175
Not This, Not Thatp. 178
The Action of the Guidep. 179
Words Turn Backp. 180
Moral Mysticismp. 180
The Freedom That Leads to Freedomp. 182
The Ethics of the Lesser Moralityp. 191
The Duty That Is at the Heart of Dutyp. 192
We Are Not Yet Manp. 194
The Two Truths That Are Errorsp. 198
A Dangerous Questionp. 201
The Greatest Idea in the Worldp. 205
Hillel the Elder and the Idea of the Universal Moral Lawp. 205
The Life of Hillelp. 208
What Did Hillel Find?p. 212
The Seed and the Fruit of All That is Goodp. 216
Another Dimension of Lovep. 217
If I Am Not for Myself, Who Will Be for Me?p. 221
And If I Am for Myself Alone, What Am I?p. 225
The Hidden Bridge: An Essential Digressionp. 227
The Seed and the Fruit of Inner Moralityp. 228
If Not Now, When?p. 230
The Metaphysics of Moralityp. 236
The Doctrine of Angels and the Obligation Offered to Manp. 239
The Ethical Animal and the Meaning of Our Freedomp. 243
A Meditation on Crossing the Socratic Thresholdp. 248
The Great Unknownp. 249
The Birth of the Humanp. 251
A Transforming Firep. 252
The Shock of Lovep. 255
A Kind of Summation: Why Cant We be Good?p. 257
For Further Readingp. 265
Notesp. 275
Indexp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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