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My first post. Yay!

Joe HammerJun 5, 2018, 9:49:11 PM

My Model: https://imgur.com/a/Wa1XS1U

There are many ethical models out there. My favorites are Aristotle and Richard Garriott. I like models that can be represented graphically, because I like pretty pictures and they help me sort out complex topics. This is my model of human virtue. Enjoy...


In this model, there are three human principles: truth, love and courage. These are the outer circles in the diagram. The single very large central circle containing all the virtues is the avatar - the human. The outer six virtues in the avatar circle are active, often social virtues. These are the more visible virtues, and they are the easiest to understand and implement.

Toward the center of the avatar circle where all three principles overlap are the inner virtues - Wisdom, spirituality, and character. These prized virtues represent masteries of the principles, and they have very high personal utility.

My model is inspired by the model Richard Garriott used in Ultima 4: Quest of the Avatar. Discussion below.


This model represents human principles manifesting in virtues. It represents this collision with the avatar as inner and outer virtues. Outer virtues interact more with the world, and are more simple. Inner virtues are more complex, harder to develop, and highly prized for their utility. In the core is humility, which is helpful to all virtues, but absolutely essential to the core.

I find this model useful when I consider concepts such as happiness and excellence.

The outward virtues

These virtues interact with the world and the people in it. These generally require effort to undertake, and the effort of these is mostly to the benefit of other people, often at a cost to the virtuous. These costs are willingly absorbed, because the avatar receives joy on balance in the undertaking.

Clockwise from the top:

Truth and Love - Community:

Red and blue make purple. Community. This is the desire to help others and to gain pleasure from their company. Group dynamics are an important part of community.

Love - Compassion:

Pure red. Compassion and its sister passion are the virtuous expressions of love. This virtue is a potent driver of action, as love is a potent principle.

Love and Courage - Sacrifice:

Orange. The submission of self to something of greater value. Sacrifice is often misguided without humility.

Courage - Conviction:

Yellow. The willingness to risk oneself for a goal and to face the unknown.

Courage and Truth - Justice:

The willingness to stand up for and work for fairness in the rules. If life is to be a game, it should be a fair one.

Truth - Exploration:

This is the use of the senses and the mind to understand the world around us, including other people.

The inward virtues

These virtues are different in that they are not so much "virtuous activities" of a person. They are the virtuous aspects of a person. They are human superpowers. If you want them, practice the outward virtues and think a lot.


The reward of the quest for truth, for those that are brave enough to undertake it. A wise person is seldom fooled. He is a master of doubt. The master can predict the unintended consequences of action before the action has occurred. The master has peerless intuition.


The sanguine resolve to weather any storm, and to stand firm on one's principles, free of doubt. The ability to turn faith into conviction. Nothing can really harm a person of great character. Their individuality is unquestionable, and their adherence to their code of conduct is flawless.


To feel the interconnectedness of all things, and a comfortable faith in that which transcends the flesh and the moment. Wisdom and character alone can each deliver a lasting, quiet sublime happiness. Spirituality delivers a unique type of "Zen" happiness, in love with the universe, and one with everything… sort of… thing. Spirituality is independent of and distinct from religion.

And humility

Humility is the understanding of the scope and scale of all things. It is the ability to let oneself feel small before the universe, and then to rise above it, and to decide with clarity of purpose, and act without fear. Humility enables a person to achieve all the other virtues. Humility has been a central virtue in western and eastern philosophy for thousands of years.

Humility helps you explore, commune and be just. It is of very high utility. Also, it is a goal, and as you get closer to that goal, your ability to express the other virtues is increased.


Models are applied by thinking about them. Most models have something to offer to the thinker, even bad ones. The focus of this model is how the virtues related to each other and to the principles.

The Garriott Model

Garriott's model with the colored circles was my first introduction to good philosophy. I really loved how it made the virtues easier to think about. I was intrigued the central role of humility in it, although I didn't really appreciate it at the time. In the Avatar model, the three principles are truth, love and courage. I copied this aspect entirely. The principles manifest through humans in the eight virtues. Love manifests as compassion. Love and courage make sacrifice, etcetera. Most of my model is identical. The differences are these.

Instead of bravery, I chose conviction to manifest the human principle of courage. I did this because conviction is a source of bravery, but it has other aspects. Conviction allows a person to preserve truth in the face of external pressures, physical or social. Courage lets someone stand for something for the right reasons.

Instead of honesty, I chose exploration. In my model, the external virtues lead to the internal virtues. Honesty does not necessarily lead to wisdom. Honesty is the result of a quest for truth, but categorical honesty is foolish. Exploration more consistently and effectively leads to wisdom, so I chose that.

I added "community" at the overlap of truth and love. Justice was moved between truth and courage, because I believe is often fairest when it is dispassionate, and I believe that true justice does take courage. So, there. "Community" was added because community is an important part of a rich human experience. Deal with those you do meet in a spirit of truth and love, as far as it is practicable. Also, as the outer virtues lead to the inner, I believed that wisdom and spirituality were best fed by community.

In my model, the principles are expressed through virtues, but there is also the notion that the external virtues lead you somewhere, towards the core, inner virtues, which give you superpowers. This is where I placed spirituality. The Avatar Model has spirituality as the black circle around the outside, the combination of truth, love and courage.

I changed very little of the model, really. I created a classification for the internal virtues of Wisdom, Spirituality, and Resolve. My reason for doing this is because I believe truth, love, and courage have deep manifestations in who we are, and at their best, they become wisdom, spirituality and resolve. The internal virtues are, in many ways, the result of a person trying to embrace the external virtues. Humility is in the center on both of our models because it is required for any of the three internal virtues.