I’ll begin with happy news: I’m engaged! This weekend I proposed to my beloved Caitlin, and I’m delighted to say she accepted.
Now, I’ve tried to be explicit that this is a philosophy blog, not a personal blog – while a great deal here is autobiographical, the purpose of even those entries is to point to bigger questions, questions that I hope my life story can help illuminate in some way. So I’m going to talk today a little bit about my reasons for deciding to marry. The particular reasons, of course, are all about my sweetheart herself, a beautiful, smart, funny, playful, charming, sexy, adventurous, responsible, virtuous woman. But there are more general reasons that tie to the blog’s bigger concerns.
Above all, my action this weekend is not one that Śāntideva, or the Buddha of the Pali suttas, would view as a part of the highest, best, most fully virtuous life. They speak at length of the disadvantages of the household life, the life spent among family with a paid job in the everyday world. The life of a monk is a higher and better one to pursue. Eros keeps us mired in the suffering of everyday life, enslaved to the desires and craving that only cause us yet more suffering. The monk, by contrast, devotes himself or herself fully to the development of virtue, much more able to rise above craving and suffering.