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Virtue, a Requisite of the Truth and
of the Way

Our Character is our personality, and it is what we love in the depth of ourselves; it comprises our tendencies which, while not producing the Intelligence and the Will, nonetheless influence their operations. Intelligence and Will are also part of our personality, but in themselves they are of an impersonal nature; they are faculties that do indeed belong to us, but it is our Character which is a priori ourself.

And it is in the Character that the Virtues reside--these being, fundamentally, Sincerity, Fidelity, Gratitude and Generosity. Sincerity tends toward the intellectual in the sense that it is inspired by the Truth; Fidelity tends toward the existential in the sense that it refers to the Origin and to primordial Perfection. Gratitude is equivalent to Humility, it is the consciousness of our dependence on something greater than ourself; and Generosity derives from our liberty, it is Charity that loves to radiate.

Sincerity, in influencing the Intelligence, induces it to draw all the conclusions implied in Discernment: knowing that the world is an appearance only, man must detach himself from it; applying Discernment to the macrocosm, he must apply it likewise to the microcosm, namely to himself, self-knowledge being the necessary consequence of knowledge of the Real as such. Gratitude prompts the Intelligence to an awareness of its dependence and thus cuts short all temptation to Luciferian rationalism; to know is to submit to the Intellect. In an analogous manner, Fidelity, in influencing the Will, endows it with the quality of perseverance; Generosity for its part gives it a sense of measure, in other words it averts the temptation to excessive selfishness. Thus it is that the Virtues, while not able to determine the Intelligence and the Will as to their capacities, can nonetheless determine their style or their operations.

It is evident that with the man who bears the stamp of the Fall, of the loss of Paradise--inward as well as outward-- the fundamental Virtues are largely lacking, in varying degrees but without ever being entirely lost; their sufficient presence is however the conditio sine qua non of the Way, together with a discriminating and contemplative Intelligence as well as an efficient and persevering Will.

In principle, the Intelligence does not need the Virtues in order to draw all the conclusions of which it is capable, but in actual fact it is far from being able to do so in the absence of constraint; in the same way, the Will should without difficulty be inspired by the directives emanating from the Intelligence, but in fact these directives are not necessarily enough for it and it is Virtue that must come to its aid.

A child, to be sure, is not in full possession of his virtual Intelligence or of his Will; but his personality may nonetheless be endowed with a thirst for the True, a sense of the Sacred, a love of Beauty, an instinct for the Essential and thus for Greatness; and it is this which matters above all.