Is there most reason to avoid being moral saint?
According to Wolf (1982: 419) moral saint is ‘a person whose every action is as morally good as possible, a person, that is, who is as morally worthy as can be’. In other words, moral saint is the one who always behaves in the most morally way which is possible in appropriate circumstances. So the question of my essay is this - is it beneficial for person to be as moral as he can? Should one strive for absolute moral saintliness? First in my essay I will discuss some strongest Wolf’s arguments in favour of avoiding moral saintliness; after that, I will consider several arguments against and, finally, I will draw my conclusions.
Arguments in favour of avoiding moral saintliness
First argument is that moral saints cannot develop any significant non-moral interests. If one is devoting all his time for helping poor people he naturally cannot play golf, read novels or do any other enjoyable but not charitable activity, which make one’s character richer and more well-rounded. However, it is not only about lack of time. Wolf argues that there is a category of qualities, which moral saint cannot hold, simply because they go against nature of moral saintliness. These qualities are, for example, sense of humour, irony or sarcasm. Generally, these character traits are thought to be the ones which help people better understand the world, its flaws and vices. However, moral saint does not and cannot hold them. Moral saint is forced to be as good as he can – he always tries to look for the best in people or to improve regrettable situations as long as it seems possible. He has standard moral virtues (such as patience, kindliness, justice, consideration, charity, hospitability) to a non-standard degree and as a result he will be dull and humourless person. What is more, moral saint will never be able to enjoy anything more