An ethos may be a disposition or character peculiar to a specific person, people, culture, or movement, says the American Heritage dictionary. Merriam-Webster would have ethos for a distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution.


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The word was coined by Ancient Greeks who, — irresponsible of the term as it is, for the simple fact they belong with the past — had an ethos for a habit.


There always have been good habits, as there have been bad habits. In human history, man and his fate might have become most mock-heroic in the case of Timarchus as contended by Aeschines, the remaining power of ancient Greeks to be in serving example.


Sentiment for Daedalean or Gordian intricacy was not exclusive to Greeks, to compare The World of the Shining Prince: Court Life in Ancient Japan, by Ivan Morris. Some elaborateness about lifestyle would be a statistic with contemporary people, too, as in Mr. Steven Pressfield:


We all fight wars–in our work, within our families, and abroad in the wider world. Each of us struggles every day to define and defend our sense of purpose and integrity, to justify our existence on the planet and to understand, if only within our own hearts, who we are and what we believe in. We are all warriors, he says for his book, Warrior Ethos.


I have never met Mr. Pressfield, therefore I still can say I have never met anyone to try to make a warrior of me. However I might ever have been unyielding, deliberative, and conscious, and the thing would not be the first sight, an attempt as that could be only unwitty:


  • I have never carried weapons; for my interest in hand-held instruments, fountain pens are my favorite;
  • I have never been in a war zone and there is no way to make those attractive to me, even if you hired Disneyland to advertise;
  • My work, life, love, language, and whatever I care should never be a war. Quotient is as much about solving problems as about not having them. A discussion or even dispute is not a war: it is intellectual activity.

The above is not to make a paragon example. It is a plain statement to fact. As no one really is “the only of the kind” in fact, I also can say I do not understand Mr. Pressfield’s use of the grammatical plural to adjoin the adjective “all”.


I doubt there ever have been people wanting literally to live in a permanent war. A good ethic can do better in keeping the quietude of the arbor, and that has the power to start or end wars, dependent on availability. 🙂


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