We cannot sit through Lear and conclude that vice and virtue are the same, or that all men and women are equally good
I think in the age of moral relativism and the prime importance placed on feeling, the only thing that we can be certain is how we feel. The mind is usually second guessing what is really true, whereas the feelings are usually direct and powerful. If they are not then they wait on judgment. But the strength of feelings is not always enough. We also need to create our own justifications, sometimes rational and sometimes not. Anthony is wrestling with Lear over medical definitions: can medicine determine why we feel what we feel. I don't think he knows for sure. But his point is that we have a choice with our feelings if we use our mind and will. Our feelings and actions are not all equal — there is good and bad. We have choices and are responsible for our decisions and can’t just say if we do something bad that we were overpowered by feelings — temporary insanity notwithstanding. Anthony's fear is medicine is deterministic in its outlook and that lets us off the hook for our choices. But we are not just physical bodies determined by natural laws. We have a consciousness and a soul. Lear at some point gave up on that distinction and was prone to whatever black currents welled up within him. I suspect that the daughters were also weak like him — the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree — with the exception of Cordelia.
Anthony doesn’t talk about the fool who is intelligent and sees the truth. I wonder what he would think about people who see the truth today? Are they the fool? And in a world like Lears if you are good like Cordelia -- save your soul by not compromising with evil -- what a miserable tragic life you may possibly end up living.
I'll bet money that Theodore Dalrymple was the nom de plume of Anthony Daniels. Pardon me, but I never took French, just 3 years of Latin and one only of Russian in high school and one of German in college. Vietnamese was as needed. Anthony Daniels is my favorite shrink.
Theodor Dalrymple is Anthony Daniels