The Good Life(Comparison Of Kant And Nietzsche) — страница 3
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determine the will except objectively the law, and subjectively pure respect for this practical law. Moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect expected from it, nor in any principle of action which requires to borrow its motive from this expected effect. This is a good, which is already present in the person who acts accordingly. “The supreme principle or law of morality that the good person must follow is the ‘categorical imperative.’ Rational beings, to the extent that they act rationally, will always be guided by ethical principles or maxims that can be adopted by everyone else without generating any contradictions.” It is the simple conformity to law in general, without assuming any particular law applicable to certain actions, that serves the will as its principle. In one of Kant’s formulation of the categorical imperative, its social implication is more clearly stated. It requires us to treat all human beings as ends in themselves and never as merely means to ends. We should respect everyone impartially and avoid exploiting anyone. All objects of the inclinations have only a conditional worth, for if the inclinations and the wants founded on them did not exist, then their object would be without value. The inclinations themselves being sources of want, are so far from having an absolute worth for which they should be desired, that it must be the universal wish or every rational being to be wholly free from them. Thus the worth of any object which is to be acquired by our action is always conditional. Beings whose existence depends not on our will but on nature’s, only have a relative value as means, and are therefore called things. Rational beings are called persons because their very nature points them out as ends in themselves. Once I believed that the purpose of life was to live for others. I do know people who espouse this doctrine: lay down your life as Christ did. I know few that practice it. I did. I was disappointed. Perhaps I was disappointed mostly because the church I discovered was adamant on being more like the people cited above than like a community attempting to live out Jesus’ precepts. At any rate, I found plenty of crucifixions and no resurrections. However, there is a purpose to life. This I believe. For belief, I have found is useful, both to the individual and to the whole community. The purpose of life is to serve and enjoy the good forever. One cannot enjoy the good without serving it. One cannot either truly know or reliably continue to serve the good without enjoying it. Let us stake our faith, then, on this principle: the purpose of life is to serve and enjoy that which is good. The principle can be one of health to the individual psyche. The result can be one of health for the whole of humanity. Balance service to others with enjoyment, for enjoyment, which forgets the claim of the others, will in the end be withered and forgotten pleasure.