Means or End?

Brief Introduction

Sometimes we consider MEANS to be the most important step in judging the action right. For example- In an exam, if a person scores good grades, then we feel proud. In contrast, if a same person has cheated to get a good grade, we feel opposite.

Sometimes we think END to be the most important step in judging an action right. If a thief has saved a toddler from road accident, we are amazed on his present action and then we don’t count his past action.

What to prefer?

MEANS or END phenomenon is very interesting. Sometimes you support MEANS and some time you feel END is better. It’s completely a choice of your situations, conditions, characters, values, and demands. To study means or end adequately is not possible. For this reason, we may divide its studies into various chunks of theories for its better understandings. 

Means is right, End is wrong

Example – Helping a blind man to cross street only to realise that film shooting is going on.

Means is wrong, End is right

Example- Throwing a stone at neighbour’s window glass to trouble him and ending up in helping to escape fire smoke.  

Right Means and End, still failure

Example- Working hard in a factory to earn money for family. But the factory got raided for illegal operations making you to face overall trouble.

Let’s dive deep into some terms in understanding means or end.

  1. Consequentialism– It is a theory which believe in consequences or results as the ultimate factor in deciding the rights or wrongs of a particular case. Its role is mostly observed in legal subjects to decide on final judgements. For example- a murder in innocence or lack of intentionality will still be considered a murder and the punishment would definitely be conferred. The type of punishment to be given is considered after taking other factors based upon deontology and virtue ethics.  
  2. Deontology– It means good and bad depends on the actions and not on its results. Kant believed that right morality is based on the principles of deontology and it is intrinsic. In case, a person is breaking signals on lonely road, then it will be announced as wrong on the principles of deontology.
  3. Utilitarianism – It considers the welfare of large sections of society. With the utilitarian perspectives, universally applicable law is created. For example- environmental projects, civilization projects, education schemes, farmers schemes, etc.
  4. Idealism– For any action, you have some ideas behind it. It is your values or beliefs or thoughts that brings successful completion of an idea. The intention should be morally appropriate. Here end is pre-determined, and means is uncertain. Example: A person wants to win gold medal in country’s sport would do all hardships to make it possible.
  5. Hedonism– In modern hedonism, nothing is considered as end, but means to end of happiness. Charvaka promoted hedonism or pleasure theory to judge every cause. They believe we receive one life, and we should do anything to maximise pleasure. In hedonist principles, drinking, loud music, late night parties are allowed because it makes a person happy.
  6. Gandhian Means or End -Mahatma Gandhi has promoted moral means to achieve an end. For him, achieving virtue is the main award. We can foresee means and have a control over it. However, we couldn’t control end. So, we should take care of means, end will take care of itself.   

    Let’s understand Means or End through some eye-opening examples (It is just for general opinions. The views may vary from person to person)

In present times, space tourism has turned into a luxury than needs. Rich people are spending millions or trillions to secure their seat in a space shuttle and poor people are left behind to look at skies and make prayer to invisible entities. How much right is the means of luxury to reach the end of finding life beyond Earth?

In an interview we speak white lies. We hide our blots, failures, and moments of misfortunes. We only reveal the goody-goody things. How far the means of harmless lies is valid to secure a good employment position?

Doctors telling lies to its patients for their early recovery. Is it good means or bad?
Mining is important for developmental projects. But for mining, forests are cut down. Could the wrong means of mining could challenge the future projects?
Is scolding or slapping your child to improve their habits or performances is right?
We use animals for human experiments to discover medicines or finding reasons for on-going disease. Is using animals for our ends is valid?
Marketing companies purchases products in low prices and then sell it in very high prices. How far the means to grow income is valid?
Is it valid to make our housekeepers do multiple or excess work just because we are giving them salary?
Are we doing right by distributing our torn or old clothes among poorer? How could we give something to others which has turned useless to us? It is the wrong means to attain right ends?

We buy expensive materials from malls or shopping complexes. And then we complain to poor seller of too much price? How far our approach is correct?

I hope you enjoyed this overall outline on means and ends. Feel free to look into the matter with different perspectives. This article is my personal analysis. Therefore, I apologise for any divergence from conventional viewpoints. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

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‘Vegetarianism’-Is it a big deal?

It’s a way too difficult to define animal rights as compared to human rights. The reason is we can feel the different treatments or procedures, if any, inflicted on humans. We could realize any pains of humans as our own. We fear that we may pass through the same pain one day. Our fear gives us a voice to shout in the union for human rights before it turns late.

Are we suffering alone?

In safeguarding us from unwanted sufferings, we don’t realize somewhere on this planet other beings are also suffering. The moral philosophers define animal rights in a way that makes people understand that all beings are equal and deserve equal treatments. If humans have their rights, then why not animals? It is believed that every living being has consciousness but the degree may differ. This idea is enough to drive the law-makers to bring some decent rights for the innocent mute beings. The rights don’t mean political rights, but it means the just right concerning the justice of every being. The justice which would decrease the sufferings and pains of other creatures.

‘Equality’ for all

When all beings are treated equally then the concepts of utilitarianism turns more sound. The idea of utilitarianism which guarantees larger good for the larger number seems valuable.

But, Is this concepts only for humans? The concept of utilitarianism, in my opinion, is losing some values. The animal rights are being exploited in our choice of being a non-vegetarian. Let’s understand more.

We have our rights to stay at the best of our health. To follow this right, we choose food consisting of animal proteins. We feel it appeasing to our taste buds and dietary needs. We have hundreds of positive reasons for the choice of being a non-vegetarians. But, do we ever realize that we are ignoring the pains and sufferings of the other creatures in our self-choices? How could it be a good thing when our decisions are impacting the living & surviving needs of other beings of this planet? Do we consider the animal as only food? Don’t we think that they have got emotions too?

Jainism totally refrains from providing harms or any troubles to other creatures. They very well understand the need to protect other beings. Though we can’t be completely faithful to Jainism concepts, we could choose our lifestyles in a way that it may not have a negative impact on others.

The solution to the choice conflicts

Now, what kind of choices can we make to stop the pains and sufferings of other beings? Which initiatives would reduce the pains of other creatures? Once we understand that animals are parts of the same Earth where we live. Then, we may never feel that we are exploiting them for the gratification of our own needs. The day when we start accepting them as part of this same planet, then we would take every measure to not hurt them. We would also leave spaces for them so that they may live their life peacefully.

When I see the meats being sold at the markets, I also see the poor animals kept in captivity. Inside the Small dirty cages with minimum food for survival, these animals suffer all the tortures which humans can never imagine for their own self.

When we talk of healthy choices, is it must to be a non-vegetarian? Do vegetarians aren’t fit and capable of meeting survival goals of life? Consider the two sections of society-‘ vegetarianism’ and ‘Non-vegetarianism’- who is healthy, happy and successful? Many of us would say, yes, they both are capable of growing and achieving success in their life. The only difference is the food choices they are following. I have only one question to the non-veggies, couldn’t we alter our food choices a bit to reduce the sufferings of other animals?

Peter Singer, Philosopher & Animal rights activists

Australian moral philosopher Peter Albert David Singer puts forward his theory on the needs for animal rights. He wrote a very influencing book ‘animal liberation’ in 1975. In his book, he discusses the theory of ‘speciesism’ where we give privilege to humans over all other beings. We think only for human welfare and often ignores the value of other beings on this Earth. We, sometimes forget that animals such as Chimpanzee, dogs, cats, cows show some emotions which are as same as the emotions seen in humans. When there is similarity, then why do we consider all this being completely different from humans? Why don’t we leave for them the living spaces they need? Just because they can’t speak and demand, we are leaving all these creatures helplessly suffer the pains.

Peter Singer is totally against the meat produced in a factory, he believes the animals receive more torture in the factory which is generally for the production of meat. The factory farm often treat animals unethically. Believe it or not, the brutally produced meats could only satisfy our hunger but could never satisfy our soul.

Shelley Kagan View on vegetarianism.

Shelley Kagan is a popular philosopher and animal rights activists. His theory is simple where he tries to reflect the different needs in our life.

Looking back at the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we understand that we have physiological needs, survival needs, safety needs, needs for love, care & belongingness, and self -actualization. We can confirm that most of these needs arise for animals too. But, who really cares for it? We, humans, generally care for our own needs. Don’t we?

Now coming back to Shelley Kagan theory. He says that we should involve in something when there is a need. We should be having a non-vegetarian meal when our body really demands from us. Also, it is a proven fact of a stronger link between adopting vegetarianism and living a longer life. Wherever there are no such needs of eating meat, we could adopt other healthier choices.

Noting down Peter singer and Shelley Kagan views, we have reached to the final conclusion which could protect animal rights. They are:

1. Look at the needs of including meat or non-veggies products in your diet. When we have another healthy veg- options, then mostly we should include that.

2. Other beings are also conscious, we should avoid giving any pains and sufferings to them.

Turning vegetarianism is never a compulsion but a choice. It’s we who should play the role of a rational being well. It’s we who should understand the emotions and needs of other beings. It’s only we who would take initiatives to protect and help other living beings to grow and nourish in this beautiful Earth. We are humans, and we should understand the responsibility of supporting the rights and needs of other beings.

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