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A Means to an End

This past year I took a moral philosophy course. I was pleasantly shocked to find that the behaviors in my life reflect many of the philosophies we studied. I did not know the words, the terminology, or some of the philosophers however in the last twenty-five years I had certainly been making a concerted effort to be the best possible me that I could be.

Immanuel Kant’s theory of morality really struck home to me in this class as out of all of my short comings in life, he spoke to the heart of change I had been successful in making in my own life.

The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that rational human beings should be treated as an end in themselves and not as a means to something else. The fact that we are human has value in itself.

When I was in highschool I dealt with depression, anxiety, and I simply did not learn the tools to properly communicate with people. I am certain I did a lot of harm to people by looking to people as a “means” to whatever social or emotional “ends” I was looking for.

It took a long time and I continue to self-reflect and keep myself in check. I want to be a good person. I want people to look at me and see light in this crazy world. I will never forget that people are an “end” and they all have value.

I bring this up as a Twitter friend named Krystina Arielle has been shining a light on the absolute toxic environment she wades through on an almost daily basis. It breaks my heart to hear the stories about what she goes through. I reflect on the things she says and I wonder if I have been the best me today. I hope that I have left nothing but kindness in my wake.

I talked before about my looking at issues. I am a white, straight, male. I can only try to understand what POC and women in particular go through. I used the analogy of picking up a glass full of muddy water and trying to view the issue. I can kind of see the issue, I can certainly sympathize and do what I can. I just will never fully understand the problem as my view is distorted by the lens. I will keep trying. I will take the lessons I have learned and try and instill them into my children. The lessons of kindness.

I have daughters who are meandering and growing up in this world. I have a rage inside of me for the potential conversations they are going to have or have had already where they are treated with contempt or disrespect.

One last word from Immanuel Kant

Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a general natural law

Immanuel Kant

I want to always act as if the maxim of my actions were kindness and love. A world in which such a thing were possible I imagine and see potential in.

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