I want to talk about means and ends. I define means as those activities that we do to achieve certain goals or ends. I define ends as those things that we seek to achieve through means.
What is the highest end to which all ends go?
It is what we are all seeking for. It is what we are all doing these things in our life for. It is what we are all living for. To achieve this state of well being. To live well and feel right in all aspects of our being. It is an inner state of harmony with life. It is a sense of being awake, aware, and vibrant.
The highest end is simply being happy.
Don’t you think so? If it’s not happiness, then what are we all doing these activities in life for anyway?
The question then now is, how do we get happiness?
First, let us look at how unhappiness happens.
Unhappiness happens when we postulate that we must achieve a certain end for us to be happy.
If we are making our happiness conditional on achieving an end, what if we can never achieve that end? Then one can never be happy.
So now, let us look at how happiness happens:
When means become ends, and ends become means, one flows in happiness.
Think about it. We all want to use means in order for us to be happy.
But when we see that the happiness we seek is not in achieving a certain end but in the doing of the activities for the sake of themselves, then we have found happiness right here and now.
This does not disregard the fact that the doing of these activities can achieve certain ends that also evoke a sense of well-being, but seeing both as already means and ends, here and now.
The way to happiness is in seeing reality in a way that things and people are not just means but ends in themselves.
If we focus our time in doing activities that are means to get to an end that we think can make us happy, then we cannot use that time to do activities that we find pleasurable and enjoyable in and of themselves.
A simple walk with your lover.
A warm shower.
Playing with your pet.
Listening to music that you like.
People need to slow down in their lives and see that many of these activities that they can enjoy are already available to them here and now. Then they got to go do it and enjoy. That simple. What is life for, anyway? Don’t we all just want to be happy?
As for people, if we treat them as mere means to get to ends, we cannot appreciate the wonderful dynamism and creativity that each unique individual expresses.
If you look at people as merely means to getting more money, fame, power, or privileges, then you’ve missed the point of relationship.
Because relationship in its ultimate sense is an end unto itself.
When you really love, you don’t use a person as a means to an end. You actually see the person as an end unto himself or herself.
You relate because you relate. You love because you love. Happiness happens, and it happens when you don’t even use means to get to the end of happiness. You simply treat things and people as ends in themselves.
If you need to work for money to get certain ends you feel you will enjoy, then maybe you can actually find work that you enjoy doing for the sake of itself. Ask yourself:
If money were no object, what would you be doing?
What is it that makes you come alive when you do it?
Don’t make money the priority. Of course you need money, but you also need to come alive. Because what is the use of having the money to live, but feeling dead because you don’t like what you’re doing? Which do you think is a deeper need?
I suggest you factor that into your decision making too. Money isn’t the only thing you need. A deeper need is to live in a way that makes you come and feel fully alive. If not, what is life for? What’s the use of having all that money and security in life if you don’t even like how you’re living?
So go and do what makes you come alive. Life is short.
You don’t want to spend it saving up money and then end up realizing that you don’t have much time left to do what you actually want to do and what makes you come alive.
What are your means and ends?