Means and Ends

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?

Happiness.

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?

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On Ownership and Stewardship

I want to write on this idea of ownership.

It is possessing something as one’s own and using it as one pleases.

And I start with some things that we take for granted as ours: our thoughts, our words, our bodies. Then I talk about material private property.

My thoughts seem not to be mine.

Are not all thoughts because of the influence of different people and experiences upon us? We are impressed by different outside influences and then we express our thoughts in different ways. But how can we say that these thoughts are ours if their origin is outside of ourselves? In this way, can we really say that anything is our original work?

The words that I use to express my thoughts do not come from me.

I did not create the English language. I did not create any language.
If I did not create the English language, can I really claim ownership for the thoughts that I express using this medium of language?

My body did not come from me.

It was borne from the union of my parents with their flesh. But even then, their bodies did not come from them, but through the union of their parents’ flesh. This goes on until the very first union. How can I say that any part of my body is really mine, if they did not come from me?

What do I actually own as mine?

If all of these things that I take for granted as mine have their origin outside of me, then how can I say that they really are mine?

So this even applies to the things we say that we own. We own our house, our car, our clothes, our laptops, our books, our food, our dog, etc. How can we really claim ownership to these if our ownership of our words, our thoughts, and our bodies are tenuous at best?

The idea of owning something is a fairly recent invention of modernity.

Private property was the early beginnings of the phenomenon we now acknowledge as capitalism and other such systems that claim ownership.

But do we really own anything? And is ownership really necessary for a system of getting what we need to live to work?

Before ownership was a reality, people just took what they needed from nature. Communities of animals and people marked certain boundaries of territory as theirs, but they know that others can also pass into this territory as they get what they need. People and animals alike didn’t even think about ownership.

Do we own something because we bought it?

Ok. Say you bought something. Now it’s yours. But going deeper, where did money even come from? It came from the imagination. The very idea of money only exists because two or more people believe in it. But in reality, money doesn’t really exist. The question that is begging to be answered though is, what is the effect of this idea of owning things on us?

What does ownership do to us?

There is a sense of entitlement that is reinforced by this idea of ownership, as if one can do anything that one wants to whatever he or she owns. Ownership is legal, but what is legal doesn’t make it right. People need to look at the big picture of how ownership actually affects themselves and the quality of their relationships with each other and the environment.

With ownership and private property, there came the possibility of hoarding. There came the transactional and detached relationships.
With money and banks, there came the possibility of loans and debts. There came people having to work for money all their lives.
With an emphasis on owning many things and having a lot of money, we have massive inequalities, disconnectedness from each other, and environmental degradation.

You can have your own stuff, but at what cost?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth the cost of making relating to your fellow people detached transactions rather than fully human relationships?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth being enslaved to debts like mortgages and so you have to work your whole life long rather than living a life free of debt and worries?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth the inequalities of haves and have-nots and the enmity caused by this rather than enjoying the peace of equality?

Sure, you can have your own stuff, but is it worth the destruction of the environment because of people who want to own more and more money and stuff rather than sustaining and appreciating the beauty of nature for free?

So what do I propose as an alternative to this ownership thing?

Stewardship. In this, the focus is not on you being able to do anything to your own things.

It is the responsible and careful management of something entrusted to you.

Your planet earth, your body, your mind, your being, your things – all of these are entrusted to you. You cannot hold unto them. For a brief moment, all of these are entrusted to you, and then you will disappear from this earth.

You do not know from where all this things came. But they will come back to where they came from. It is not from you. It is only being entrusted to you. So take care of these things. They are precious.

This does not mean you should not enjoy them. Far from it. This is the true enjoyment, of knowing that it is entrusted to you so that you may enjoy it together with others. Enjoyment and happiness are only complete if they are shared.

So in being a steward, you take care of all that is entrusted to you, knowing that someday, they will be taken from you.

——-

I am a steward, not an owner.

Why I chose to maintain a free WordPress website over a paid website

I made a website and paid for the domain and the hosting.

The domain was http://www.bitesizedphilosophy.com. It cost me about 1500 pesos for a year’s worth of domain and hosting.

This blog right now of http://www.bitesizedphilosophy.wordpress.com is basically the free version of my previous website.

I chose to discontinue my paid site and to replace it with this free wordpress site.

Why?

1. Simply because it was more than what I need.

I didn’t need the features that the paid site could provide. I didn’t need that much memory for my site. I didn’t need the paid site.

All I needed was a simple platform through which I can express my thoughts.

It’s great. This free site even looks and feels better from my previous theme. I really appreciate that this service can be given for free.

I don’t regret the experience of creating a paid site, because it has taught me a lot about how to make a website, buy a domain, use a cpanel, code a bit, etc. But it’s not necessary for my purpose, it’s too much.

2. I could use the money for other things.

1500 pesos for some might not be a big amount, but as to me, I really pay attention to the smallest details like these. 1500 pesos per year would equal to 15000 pesos in 10 years.

This is a project that I wish to sustain, and given my needs and resources, it’s not wise to sustain the paid site.

I want to be able to maximize the use of all my limited resources. I have other dreams and goals that I would like to fund with the money I save from this.

Knowing what is actually essential and what is superfluous is key to maximizing the use of one’s resources. In my case, I only need the essential services of the free service.

3. I don’t get paid for it.

The site that I share my thoughts and insights is not something that I am doing for profit. I wouldn’t bar the possibility of making money from writing though, but this is something that even if I wasn’t paid to do, I would still do.

If money was no object, writing would still be a part of my life. Even if only I or a few friends will be the only ones to read it.

I don’t get paid for this website. But what I do get is another thing: a fulfilment of my purpose. I feel alive when I write things like what I write here. I feel especially fulfilled if even just one person is inspired by the stuff I write.

4. Best part is, it’s all for free!

Yeah. It’s everything I need for my purpose, and it’s for free. Awesome, right?

Well, I believe that things, in reality, are for free. We are the only creatures in this world that actually have to pay to live. Money only exists because two or more people believe it exists. This also applies to the relative values that are placed upon different things.

Money is something that is used in a system to exchange goods and services, but the way it is used right now makes a lot of inequality and suffering happen, because human and involved relationships become inhuman and detached transactions.

I believe that eventually we as a human race will evolve towards a system that is beyond money. For these ideas, I recommend checking out Daniel Suelo, who also operates a free blog and Mark Boyle with his freeconomy ideas and moneyless manifesto.

I think that eventually all of us will learn to see that a system where everybody gets what they need and are happy living together is possible – if we only learn to share.

This website is one of my ways of sharing freely.

——-

This website is one way I come alive, and I wish to share it. I hope that some may be inspired by these words that flow through me.