Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ends and Means

Maturation is a constant process of replacing means [functioning as ends] with things which are ends in themselves. To be more simple: life is about realizing things which you once idolized as the prime satisfaction are only means towards accomplishing something which is a true end of established value in itself. As we grow, we realize that the things which we once thought to be end-alls and true satisfiers are only in themselves means towards accomplishing a much higher and truer goal. When I was 14 and 1/2, I thought the end all and supreme realization of happiness in life was to have a car and a cell phone. Once I obtained a car and a cell phone, I realized that this truly wasn't an end in itself, but rather only a means - transporting myself around and communicating with people. But still the question remained, "Why do I transport myself around and communicate with people?" I could come up with no answer other than, "I thought this was what it meant to have true life." Now I say, "I transport myself about and communicate with others because I have a reason for doing so, and thus I count car and cellphone of little value except for what role they may play in accomplishing a much greater goal.

When I was younger; interested in theology and ministry, I looked at those whose lives are filled with successful evangelism, security, peace, and happiness. I again began to look at these things as the supreme end in life, the chief gratification of the desperate heart of man-- and so I endeavored to reach fruits of ministry. I tasted these things, however, and found that they truly could not be end of all things. For to be happy, secure, and successful in ministry was not the reason I ought to have performed the tasks which brought me such things. To portray successful evangelism as an end of man's existence is to remove his source of joy when for whatever reason evangelism isn't successful. I again realized, however, that successful evangelism or relations with people is not the cheif end of all human life, but only a means of accomplishing some deeper and more wonderful end. What then, is there that man can see as the deepest End of all things he does? Why do anything if everything we strive towards only ends up being a means towards accomplishing else?

Do you want to be a rockstar? Once you become a rockstar, you'll realize that you deeply long for a reason to be a rockstar; a motivation to keep going.

Do you want a girlfriend/boyfriend? You'll realize pretty fast that recieving the priviledge to have a significant other is only a means towards the end of loving that person with everything you are.

Do you want to be famous? You'll wish, once you get famous, that you had a deeper reason for what you're doing, other than the satisfaction of being in the spot-light.

Do you want to be rich? You'll realize that money is only a means towards accomplishing something else once you see how miserable it makes you to objectify it as the end-all satisfaction of man.

Do you want to be skilled at something? Once you realize that objectifying excellence as the supreme end all of man makes one empty once perfection is reached, you'll see that the only reason people truly ought to become excellent is to accomplish something else.

This is a collection of my thoughts concerning how we ought to approach life. Recently, I found that I was idolizing the idea of becoming a professional philosopher/ apologist without realizing why I ought to be doing it. If one becomes a philosopher only for the sake of becoming a philosopher, what remains left to be accomplished once you've become a professional philosopher? Why not just die already? Alas, there is one answer which my heart may give; and it shows the true end of all man's life:

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"