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Ends and Means

It took me quite a while to understand the Kantian concept of treating people as 'ends in themselves' rather than means to an end. --Frankly, my philosophy professors and TAs at the University of Washington did not help with their circular definitions. I'm not sure they got it, either, but perhaps I was just dense.--

Not to offer an explanation of Kant*, but from my own perspective, treating people with dignity or as an end rather than a means entails acknowledging we all have our own situations, motivations, and needs. It means accepting that one approach will not work for everyone, and requires us to modulate our interactions accordingly. It necessitates an attempt to understand people, their thoughts and feelings, without jumping to hard and simple judgments.

I try to follow through on this, as best I might, when I have the wherewithal. It is not easy, but interacting with people who seem to disregard these notions entirely only confirms the moral imperative.

*Still beyond me, and not my project anyway.


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More Political Notes

-Rick Santorum seems a somewhat likeable guy who believes several crazy, distasteful things. It may not be helpful to say his ideas are nuts, but it still is less useful to fashion him an evil man because his discriminatory views don't jive with the left, centre, or centre-right in America.

-Calling a person a 'front runner' before votes are counted is just plain wrong.  Calling one a front-runner after some votes are counted is slightly misleading.  The race isn't about who the media thinks is ahead, and it is only indirectly about who gets the most votes.  What really matters is accruing the most delegates.  In the race for a major party's nomination for POTUS, the guy with the most delegates-who-will-actually-vote-for-him-at-their-national-convention is ahead. If no delegates have been awarded, there isn't really a front-runner, no matter what polls might say.

-I doubt the primary process will hurt the eventual Republican nominee for POTUS all that much.…

Pointless Ruminations on the Absurd

The world around us is in no way required to conform to our expectations, beliefs, or desires. Rather, it is all but guaranteed to disappoint us, at least once or twice a lifetime. The loftier (or more deeply felt) our ideals, the more this may be true.

When we accept this incongruity and are keenly aware of it, but cannot change our thinking, absurdity steps in. The world no longer quite makes sense. It is untethered from rational or moral concerns, adrift in a bizarre joke told by no one.
Desire for normative order is often irrational and misplaced. Placing ethical constraints on amoral matters makes no sense. Yet these appear (sometimes, seemingly) inescapable conclusions. Hence the sensation of absurdity.

We can apply these incongruous demands to anything and anyone. But this is not a universal philosophy. It is a philosophy of the self, a diagnosis.

Well now.

I think I'm going to try to revive my online writing habits, outside of Facebook.

And what have I been thinking or feeling in the interim, across the last couple years or so? Well, I'm glad you asked.

In part, this.