Does The End Justify The Means?

in GEMS6 months ago

Without an end, there could be no means, since a means is a way of getting to an end.

Of course, we could also argue that some of us use the means at our disposal and see where it will take us without having a clear end in sight.

The problem with not planning is that failure comes as a total surprise. But what is failure when there is no plan for success?

If the plan is to become a dragonslayer in a world full of dragons, then not becoming a dragonslayer could be perceived as a failure. But is it really? Who knows, perhaps, one needs to become a dragon first in order to later become a dragonslayer?

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Diversity and Interconnectedness

The justification of a means to a particular end often boils down to how important or urgent it is to achieve that end. Individually, this can vary quite a lot given the diversity of experiences and perspectives.

A common example is the use of torture on perceived criminals to extract information. To some, torture is well justifiable as it 'could' prevent a bigger problem from happening.

The one tortured may be part of a large criminal organization and every piece of information that can be extracted from him will prove useful in helping bring down the organization.

Others however, may argue that torture is never justified, as it seems to fundamentally violate human rights and dignity. In some cases, it may not even produce any reliable information.

What's interesting is that on a collective level, most of us have agreed that advancing humanity through breaking limits and exploring new grounds is a worthy direction to pursue, even though we may not know where it will lead us.

And somewhere along the way, it became clear that the path is hardly linear or straightforward.

One of the dilemmas that this has created is the idea of either 'the greater good' or 'the chosen ones'.

That is, sacrificing a part of the whole system for the elevation of the whole system or elevating part of the whole system in detriment of the whole system.

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The Greater Good vs. The Chosen Ones

When we strip it down to the basic level, these are just frameworks of thinking, which often have a huge impact on the end result or outcome.

So the question becomes, how do we decide which framework to use when we face such dilemmas? Do we prioritize the well-being of the many over the few, or do we favor the few over the many?

Naturally, these are not easy questions to answer, both individually and collectively. If we take a look at human evolution, the greater good won the polls with a significant margin. But somehow when we branch into science, the Origin Of The Species by Charles Darwin tells us that it is survival of the fittest.

Through discernment, we come to understand that science is about discovering how nature works. And technology is about using that knowledge to create new things.

This makes science more on the neutral aspect of things, while technology is value-laden, in the sense that it reflects the incentives of the people who create and use it.

For example, science revealed how nuclear fission happens. And what did technology do with it? Well, it used it to make power plants or bombs, depending on the incentive.

Final Thoughts

We can see that the means and the ends are not always clear or consistent, both individually and collectively.

We face dilemmas and trade-offs that require us to make choices based on our values, incentives, and frameworks of thinking.

Sometimes, we may have to sacrifice some parts of the system for the benefit of the whole, or vice versa.

Other times, we may have to dive into the unknown and explore new possibilities without knowing where they will lead us.

The challenge is always to balance the diversity and interconnectedness of the system, and to use both science and technology responsibly and in a wise manner.

Perhaps, we can learn from the dragon and the dragonslayer, who may not be enemies, but rather different expressions of the same system.

Thanks for reading!! Share your thoughts below on the comments.


The problem with not planning is that failure comes as a total surprise. But what is failure when there is no plan for success?

Right on the mark. I am trying to do better now and making plans on the things most important to me. Asides failure which comes in the long run- nothing changes and that to me is most scary.

(I know the main point is not this but since this is what has been on mind since my waking it calls out to me.)

Welcome back on hive - missed you loads💕

Making a plan is good and sticking to it is great. I think it gives us a way to direct the course of our lives and pursue what we want to do with it. But when failure is inevitable, the plan doesn't always work out as planned. Sometimes, this is a good surprise but other times, it is a bad one.

Finding ourselves in a stagnant situation is indeed scary, especially when look at from a time and progress perspective. When I can't seem to move forwards, I always prefer to move backwards or sideways rather than being stationary.

Best of luck on doing better and making plans on things that are important to you :)

Many thanks for stopping by and thank you for the welcome :)

True indeed.

The pleasure is mine🙏🏽 thank you so much. Have an awesome week.

Very interesting read. It is difficult to comment on the choices that one makes, what may seem right to others may not be necessarily be right for us. It is all matter of perspective. As rightly said it is to find the balance and the interconnectedness of the system

Yes, that's one of the best ways to view it. There are lot of variables that we may not know about the person making the choice. What we often see is the outcome(s) but hardly the choices or options that lead to the outcome.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Yay! 🤗
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