Since I started blogging, I found that the topic well can run dry if you try to blog several times a week. When that happens, I check out blog topic generators. WordPress, the blog site I use, has a daily post challenge with a topic for participants to use. The topic a few days ago was “When do the ends justify the means?” The concept isn’t new, but the philosophy is best described in Machiavelli’s The Prince. He says:
Anyone who would act up to a perfect standard of goodness in everything must be ruined…It is essential therefore for a prince to have learnt how to be other than good and to use, or not to use, his goodness as necessity requires…What remains to be done must be done by you, for God will not do everything Himself.
I like reading what some of the other bloggers wrote regarding that blog suggestion. A comment by lanretajudeen was one that many echoed: “The end justifies the means when a mission, goal or objective has been accomplished and one feels a sense of self-fulfilment.” JanSimson added, “When you don’t regret the means.”
Team Oyeniyi suggested that the ends justify the means “When you are trying to save the life of your husband.” She must really love that husband. Cave Story commented that would only be true “When no one is killed in the process and when no animals are eaten in the process.” I’ve been thinking about when I think the ends justify the means. That’s with the full knowledge that I may not kill, but I will certainly eat an animal.
In sobriety, honesty is my goal. There are lines that I cross daily in that end vs. means challenge. I will lie if I think I might hurt someone’s feelings. I’ve been told that I’m not responsible for someone else’s reaction and that I should say the truth, but it’s a hard habit to break. I have gotten better about not being a people pleaser and don’t embellish reality (sometimes) to make myself look or sound better or shield the person from the truth. But I still do embellish reality at times so I must think those ends justify when it comes to truthiness.
There are things that I really dislike and I can probably cross the line to make them go away. I am not crazy about those giant, dumb cockroaches. People call them water bugs but that does not disguise that they are really roaches. Yuck. They may have been around since the dinosaurs, but they are relatively easy to kill.
However. Recently, Bob let a friend move into his house and that friend brought boxes of stuff into Bob’s home and those boxes had little tiny cockroaches in them. You know the kind. They are about 1/2″ long. They spread like wildfire. We bombed Bob’s house over Thanksgiving holiday and many of the little critters died. Many. But not all. We will bug bomb again and, I hope, we will get rid of them. I would almost favor moving if that doesn’t work. Drastic. An over-reaction. I think not. Those means would justify the end of those silly bugs. A real over-reacting means would be to set fire to the house. Now, that would be nuts. But it just might get rid of those dang bugs.
I hear people say that they had to drink ever drop of alcohol, go through every bit of misery, until they were ready to get sober. How much misery in order to find a recovered way of life! The end is sobriety. The means was desperation. That just stinks, but that end justifies those means.
There’s no right way to do the wrong thing. Bolshevist Leon Trotsky said, “The end may justify the means as long as there is something that justifies the end.” Deceiving someone so they feel a false sense of happiness and I can walk away without confrontation doesn’t pass that test. Figuring out if the end got justified is a hind-sight deal. Looking back, I see that it took every drop of alcohol to get to this place. Drinking until the wheels fell off and I was ready to try a different and a better way of life passes that test. Those means justify the end, the end justifies those means.