Daily Ramblings #7 — Takeaways from Kant’s “Formula for Humanity”

August 21st, 2018

Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

Good day everybody, here’s wishing you a pleasant day, wherever you may be.

The inspiration for today’s Ramblings is Mark Manson’s The One Rule for Life, in which he presented Immanuel Kant’s “Formula for Humanity,” as follows:

“Act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.”

As well as a less philosophical interpretation, as follows:

“Each person must never be treated only as a means to some other end, but must also be treated as an end themselves.”

Which really spurred me to think, while in the midst of my morning routine, about the instances in my life when I treated somebody I knew as a means to an end, as well as when somebody treated me as a means to an end.

Moreover, I thought about the times when I treated myself as a means to an end. The thoughts of dragging myself out of bed past midnight and walking 30 minutes to and from the closest shop to buy a pack of cigarettes so I could get my tobacco fix immediately came to mind.

Which led me to think about Adam Grant’s book Give and Take, about how some of the truly successful and happy people are givers, who strived to constantly better those around them.

Epiphany: Treating oneself and all others as an end, in it and of itself, should be the fundamental goal of any individual with consciousness (that’s us, my friends).

In other words, we all should first strive to minimize using ourselves as means to ends. That is not an easy task, but I strive to share that with you.

For almost one full year, I have used the ingenious app called Toggl to track the ins and outs of daily life, and I have it all documented. When the whole year, the full 365 days are up, I will take this data, compile it and then get a glimpse at my own “Formula for Humanity”, measured by time.

We all know that time is one of the fundamental inventions that rose out of human consciousness. No other species that we know of, that were not creations of our collective minds, comes even close to our understanding of time.

From a purely physical standpoint, time doesn’t actually exist. Carlo Rovelli’s thrilling book, The Order of Time, tells this story a lot better than I can, and I plead you to read it if the concept of time is in any way, shape, or form, of interest to you.

As such, time is a tool that we can wield to immense power, both for good or for bad, and we have. For me, for now, simple tracking, observation and analysis is sufficient, before the next thoughts and actions formulate themselves. This is truly exciting.

Have a great day, and ask yourself this today:

When do I allow myself to use myself as a means to an end, how can I become more consciously aware of those instances, and how can I minimize and eventually eliminate these instances?

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