—ends-and-means ... February 17, 2014
Whenever the subject of ends and means come up, the implication (always) is that it is the ends that we really want, and not so much the means necessary to get them.
The matter of money provides the clearest example.
It requires no profound consideration of the matter to see that we do not really want the money. We want the stuff we are able to obtain with it. We want what money can do for us, the way it can serve us.
A very simple thought experiment can easily prove this.
Imagine a plate of your favorite food, and right beside it a stack of money.
Now ask yourself this question: which is more valuable?
This is a no-brainer. Of course the food is more valuable. It is the real reason you have the money, that you desire more of it, so that you can obtain more food.
We can easily see ourselves exchanging the money for some food, but can we do the reverse? Can we see ourselves offering to exchange some food for money, and only money? Not to use for something else, but just for its own sake?
Money is not and end, in the way that food is.
We do not want food for the sake of something else (other than just staying alive of course). But we do always want money for the sake of something else.
The very idea borders on the absurd. Why in the hell would anyone simply want a handful of cash (or gold, or silver), with no intention of ever doing anything with it?
Money in any form is not an end in itself. We always want it for the sake of something else, the end. Money is a means.
The basic "ends" in our lives are food, clothing and shelter. These are not things that we want so much as need, to survive.
Using this as a starting point, or template, we may uncover some surprising truths. Let us begin, for example, by considering a job, profession or career. They also are not ends. They are means to money, means to another means, as awkward as that may sound.
A job is a means to another means, that which we call money. In the same way that we want money for the sake of something else, we also want a job for exactly the same reason. No one wants a job just to have a job, any more than they want a room full of gold just to have a room full of gold.
If a job, profession or career were ends in themselves, then people would undertake them for nothing, expecting no remuneration whatsoever, except perhaps the satisfaction they might derive from said job, profession or career, which is highly doubtful, unless it might have something to do with an enjoyable activity, like sports.
No, we do not want jobs. We want the stuff that jobs make it possible for us to have, stuff like houses and cars, and - lest we forget - bitches and whores.
It is the ends that we truly want, not the means.
But why does it have to be so convoluted? Why can we not just get right to the ends? Why all this fluff in the middle? Why is it exactly that we cannot simply get the bitches and whores, the houses and cars and food and drugs?
The answer, in a word, is scarcity.
We cannot get right to the diamonds. They are not just lying all over the ground like rocks. You have to do a lot of digging to get to them. Same with gold, silver and other elements.
Even Paleolithic Man had to work at surviving. The fish did not simply jump out of the stream onto the riverbank. The rabbits did not simply hop right into the cave. Hell, no. Cavemen had to go through a lot of shit to get their hands on their food.
There has been little change in this process, except for the venue. But things are about to change. We are about to eliminate scarcity. How? Through the discovery of endless free energy.
Energy is needed for everything. It is energy that we are actually paying for whenever we buy something.
A good example is the food we buy in a restaurant. It may come as a bit of a shock when we first hear it, but the food itself is actually free. Yes, we are not paying for the food that is placed on our table when we dine at a restaurant. What we are paying for is the energy that was used to produce and prepare it. That is all that we are paying for. The food, being a product of Mother Nature that it is, is actually free.
But we have to pay for the farmer's, and rancher's, efforts in producing the food. Then we have to pay for the labor required for its preparation, not to mention the service and the cleanup afterwards.
Mother Nature is free, but the stuff we do with it is not.
But it soon will be. You see, energy, being but an aspect of Mother Nature, is also free. Yes, the universe is free. We do not have to pay for it. The universe is a manifestation of endless energy. Very soon, we will learn how to tap into that endless energy. When that day arrives, money will become absolutely meaningless.
Eventually we will develop and perfect the amazing replicator devices that we have all seen in the Star Trek series. It is already in the works. The 3D printing that is becoming so popular is the first step on the road to Star Trek quality replication.
Once everyone has a replicator at their disposal they will no longer need a job. As with money, jobs will be irrelevant. Why in the hell would we need a job to get money to buy food when we can just program our personal replicator to make whatever food we desire? And clothing? And shelter? Why?
No reason I can think of.
But what about the bitches and whores?
The holodecks will have the ability to fulfill any conceivable desires on that score. (Talk about boldly going where no man as gone before.)
And when that day finally comes, we will all be able to say with absolute conviction that the ends most definitely justify the means.