For thousands of years, man has exploited the earth in the name of development. In return, instead of replenishing it, we humans defile it and pollute the environment. Be it forests, natural resources, water, soil, rain, mountains, winds, flora or fauna, we have ravaged it in the name of our use and needs. By making concrete jungles out of green belts, we have destroyed the ecology in the garb of growth. After exploiting the earth for hundreds and thousands of years, the planet is now taking its revenge. Can we grudge this, for this is our own doing and we cannot escape the penalty? But then is it too late to correct our mistakes? Well, pause for a moment and think. For the time immemorial most of the people have initially been concerned with the goals to achieve and then pragmatically considered means available to them. In other words end mattered first, means were chosen according to their compatibility with desired ends. In the premise of this paradigm evaluate the following thoughts. (a) What is the relation between means and ends? b) What was the idea of Gandhi in this regard? (c) Illustrate the relevancy of the whole concept in context of modern world.

Answer:

(a) What is the relation between means and ends?

The term means and end refers to any action (the means) carried out for the sole purpose of achieving something. (an end).
• The end denotes the goal which we have to achieve and in that process we utilize different methods, processes and paths available which are called as means.
• However, this relation should be governed by ethical principles. In the above case, whether we are using environment as means to ends, it should be governed by ethical principles. The development process should be sustainable.

(b) What was the idea of Gandhi in this regard?

• Gandhi, however, rejects the dichotomy between means and ends and goes to the other extreme and states that it is means, rather than ends, that provide the standard of morality.
• Although we can choose our ends, we do not have much control over it – we cannot know in advance whether these ends will be achieved.
• The only thing that is completely within our control is therefore the means with which we approach our various ends. It is not the end that we can work with but only means. Different means will lead to different ends. Thus the choosing of means should be governed by ethical principles and moral reasoning rather than selfish motives.
• While trying to understand the relation between means and ends he had stated three principles which saturate all philosophy namely, Non-duality, Truth and Ahimsa.

(c) Illustrate the relevancy of the whole concept in context of modern world.

• In this globalized world we tend to fix ourselves to the end. To meet the materialistic requirements, to meet the demand of consumerism – in this regard we often miss the purity of means and concentrate only on the end and sometimes use human beings as means to our ends which is unethical.

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