Overview of Western Philosophy – Part 13

(Read Part 12 of the series.)

Utilitarianism

When deciding whether an action should be deemed good or bad (as opposed to whether it is something we ourselves want to do), people will sometimes try to calculate whether the result will benefit the majority. This principle was expressed in the 18th Century by Francis Hutcheson: ‘That action is best which procures the greatest happiness for the greatest numbers’. It is effectively the opposite of what Kant was saying. Whereas he insisted that it was the motive alone that determined whether an act should be deemed to be ‘good’ and that we should act from a sense of duty, Hutcheson was claiming that motives were ultimately irrelevant, it was the outcome alone that mattered.

Two philosophers in particular were responsible for developing and propagating these ideas and thereby influencing many people’s attitude towards morality. The first was Jeremy Bentham, who is generally regarded as the originator of so-called ‘Utilitarianism’, which says that conduct is right or wrong according to its tendency to produce favourable or unfavourable consequences for the people who are affected by it. It was given this name because actions are judged on the basis of their ‘utility’ or usefulness in bringing about good, or benefit of some kind as opposed to evil or unhappiness. Continue reading

The Hole in The Whole

There is no Whole without a ‘h-o-l-e’ in it. There is no hole without the whole around it.

The whole never contracted to become the hole. The hole cannot expand to become the whole.

Pain is our struggle to keep up the identity and separateness of a “me” – the survival struggle for existence of a separate “me” has been going on for millennia of years. That story is behind the Theory of Evolution.

Suffering is our effort to become back again One Whole – the seeking for integration propels us towards Self-inquiry. That story is behind the Theory of Liberation.

The whole and the hole together simply “are.” That is Oneness. So just Be.

That “Beingness” itself is Meditation.