Response to: Disappearance of the Finest Good

Hi Sarah! To preface what I am about to say, I must say that I agree with what you have said for the general public. As a larger society and the American stereotype, we seem to have gone straight for consumerism. But the cause (which is not the topic of this response) is that our anscestors have typically wanted more success for their descendents, not by nihilism as some others in the class say. How that is measured has changed over time, but it is typically monetary. And this concept is not new; consider the myth of King Midas, whose obesession with gold led to his own demise. He was a consumer to the point of death.

Now consider something totally different: we can pinpoint pockets of society where they do pursue the “highest good”, something that is good for both its consequences and its own sake. In my opinion, one example is the musical community. We are constantly putting ourselves through physical, mental, and emotional stress for something greater. How do we turn out in the end? We turn out happy. We may see something that can help us to better materially, but it is (hopefully) because we were the ones making music the most passionately and greatly so that we could stand out from everyone else. If we look at a situation of playing with a good orchestra or a bad orchestra and were told to play in one or the other, I imagine that most would choose the good orchestra. It would pay more (consequence), but we would also be able to better enjoy what we do- make music for the sake of making music.

Another thing that I argue is that we are not only going towards consequence-oriented actions, but also doing things because we do them for their own sake. One example could be hiking. Going from personal experience, I went on a backpakcing trip to get experience of doing such a trip, but I would go on a trip to go on the trip. Yes, it would gratify a want to backpack more, but I would not do it for any consequence that could come from it. I would do it for its own sake.


4 Responses to Response to: Disappearance of the Finest Good

  1. jgraef2 says:

    Hey Sam, I agree with everything you are saying here and I’m glad you said it because I was going to say something similar but couldn’t. I think that artists in general, and creative people such as scientists break this consumerist trend and norm of society. I think creative people do what they do mostly because of curiosity and discovery. Scientists pursue making discoveries and observing nature and trying to understand it not because they want to win a Nobel Prize but because they are genuinely curious in the work they are doing and seeking answers to their questions about life. Or your example of going hiking just because you like it, you are a creative person and you go hiking because it is an experience for you to enjoy if you get exercise from it, it is a consequence that you don’t need. I think that any progress society makes is because of genuine love or curiosity because fame and glory are not motivators that can cause such determined and hard work needed to propel humanity.

  2. slee192 says:

    Like you had said, it would definitely be quit intriguing talking to a person with so much knowledge. I would definitely want to see what he could come up with whenever I try to make an argument. I feel like whatever he says will be unbeatable. It’s just so interesting how a person can find a way so easily and quickly to argue another’s points. It surprised me whenever someone had said something in the Republic, he was able to answer them back so quickly with such assurance, leaving them flabbergasted. I feel like Socrates is the type of man who could see through your soul. He would be able to get every single answer he wants from you just by using his brilliant and spontaneous questions. If I were to talk to him, I would feel every need to watch out for what I say just in case he pulls something bad out of me. Nonetheless, it would be cool to talk to someone so wise.

  3. slee192 says:

    I agree with you 100% on this post. I believe that people these days just waste time for no certain reason. If we were to describe these reasons, it would just be of people mindlessly doing things with absolutely no purpose. This includes buying things. We see kids buying toys for not certain reason. They just buy it, and when they bring it home, they just throw it into the pile of all of their other toys. It is just the consequence of losing money that seems interesting to people. Not only do kids do these things, but also as the blog post mentioned, people all over the world just spend money just because spending money gets them excited. An example that we can relate to in the Eastman School of Music is the declining that we have. We use up all of the declining that we have until it goes away. Basically, we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.

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