Friday, April 13, 2007

Crumbling pedestal.....Confusing Ideals...

Does the end justify the mean? Or does the means justify the end?
My reaction to this question has been like that of a pendulum oscillating form one end to the other. Though predominantly I believe in ‘means justifying the ends’ principle and try following it to the maximum possible extent, there have been plenty of instances when the temptations of what lies yonder has lured me to achieve my goal in any way possible.
One thing I have learned is not to make a value judgment – neither on myself nor on others. I would rather view each and every action on a case by case basis with more weightage on the intentions than on means or end.
Rama and Krishna, the two incarnations of Vishnu offer an interesting contrast. While Rama never swayed from the path of righteousness regardless of what he had to endure, Krishna was the foremost proponent of dealing with scenarios as the circumstances demanded out of him.
In this context, was Rama’s slaying of Vali in line with his principle (as we see it) of means justifying ends? I don’t know. Frankly it is beyond my comprehension.
Anyway one thing I do believe is that, following ‘end justifying means’ is much tougher and requires a far greater deal of moral courage. I say this because firstly we need to be doubly sure of what our end is, because if the end goal is flawed, we are in danger of falling into a bottomless pit of wrong doings.
Also one needs courage to stand by what he is doing since his true judgment may only happen sometime in the future when the goal is achieved and till then he has to bear the cross of ‘Guilty till pronounced innocent’


  1. Sometimes the most complex of problems have simple solutions, there can be no absolute conclusion to the dilemna of whether the "means justify the end" or "ends justify means".
    However to answer this question, we need to ask one more - Is it the right thing to do? If the answer is yes, Ends can justify means and vice versa.
    While applying the above principle we would observe that in most cases Means have to justify the End.
    After all achieveing success must be subservient to how we achieve it.
    Sometimes a morally unacceptable action might actually be the fair thing to do. Lots of Lord Krishna's actions fall in this category, but such actions require great courage, as people who take such actions risk public displeasure and unpopularity, however they would take such actions for the greater good (ie such actions are the right thing to do)
    We all know taking a life is morally reproachable, but a soldier killing an enemy soldier is protecting his country.
    Hence all the actions have to be viewed in the proper contexts.
    Lord Rama's slaying of Vali might actually be a case of End justifying the Means, he might have done it for the greater good.
    Hence what is improtant is not whether Ends justify MEans or vice versa but whether our actons are fair and the results are good.

  2. i agree wid watever gautam said...and the questions ejm or mje...all i say is good or bad, do what ur heart tells you to do...

    but u guys'(gautam and shankar) trademark tone is missing...u ppl trying to be polite and well behaved or wat...bring on humour