Morality and Ethics

Or : About the Art, to differintiate Ideas

by Helmut Walther (Nürnberg)

Origin and Concept

Why is it, on the one hand, so difficult, and on the other hand, still necessary that we have to concern ourselves with ethics even today, when philosophers have been contemplating these problems for already nearly 2,400 years (beginning with Democrit)? Countless systems of ethics have been thought up in the meantime, and yet, even today, we do not seem to be able to rationally explain why it would be better to lead a good than an immoral life, respectively, the opinions on this are as widely spread as ever as to what constitutes a good life and how we can judge as to whether one thing is good and the other is bad.

Three main criteria can be found for a basis on which the "ethical quality" of a life can be judged: the benefit and the happiness that arises out of it for the individual respectively for the community, the "reasonable virtue", in form of "humanism" (whatever that might mean), and religious sanctioning. Morality, ethics and religion are phenomena of the human mind; from this common source, they are interrelated in such a way that misconceptions and confusion arose and still arises out of it – as also in Singer’s "Praktische Ethik", when moral and ethical behavior are not differentiated respectively when every connection between religion and ethics is rejected. The confusion stems from the fact that one, obviously, defines the terms for the said phenomena as definite and well-known: morality and ethics are treated as though they were exchangeable concepts that require no further explanation, and what the term religion means, should already be known to every child. Really? In this way, one forgets, to speak with Heidegger, to raise the actual initial question, as to what these phenomena really are, in order to begin right away with the "basic" question as to how and on what these terms are based. Such an attempt remains, necessarily, caught in a so-called "circulus vitiosus", since the very capacity that brought these phenomena "to the light of reality", wants to provide explanations of these phenomena from within its own realm: it is man’s reason which brought forth the ethical phenomena as well as the higher forms of religion as metaphysic and which is now struggling with its own metaphysic. It means to be still imprisoned in metaphysic if the ethical values are considered "a priori moral laws" towards which there should even exist a "duty of love" (!) (Kant): this is not ‘reasoning’, but rather, ‘demanding’. Basically, on the other hand, however, this second "all-destroyer" Kant is hardly surpassed by any subsequent philosophical system, and that due to an objective reason: with Kant and his self-reflection of reason, this reason has reached its last stage of development, more than the reflecting-through of itself including the reflecting-through of all stages that lay before it, cannot be accomplished by reason.

The former reflection can only be accomplished by reason, however, if it asks the right initial question – this can, therefore, not be the question as to the phenomena it brought forth; rather, by considering these phenomena one would have to go back and consider the essence of reason itself, what it actually represents in connection with the human mind and what the human mind actually is. Without an answer to this question, every attempt at finding a basis for ethics and religion will remain arbitrary and subjective; utopianism or sympathy would then, in reality, be unfounded existential decisions of the individual to which reason lends it a rational veil. Schopenhauer’s pessimism as well as Nietzsche’s "Wille zur Macht" (the will for power) belong here; while Heidegger’s metaphysical-hollow mysticism of reason forms the "high point" of this "art of veiling" of concepts, Popper provides the exact opposite: ratio’s bankruptcy declaration, namely, that it cannot make any statement as to the positive essence of the world, and which sees itself thrown back on sympathy and on falsification, which is, euphemistically, called "humanism" that, in truth, does not contain any positive values. Values such as "freedom" and "democracy" only have a kind of negative connotation, insofar as they themselves are no longer directed towards a positive goal, but rather only meant to describe a status in which the minimizng of sufferings and of restraints are supposed to guarantee a maximum of individual freedom, of which, however, no-one knows, what this freedom is, ultimately, "good for". Particularly for the most important need of man, Popper and critical rationalism does not have an answer: on what can man, after the breakdown of traditional religions as well as idealism and ideology, center his most noble motivation, his lively innermost self? On what can be actively focus his lively spirit and his freedom? While one may not make too many mistakes with the falsification method – does it, however, provide the right kind of life? One possibility, amongst many, is the viewpoint of critical rationalism.

However, it is not easy to understand why representatives of this viewpoint would want to demonize another expression of the human mind, such as religion, instead of trying to understand it. Where would that leave freedom of expression for religion? As long as one puts oneself into an anthithetical position to it, one still remains, basically, on the same ground. Are philosophy and religion not sisters, children of one mother? Moreover, should one not, instead of highly valuing an "apostata", rather consider as to whether our thinking of today, also that of critical rationalism, has only become possible due to our having gone through the "school of Christianity"? In order to develop reason in all its breadth and deapth, quite different means were required than rationalsists would, in hindsight, consider. In order to be able to answer the question as to the foundation or basis of ethics, one has to ask the initial question as to the human mind, which would require a two-fold differentiation:

a) the term "mind" will have to be applied in its double meaning, namely, on the one hand, as a fuctional term, which refers to the human capacity of ratio; and, secondly, on the other hand, as an existential term, which refers to the lively center of the individual, the "core of the person", the spirit out of and in which each individual lives.

b) The functional term mind has to be separated into its different capacities of understanding and reason, as it shows itself still today, in phylogenetic development in ontogenetic-individual combinations.

With this, we return to the introduction which, quite deliberately, refers to morality and ethics as phenomena of the human mind and spirit. Why does language provide two different words here? Since that which is expressed by each is thus differentiating itself from the other instead of being intermingled, those terms also have to be categorically separated. Even a superficial look at the meaning and at the origin of those terms teches this, as Aristotle already recommends in his "Politics", "Die beste Methode dürfte ... es sein, daß man die Gegenstände verfolgt, wie sie sich von Anfang an entwickeln." (It might be the best method to consider the subjects as they developed from the beginning). The ancient Greek word "ethos" is etymologically related to the word "ethnos" (people), both go back to "etho" and, initially, meant as much as "dwelling together" and, from that, "to be used to something" (see the similar development in the German language of "wohnen" (to live, to dwell) to "Gewohnheit" (custom, or, rather, a state of "being accustomed to") and the origin of the German word "Sitte" (custom) from "situ": "von eigener Art" (of its own kind), thus the observation of certain characteristics which arise out of traditions that have adapted themselves to certain preconditions). While "ethos", at first, meant "Sitte" (custom), the term changed in a double-sense with the triumvirate of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle: now, ethics refers to the teachings on customs, it investigates the essence of man, in order to determine the path to the "truly good" (as, for example, the "Nicomachian ethics" of Aristotle); what is important now is not the individual custom ("ethos"), but rather the attitude and outlook (the Ethos/"aethos"). Morality as in "mores maiorum" refers, at first, to the "customs of the ancients", which, on the basis of their having proven themselves locally over time, have been incorporated into the traditions of a group in a process of emotional-utilitaristic conditioning.

However, the word "mos", based on Roman tradition, originates in quite another root: "fervent striving", "courage" is its original meaning, thus the conquering of ones environment by rules – one only has to consider the Roman genius for organization. When, thus, Cato Maior reminds his people of the "mos maiorum", he means, by this, something quite different from lifeless morality or from a nostalgic turning-back to tradition; rather, he aims at "inner morality", which is, one the one hand, based on traditional righteousness, while it, on the other hand, faces the world on the basis of its inner strength. In a similar context, even stil today, we speak of "moral uprightness", which arises out of the inner stability of an individual. In today’s common language use, ethics and moral philosophy are considered equivalent terms – this also points towards a different meaning. With respect to the term "morality", already French enlightenment has noted that it is dependent on local and time-bound conditions, and that, therefore, different "moralities" exist next to each other. Are there, however, also different ethics? Rather not, for ethics arises from quite a different soil, from quite a different category and proves itself, in its core apsects at all times and everywhere completely identical inspite of different local and time-bound origins, even if different viewpoints on ways of explaining the (one) ethics have changed over times. To express it differently: Morality has its origins in man’s understanding, ethics in reason, with which we are confronted with the two different categories of the human mind. While this differentitation is not new, since, for example, already Kant(1) and Hegel have seen them this way, and Schopenhauer, too, contemplated the different nature of these capacities, one has, until now, not been able to really grasp either the essence or the importance of this difference. Only the consideration of this difference will allow an independent basis for ethic.

At the time of its development (globally speaking, since the 8th century BC: with the transformation of the east-Indian religion(s) up to Buddhism, with the transformation of the Jewish religion up to Jesus and with ancient Greek philosophy from the pre-Socratean thinkers to Plato/Aristotle up to the thinkers of stoicism), ethic was, at first, metaphysic in form of the question of developing reason for the essence of man; the reception of reason leads to quite different values than those of the morals of the ancients. Only by turning away from the values of morality that were geared towards the calculating of outward phenomena (such as strength, beauty, power), an internalized true form of virtue became possible. Why was the turn of our times what it was, why did it become globally effective? This was due to the fact that during the course of his development, there opened itself up to man a new image of himself that was no longer based on his understanding, but on his reason. In order to free the content of the concepts of these values from metaphysic, it is necessary to bring to the fore their functional essence which will obviously lead to identical results at the core of this process, because it will always be based on identical structures. There is no way around it; before we raise the question as to ethics, we have to raise the question as to these structures and with this also as to man and his mind. For ethics, as a whole of the rules of communication of reason, arises out of the realizations of reason; these realizations, however, are incorruptably connected to the fact as to what and on what background this capability of realization recognizes itself. With this, the viepoint of the capability of reason already determines all decisive basic criteria and principles of ethics, and due to this, the pre-existence of an ethic of realization is indispensable. As far as this is not continued at this point, it has already been accomplished in the "categories of the introspective" as in "the end of metaphysic"; and for ethics, the following consequences arise:

1. By ethics is to be understood the behavioral norms of reason that have been drawn to the light of reality in the process of their reception as a process of the investigation of the essence of existence and that have been stripped of metaphysic that was attached to them during the process of reflection (as to their essence). As such, these norms stand next to those of man’s other capabilities (of instinct, emotion and understanding), but they also stand above them, for they have been brought forth due to man’s latest and thus highest capability. The preceding norms are being inhibited, modified in a process of sublimation and elevated by the norms of ethics, as much as reason itself is a form of inhibition, subliming modification and elevation of understanding. From an overall viewpoint, these norms can functionally be understood as behavior patterns which, as such, have been brought forth at all levels of life, be it at the vegetative, instinctive or emotional level: every capability of life (and of man) brings forth new and qualititatively higher behavior patterns and reflects these. Why does one not raise the question as to the basis for that which emotion is feeling rightfully, why does one not also raise the question as to the basis for that which understanding considers as that which is right? This is due to the fact that these processes appear to us as "givens" of our previous (and older) capabilities, which should become "givens" to us as to the ethical norms. In case man will be cabable, in realizing the ethical norms, not to set an end to himself and the development of life which led up to his development , one could expect that ethics will also not be the last code of norms in the same way as formerly, morality was replaced by ethic.

2. Ethics does not have to be connected with religion, for its norms are based on a human capacity. Every real high form of religion contains, ‘per se ipsum’ the same ethical norms, since these are based on the same capacity of reason. In contrast to this, the folk and national religions stem from the first category, understanding. This contrast can still be felt today in such phenomena as in all re-occurring fundamentalist movements, which throw reason and ethics overboard by moving backwards in relying on emotional conditioning. However, this backward move is based on the fact that, in the completion of the process of reflection of and by reason, the high forms of religion have thus lost their basis so that the majority of mankind in which the capacity of understanding is predominating is shaping the goals of its existence according to esthetical considerations which are in any case more familiar to it. Moreover, all high forms of religion have incorporated the essence of national/folk religion to varying degrees, in order to be able to incorporate amongst its members that majority which is predominantly shaped by the capacity of understanding – the terrible history and the abberrations of Christianity show the long process that was necessary for this high form of religion in order for it to extract the essential content of that which gave it the strength on the basis of which it became a world religion: the ehtical norms of the second category and the lively connection to transcendence. On the other hand, the dissolution of the high forms of religion does not devalue the ethical norms at all, rather, to the contrary, this helps them to their own right, for in the acceptance of these norms, man is accepting his essence as a being of reason. Only in the separation and in the independence of ethics as the presently prevailing behavioral norms in immanence does there open itself up a free view of the essence of transcendence, since the sacred respectively the numinous has been removed from the high forms of religion through the process of reflection of reason, as much as before the reflection of understanding removed the sacred from the religions of understanding. Transcendence belongs to the innermost of the individual, where ethics is directed towards the societal behavior among humans.

One has to differentiate between the inner contents of morality, ethic and religion, for they stand in a direct relationship to the capacity which brought them forth. Morality, as it is, for example, understood by Cato Maior refers to the matter-of-course adherence to the traditions of the "mos maiorum" in form of strict moral customs each community member is obliged to follow and is geared toward the self-preservation and elevation of the specific community; ethos refers to the basic ethical attitude of an individual and is aimed at the ethical ideal with a view towards the elevation of man and of the constitution of human society in general. On the same foils as morality and ethic developed, namely on the foils of understanding and reason, there also develop different forms of religiosity which combine themselves in peculiar fashion with the respective behavioral norms and sanction them. However, at the time of their emergence, all high forms of religion form an unbreakable alliance with the forms of religion of the first category, which is, after all, not surprising in a world which is predominantly shaped by first-cagetory concepts. From this alliance arise all those shortcomings which are eloquently bemoaned by opponents of the Christian religion, due to the fact that the essence of the high forms of religion of the second category is not separated from their necessarily first-categorical shaping. In order to illustrate this fact: the basic principle of each high form of religion on the basis of reason is the love between the one God and man; God is the unspeakable omnipotence. Quite different to this is the situation of man in the folk religions on the basis of understanding: he submits himself to the Gods, he reveres them in devotional (!) cult (the "do, ut des" of understanding), Gods are conceived on the foil of humans. The shaping of Christian teachings and of the Christian cult forms present themselves thus as a combination of first and second category concepts which is necessary in a certain environment – all ritual forms and all outer appearances have less to do with Jesus than, rather, with those humans who alone could and were supposed to accept these teachings. Therefore, most precarious contents such as the virginal birth of Jesus, miracles, heaven and hell, the reverence of Mary and the saints, intolerance, implementation of the teachings by force, are all of first-categorical origin, respectively to they stem from the preceding national religions and stand in an inner conflict with the central statements of the Nazarene, his realization of suffering, the "sola fide" – against all faith in (human) works and rites – and the double commandment. It is these three points alone which lent this religion, as every other high form of religion, its strength on the basis of which it could remain effective for two thousand years – since precisely this coincides with the strucural essence and the inner content of reason: to free man as an individual, to ethically bind this freedom in the world and to reconcile man with the suffering as which the world appears to the interpretation of reason.

Happiness and Ethics

Ethic is the summary of the behavioral rules on the basis of reason; these rules do not have any teleology, for they are of an equally functional nature as those of understanding as the rules of morality. The teleology of these rules does not arise out of ethic itself, but from the inner e.v. evaluation. Understanding ultimately reacts intellectually unaware, with its emotionally bound e.v.-centre, to utility, thus to that which is useful to the individual and to the group respectively to that which is not useful to it; its goal is power, its means of expression is the will to have. Contrary to this, reason reacts consciously in the verification through understanding to the "Good": as the cooperation of the individuals according to its principles; its means of expression is the will to be (in the meaning of attitude and outlook). Happiness and ethics behave similar to content and form. Ethics as a formal concept can and should not define happiness, but rather should it provide the set of rules by means of which the categorically different states of happiness of individuals can be realized.

In light of the myriad of different concepts of happiness, this teleology of happiness cannot be determined in a generally valid manner, but again only as a formal state of affairs: happiness lies in the self-realization of the respective individual within a community. To guarantee the possibility of this self-realization to each community member, on his or her terms, as long as these are commensurable with or even beneficial to the aims of the community, is the task of the rules of ethiccs.

Therefore, ethics also has nothing to do with transendence, even if it was, as metaphysic, beyond understanding in its formation, the transcendence of understanding itself.

At first, as metaphysical transcendence, ethics was completely justifiably connected to religion, as for example, with Laotse, Konfucius, with Budda and Jesus as well as with the ancient Greeks (the Pythagorean thinkers, Plato) – every contact with transcendence, be it in the phylogenetic re-evaluation, be it in the individual e.v. migration, was experienced as a religious one.

The ethical principles are identical with reason’s determination of the essence (of things), as to this capacity, the "entelechia" of the essence of man, including himself, is shown as reflected-through. The "good" is the evaluation principle of reason and with it that of ethics, as utility is that of understanding and morality. The "good" as the evaluation principle of the e.v. of reason is not necessarily identical with "that which is right" as the principle of that capability. Thus, one can think of instances in which there will only be available a choice between more or less "bad" possibilities; from an ethical viewpoint, the "right" is then the choice of the "least bad" wich is then, by no means, "good". Rather, in such a case, only the conviction of the individual who is making this choice is "good".

If happiness is self-realization, then there will be as many concepts of happiness as there are categorically different individualities including or in addition to the circumstances prevailing in each case. At the same time, the different concepts of happiness should be subject to an equally objective evaluation, as the categorical differences are, of course, based on differently "highly" developed human cpabilities and the individual e.v.-setups of humans. This possibility of objective evaluation does not change anything in the fact of the subjectively equal value of all such concepts (of happiness). Self-realization means to fill up one’s own "entelechia", to find the place for the self that is suitable to it according to its pre-dispositioning and development. This means at the same time that one’s own happiness as self-realization is always dependent on the society that is surrounding it, in which alone the self can realize itself as a communicating entity. For this reason, each personal happiness will always also be connected to the "happiness" of one’s own community, since every (individual) self-realization is part of the overall development of a society. The most comprehensively happy state will thus be reached by that society which makes it possible for all members to realize their own concepts of happiness, for, in this way, the most varying contributions are enriching the life and overall "quality" of a society. Every striving for happiness is insofar connected and aiming for the "good" as, according to Aristotle, all that exists is striving for something, for a value. What will be the good of a person, will be individually determined by the centering of his e.v. as a "centre of movement", while the good of society as a whole is determined by the development of the (human) capabilities and by the position of the e.v. in the tradition of this society. Due to this, there will always be tension and conflict between indvidual happiness and the concept of happines in that tradition, which today, after the reflection of reason, is received by and for society according to the at this time highest capability: every striving for happiness by the individual finds its limies in the ethical ground rules for the coexistence of humans.

Will and Ethos

Basically, will is active communication as the inter-dependence of that which exists. Everything that exists "wants", since everything that exists is, in its own way, inter-dependent on other things that exist. The kind and quality of the will depends on the respectively highest capability of that individual existence: craving/emotion, desiring/understanding, wanting/reason. Likewise, as the object of the craving/desire/wanting does not lie within the choice of the (respective) capability as to what it craves/desires/wants: thus craving aims for lust, desire for utility, as well as the wanting of reason: to want the "good", to have to want the good, lies outside if itself, is necessary, because the "good" is the pre-existing decision criterium of reason, as lust is for emotion and utility for understanding. No-one asks why one decides on lust and on utility "a priori". – This is likewise applicable to reason.

To want the "good", to desire that which is sueful for oneself, to follow one’s cravings – in all of this is expressed the necessary acceptance of one’s own vitality as inter-dependence of active communication: to be alive means to communicate, to communicate "for the sake of something" – and thus already Aristotle rightfully said that everything that exists is "striving for something, for a value". That which sets each capability in motion is that which it strives for. The decision for utility or for the good does not lie within the capability, is not individual: the individual who is centered in understanding is as little at liberty not to desire that which is useful, as that individual who is centered in reason is at libery not to want the good. Nevertheless, there is no room here for any metaphysic or an "ethical law" a la Kant. Rather, the necessity of adhering lies, as in the always also consciously accepted Yes to one’s own life as that which exists according to the manner of one’s own highest capability. Since nothing exists that says no to itself (otherwise, it would, with this, eradicate its own existence), everything that exists pre-individually decides as this existence that wants to exist, thus also with this, for that which corresponds with its own "kind" and the equivalent "good" of its capability. Will craves/desires/wants that which the indviidual existence is as active inter-dependence of its hightest capability: man "a priori" wants to be man which means that, as a being of reason, he wants to be good, since this is identical with being human at that level.

The possibility of an invidiual’s "not being good" is insofar a privation of ("steresis") of this individual existence, as such individual does not yet share the hitherto highest form of human capability (as sharing of essence--- "methexis"), does not share the "good" of reason, which can be due to various reasons, amongst others, reason itself! Privation, limitation it is because the respectively latest and highest capability of a kind, at present reason in man, is a new limitation of the for what purpose for all of existence, for existence as a whole, compared to which all pre-existing forms appear as limitations. Reason becomes the enemy of the "good" then, when it is relying solely on itself – as connection of the e.v. with reason in a confusion of reason with the e.v., instead of seeing that the actual "good" lies outside of itself as the vital/internal, the modalities of which are only supposed to be formed by it, reason. The privation of the unreasonable existence is a matter-of-course result of non-participation in reason and in the "good" that can only be conveyed through it; however, also individuals capable of reason can be limited insofar with respect to the vital-good, as every individual existence is a combination of several capabilities, due to which the "will for the good" of reason can be limited by the older-category capabilities and their "intents", as long as the individual has not completed his/her e.v.-migration into reason: knowledge based on realization (as opposed to that which is only acquired by rote learning) equals "wanting", due to which the old Socrates was right and wrong at the same time! For this knowledge is, after all, not teachable as everyone believed, bur rather is it a knowledge that is acquired by the individual’s working on it himself to make it his/her own as an essential congruence between knowledge and self: only this "knowledge" will result in "virtue". Everything that exists is will for it is an existing entity "for the sake of something"; existence and communicative inter-dependence are identical – here also lies the contradcition of Schopenhauer’s contention: as if existence could come about whthout this "for the sake of something" – without active communication: Existence and will are identical, both are set as one. Consequently, the negation of will is nonsense, an impossibility; for with this, one would also have to negate one’s own existence – Schopenhauser, nevertheless, wanted to hold on to his existence (which is also still "will") in order to "unhook" will in the enjoyment of music – he wanted to keep the cake and eat it as the same time.

In this, every existence is subjected to a two-fold privation:

– Individually, in case that the highest capability that lies in a kind (or entity) (the realization of the "entelechia" of this kind) will only be incompletely developed in reality;

– Pre-individually, in that every capability is superceded (with the exception of each last and thereby highest capability, at this time the human capability of reason) by a higher capability, so that, from the viepoint of each respective higher capability, all lower capabilities appear as privations.

Existence and being restricted and limited are, however, also identical; for everything that exists exists only due to the fact that it is separated from other existences it is surrounded by. This means that existence can only and exclusively occur as privation, that existence is "a priori" "steresis". If one applies to both statements ("Everything that exists is will", and "everything that exists is/means restriction and limitation") the syllogism of Aristotle, then one arrives at the conclusion: privation equals will. What does this mean? It is the restriction or limitation itself as the will, not in the sense of causality, but rather as identity:

To be restricted and limited and to "want" (in all categorical forms) is the same, these are the two sides of one coin. Existence "for the sake of something" with this confronts, in the basic accpetance of this own existence, both forms of limitation as an individual one (ontogenesis, directed at the "entelechia" of dits own essence) and as a pre-individual one (phylogenesis in the development of the capabilities) and by this it affects the process of development in such a way that it becomes a directed development.

Like every reflected-through capability, reason ultimately also exlcudes freedom of will: what to Plato and Aristotle still appeared as the bliss of freedom, is in reality (and from an "a posteriori" viewpoint) self-created e.v.-enjoyment whtinin reason. This "freedom" of reception in which man believes to be able to stake out the universe anew from his viewpoint and to discover the right mode of behavior in his own "nous" as freedom becomes, after the reflecting-through of reason, an inescapable necessity, just as much of a matter-of-course as the utility of understadning and the inclination of emotion. This necessary fact of its matter-of-course-status is not a categorical imperative, no "petitio principium", such as even in a "duty of love" – rather, it is the independent development of the capability of reason as a "matter of course" (in every sense), which does not admit another possibility. Emotion, understanding and reason "know" their respective equivalents, here, there is no choice, there are only motives. Freedom in the trre sense of the meaning is always only possible in transcendence of the respectively highest attained capability. Therefore, Aristotle may and must go out from the freedom of will; we may and can do so no longer, as far as reaons is concerned…at which point (and finally) we have, once again, arrived at the sacred, in which alone exists freedom of will: to relate to it – or not. Freedom is a question of the e.v. and not of capability.

Ethics and the "Entelechia" of the Essence of Man

The problem of ethics is not its substantiation, not its rules, but it lies in two reasons:

The possibility of its implementation in light of the different categorical developmental stages of humans; its innermost principle, its valence in light of the emptiness of reason as a capability.

As much as the capability of understanding can the capability of reason be compared to a scale: onto the one side one can put the set of facts to be considered or decided on , onto the other side one can put the expected benefit (from the e.v. of understanding or emotion), and one can observe if in the balancing-out of the scale, the expectation of the result of the given situation balances itself out with one’s pre-conceived idea of the benefit that should be expected. What, however, is the benefit of reason beyond its pure justness and beyond its "general use", as far as vital questions are concerned, thus when it concerns not yet determined areas (determined areas can always be detected on the basis of their equivalent capabilities)?

It is very useful to keep slaves (which stilloccurs even today in developing countries where even children have to work under slave-like conditions). Although already the reception of reason with and at the time of the thinkers of sophism led to a rejection of the idea of slavery here and there, the covering-up of reason by the e.v. after the turn of our times also led, for example, (St.) Augustine to consider slavery as God-given and therefore justified. This is an example of how religion can err when man solely relies on his e.v. For, slavery is ethically wrong since it contradicts the respective realization of reason regarding the essential equality of human beings. If a human being uses another human being in this way, he degrades him with respect to his human essence as it shows itself in reason in the essential equality of individuals. Reason thus puts on the scale as its value the "entelechia" of the essence of man as it shows itself to it and as it considers that the coexistence of human beings ought to be arranged. This ought to is not a "petitio principium", not a categorical imperative, but rather merely the detection of a difference: that between that state that reason strives for with its means as the right way of coexistence of humans in the "entelechia" of the essence of man, and the actual form of coexistence at any given time, there exists a significant difference. Thus it is not a demand but rather a weighing judgment, a weighing between "entelechia" and reality. What conclusions should be drawn from this is quite a different question.

The answers of understanding to the questions that concern it are easy due to the fact that they stem from a determined capability and value and, seen from this viewpoint, are not vital. Problems arise, however, out of the necessity of a vital reaction as an "undetermined animal". Everything that is determined knows exactly how it has to behave, only that which is not determined does not have a framework that allows conclusive answers. These "open answers" to vital questions are precisely that which, in the right determination of decisions carried by the e.v. spurn on the development of the essence of man, on the one hand, in the direction of the realization of the "entelechia" of reasonable ethics and, on the otherh and, beyond ethics.

The incommensurability with ethics of the most important questions points toward the fact that asnwers to this can not be given by reason out of itself, but rather that it is, in this, only a mediator of the e.v. Commensurable, thus appropriate for reason are the essential questions that can be decided on the basis of picographic accuracy=equality as "essential" question(s) – this does not apply to vital questions, as these cannot be related back to equality respecively to an essence that has been "determined" by reason.

Ethics is the mode of communication of reason and as such the conquering of the world by reason; religion and corectly understood "first" philosophy are the conquering of the world by the e.v. The mode of the e.v. is vital/internal communication ("love"); the modes of communication of reason, understanding, emotion and instinct are the communication of capabilities, which capabilities develop into the structures of the respective existence and, after e-v.-migration and reflection, form their existence. Realization develops into their own structure, knowledge to foreign or outside structure. Mere knowledge thus leads to man’s alienation from himself, similar to the unreflected emotional conditionings: facticity in the sense of Sartre, the forlornness of "one" as in Heidegger, the not-finding-to-itself of knowledge in form of a lacking reflection. The actual transcendence of the emergence of the self is, however, again something different than the reflecting arrival in reception: the "realization of the possibility", the reaching of the "actuality" is a truly transcending act as the emergence of an originating self on the basis of the e.v., which occurs creatively as a new mode of existence. For the internal suffers from alienation from itself, and this suffering becomes the motor of reflection as well as the cause of transcendence of the latest reached congruence of the ego with itself as a reflected-through entity. The utility principle of understanding is, in various ways, unaware:

  • individually, when utility and use are decided on based on emotional criteria: that which is craved for or rejected by emotion.
  • generally, thus beyond the individual level, insofar as the evaluations of understanding with respect to what is useful or harmful to the individual, are, to a large extent, conditioned traditionally but unconsciously.

In the same way as understanding, in order to dervie some use, has to opt for that which is right for it, does reason have to determine that which is right in order to do the ehtically good. The benefit of reason is, as a value, the good, and the good is that which is right. The conditioning and sanctioning of this "good" causes most human beings to more or less do that which is good which, with this, is in congruence with the benefit (of reason). The re-evaluation is so diametrical that man of understanding., from his vantage point, rightfully must declare man of reason as crazy when the latter expressively declares unselfisnhess as good, since to him, with this, the latter disposes of the only evaluation criterium in himself. that man can actively become aware of. Moreover, understanding "verifies" its "abstractions" of that which is useful to it via emotion, as reason uses understanding for the provision and proof of its abstractions. Against this, man of reason will have to infer that he hears within himself the "voice of conscience" which urges him to act this way: The content of conscience is more or less comprised of the rules and statutes of reason, which beings of reason have developed and confirmed in their process of reception and reflection, as this was formerly the case with understanding and its unfolding of utility. These rules and statutes belong, as far as they have been incorporated into tradition, and thus approach individuals out of it, as much to the treasure of mankind as those of utility.

The Principle of Equal Evaluation of all Interests

The "equal evaluation of all interests" is not an "a priori" statement but rather a "petitio principium" of reason just as every other utopia. For this demand does not realize where the axiom of equality originates, which here, instead of on the equality of indiviudals, the maintaining of which has, in the meantime, bocome untenable, now "only" insists on the equal rank of their interests; this "equality" or "equity" is still, as ever, a demand based on the essence of reason, a "logical axiom" arising out of the contemplation of essence by reason with respect to man, which must follow essentially, for every member of the species, equal opportunities as objectively attainable (even if these can, subjectively, not be reached). An axiom which understanding could not yet know in this form, since to it, above all, the human species consists of separate entitites and for which "equality" lies predominantly in the benefit of its own group, however, based on a hierarchy within the community; here, equality means belonging to a group in the sense of the same kind, and same tribe, but never in the sense of equal right!

Equality of rank is an incorruptable and necessary demand out of the functionality of reason, but, with this always still a demand which must, at the same time, consider the variety of individuals in their individual developmental stages which, in reality often leads to significant inequalities of rights.. Thus capitalsim maintains that it is, in this respect, the best conceivable social system since in its (alleged) "free play" of the forces, every individual would be in a position to develop his essence as far as he/she wants for him/herself. And yet, precisely this capitalism leads to a significant development of contrasts and of inequality, the more "freely" one allows the forces to "play". Since man, in his species, has at his disposal two capabilities, the cooperation of which only forms reality, thus both capabilities contribute, in their own way, to it and to the consideration of it. The ideal aspect of essential equality, on which is based the demand for equal opportunities and equal rank of interests, in this, necessarily comes into conflict with the real inequality of individuals that is perceived by understanding, which approaches the "intelligible character" of man in quite different ways, and this contrast and contradiction becomes even sharper when the capabilities of reason are applied in the service of understanding (and thus for one’s own use), wthout the consideration of the law of essential equality that is prevalent in reason. For reason which is superior to understanding sharpens the imbalance then in a way in which understanding alone would never be in a position to do, since it, in its own way, is connected back to community – which connection back, however, is, as being redundant in its case, not present in reason. Unscupulousness is the term for such a behavior which reason throws oberboard the old links of understanding without, in turn, adhering to the essential connections of reason.

The above-said suggests that one principle on the basis of which all human actions can be aligned cannot exist alone due to the fact that man, whith his moving to ethics, is acting on the basis of two capabilities. The later capability should, nevertheless, "direct" the older one; whenever it, however, acts as the only one in effect, it does so in double disregard of the fact(s)

  • that it is not the only capability of man;
  • that most humans cannot even reach the capability of reason (contrary to Kant: this is not due to man’s own doing, rather is it a faultless incapability),and with this, failure and abuse are pre-programmed.

Should there, thus,exist a simple principle which ethics can be traced back to, then this cannot be solely gained out of the function of reason as contemplation of the essence (the mistake that Kant also made although he knew that reason only exists to derive the general from the specific – with which it, however, cannot build and found any own evaluation critieria!) – and reason did, indeed, not do that. Rather, in an attempt at the creation of its own principle, it applied its function of generalization to the principle of understanding, utility – and thus utility for the individual or group developed the general benefit of the principle of ethics – the categorical imperative, "in nuce". With this, reason, first of all, lost its purity and virginity in this marriage out of necessity, and, secondly, in this fashion, the problem of the ethical basic principle cannot be brought to a standstill: the "good" of utility is another "value" than that of reason. The qualitative change in the establishment of values can not be halted in this manner, for one would thus again arrive at empirism and positivism, subjectivism and relativism. What has been lacking so far is a blending of the systems of understanding and reason in the way in which understanding and emotion are cooperating within us: while reason, since Aristotle, is evaluating its results based on understanding (first and second substance), as well as understanding undoubtedly manages in consulting emotion for the evaluation of utility; what is missing, however, is the "matter-of-course" cooperation as it is prevalent between emotion and understanding ever since and because reason exists. The duality between feeling and thinking does not exactly mean a contradiction between feeling and understanding (how should it: feeling is, after all, emotion that is translated into understanding), rather, this refers to the contradiction between reason and an understanding which reassures itself by referring back to emotion! Understanding and feeling have since developed into such unity that hardly anyone notices the difference between them, so that both form the opposite of reason.

Only the emergence of a new, superior capability can, in each case, notice the cooperation of the subordinate capabilities. With this is to be expected that a similar matter-of-course cooperation as such as that between understanding and emotion will only then become possible between reason and understanding when a further capability opens itself up in man respectively beyond man, with which the type of the second category will thus be determined. Thus, a principle has to be found that supercedes understanding and reason. This will, however, only have a chance of happening when the "Ulysses of reason" passes reason by", or in other words, when a new inhibition, as an opening of a further vertical neuronal layer, supercedes reason as a new capability. The principle of reason of the (essential) equality of individuals leads, unfortunately, also every often to the concept of putting a taboo on the idea of the differences (in individuals), obviously since one goes out from the premise that the constating of these differences will lead to their abuse and to a consciously inequal treatment. In doing so, however, the knowledge of understanding is covered up in the wrong way and the necessarily following consequences which we have to observe in and as reality, that there are, obviously, differences between individuals as well as between races, out of which, whether we want this or not, whether we approve of it or not, factually alone has to form itself a certain set of ranks in communicating reality. When reason, out of its own bad conscience, namely based on its own abuse, closes its eyes here before the knowledge of it own understanding, then the inequalities will, neverhteless, collide behind the veil of an alleged euality and, due to this official invisibility, strengthen inequality even more.

From this can also be concluded that a principle of ehtics, solely based on reason, has to be fallacious when it does not include the grown reality of emotion and understanding. At the same time, the principles of "general utility" as a mere abstraction of the utility of understanding, is not suitable, since it does not take into consideration the qualitative leap from understanding to reason. The interpretation of values by the e.v. of reason is something different than a mere "broadening" of the utility of reason: It is at first, and rightfully, idealistic. The failure of idealism in reality still does not make any statement as to the value of the ideal. Rather, this failure only states this much that also already in idealsim, reason alone has, wrongly, established itself as the only evaluation criterium. To throw idealism overboard for that reason would mean to unnecessarily throw the baby out with the bathwater. Rather, the idealsim of reason has to be combined with the realism of understanding while, however, the vital setting of evaluation criteria has to be guided by reason and has to be determined out of its e.v. connectedness. What is to the e.v. of understanding the enjoyment of existence, is to the e.v. of reason the love of the essential. Reason does not only face a function as a cpability of abstraction, rather, above all, it has a vital task in the elevation of communication as an existence that behaves essentially to each other. To be good" in the meaning of reason is to bring forth the "entelechia" of the essence of existence, to transform into reality the "Intelligible" character: to turn into the basis of reality the ehtical standards of reason. the matter-of-course existence of ethics as an outlook has to supercede the will of understanding for utility as much as it supercedes the cravings of emotion, without, however, abandoning them.

Since, naturally, few human beings will, at any time, be capable of a true ethical outlook, the adherence to the rules has to be secured, in such a manner as understanding did this with its rules towards individual emotions which did not want to bend to the utility and benefit of the community respectively of the leading group. Already Luther had to make this very experience who, at first, contended that it would suffice if every indiviudal could learn the word of God himself – the reason for which he translated the bible into German. Very soon, however, he became aware of his blue-eyed idealsim and revised his opinion of man to that end that only few would be able to be "good" in a religious sense "on their own account" and that the remaining "majority" would have to ge "guided" by laws and threat of punishment, for which reason and purpose he subsequently formed an alliance with the territorial rulers.

(1) Kant's works, Akademie-Ausgabe, Volume III. (2nd Edition), Page 427, "Die Vernunft hat ... nur den Verstand und dessen zweckmaessige Anstellung zum Gegenstand."

Translation by Ingrid Sabharwal-Schwaegermann
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