Thursday, November 5, 2020
We do not blame nature when she sends a thunderstorm and makes us wet: why then do we term the man who inflicts injury immoral? Because in the latter case we assume a voluntary, ruling, free will, and in the former necessity. But this distinction is a delusion. Moreover, even the intentional infliction of injury is not, in all circumstances termed immoral. Thus, we kill a fly intentionally without thinking very much about it, simply because its buzzing about is disagreeable; and we punish a criminal and inflict pain upon him in order to protect ourselves and society. In the first case it is the individual who, for the sake of preserving himself or in order to spare himself pain, does injury with design: in the second case, it is the state. All ethic deems intentional infliction of injury justified by necessity; that is when it is a matter of self-preservation. But these two points of view are sufficient to explain all bad acts done by man to men. It is desired to obtain pleasure or avoid pain. In any sense, it is a question, always, of self-preservation. Socrates and Plato are right: whatever man does he always does right: that is, does what seems to him good (advantageous) according to the degree of advancement his intellect has attained, which is always the measure of his rational capacity.