There are a number of philosophical questions that have been around for centuries and will continue to be questions forever; among the most prevalent is ‘do the ends justify the means?’ In todays society, the question of “is the process more important than the product,” has been posed and basically is the same question. The ends do not always justify the means in my opinion, but it is an appropriate question to ask in all situations.
Machiavelli was definitely a ‘forward thinker,’ so to speak and addressed issues that were ahead of his time; he posed questions that we still pose today. This question, do the ends justify the means, may never be answered in black and white because I think it is subjective and open to interpretation. I will use examples to state my viewpoint and my answer to this question.
Let’s say one student gets an A on a test by studying hard and reviewing the material for hours and another sits next to him and also gets an A but copied the first students answers for the whole test. This is unrealistic, but does getting the A on the test justify the means by which the second student got the A?
I think Machiavelli would say no and I’m sure many would agree with him. However, I would say that even those who cheat on tests’ would say it is wrong initially. I can’t think of many cases when the result justifies the means; think about it. The process by which something is achieved is ever bit as, if not more important than the actual achievement itself.
Today, many describe the process as ‘the journey.’ My journey back to life has been an incredible ride. Although I would not like to go through it again, it has been a hell of a journey. I did my best to do things the right way: work hard, be humble, be thankful, and always have integrity. I still have a long way to go, but I don’t think people would respect me the way they do if I cheated my way back to health. That probably sounds extremely arrogant and conceited, but “people will always buy the person before they buy the product.”
I don’t mean to always mention my journey and know I mentioned this premise in an earlier post, but I think Machiavelli would agree that, “what you do is not as important as how you do it.” There is a level of respect one must have for whatever he is doing because if you respect something enough, you will do it the right way.