Kant’s philosophical adventure to establish the supreme principle of morality has definitely got me thinking. Before reading Grounding, the words “moral” and “good will” were thrown around, not completely understanding the exact definitions. It was mind opening to understand his perspective into how he thinks one’s happiness shouldn’t always be on the top of our priority list. “The same holds with gifts of fortune; power, riches, honor, even health, and that complete well-being and contentment with one’s condition which is called happiness make for pride and often hereby even arrogance, unless there is a good will to correct their influence on the mind” (7). This quote reflects so much reality within our world with rich and powerful people being selfishly conceited which forms the famous quote “money doesn’t buy you happiness”.
Kant believes that we are all born with reason and that human beings should be capable of knowing what is moral (right) a priori “…we find that the more a cultivated reason devotes itself to the aim of enjoying life and happiness, the further does man get away from true contentment” (8). Here Kant explains simply that humans are too busy seeking pleasure in their lives that they forget about our actual purpose in life, to be moral. Which then leads to “…they in fact only brought more trouble on their heads than they have gained in happiness” (9). From what I take out of this is one that we all have felt at least once in our lives and that is jealousy. Once our inclinations get the best of us if forms into other inclinations. Jealousy turns to foolishness, which can then yield us to lie about things, which goes against our duty according to Kant. “…that he should promote his happiness not from inclination but from duty, and thereby for the first time does his conduct have real moral worth” (12). Kant speaks about your actions being solely from duty without any inclinations, which then leads you to having genuine moral worth. In my career path working in the hospitality field I can relate with Kant’s thinking “To be beneficent where one can is a duty; and besides this, there are many persons who are so sympathetically constituted that, without any further motive of vanity or self-interest, they find an inner pleasure in spreading joy around them and can rejoice in the satisfaction of others as their own work” (11). I help many guests where I work and it really, truly makes me feel happy to know that they are happy. We all love we people are generous to us but think about who those people are doing the generous acts. They don’t do it for fun; they do it because they like to help others and see others happy. That can generate moral worth and help people learn to pay it forward.
Kant’s main point of his book, the categorical imperative “I should never act except in such a way that I can also will that my maxim should become a universal law” (14). I think this quote goes along with “treat others the way you wish to be treated” or “act as you wish others should to act” because he means that you should never do something and then turn around and say no one else can do that. This is one of my favorite quotes from Kant because if we all followed it the world