Ends and means are easy to confuse.
I never really quite understood the problem with “the ends justify the means.”
It’s something you talk about in high school.
It’s generally frowned up to accept that any ends is justified by any means.
But I was never one to go along with how we were “supposed” to think about things.
Our teacher would say, “suppose you have an end to get money. Does robbing a bank justify getting money? No, it does not, therefore, the end doesn’t always justify the means.”
I would always argue.
I would say that the “end” was poorly defined.
That having a well defined end is justified by any means.
In the above example, you just re-define your “end” as “legally getting money.”
Of course, I was never one for blindly obeying authority.
When you tell somebody that the ends doesn’t always justify the means, it also presupposes that there is some entity that is capable of which “means” are acceptable, and which are unacceptable.
Even in my high school days, I was arguing against authority any way I could.
My idea then, and my idea now is that if you create a well enough defined end, which precludes any immoral, unethical or otherwise negative behavior, then any means you use is perfectly fine.
And perfectly justified.
In fact, you might say our entire lives are based around satisfying our never ending “ends” with as simple and effective “means” as possible.
But people who like having any authority will sneak that authority in any way they can.
And unless you know how to linguistically stand your ground, it’s very easy to get taken advantage of.
Humans are goal setting machines.
We cannot NOT set goals.
Most of the time, these are unconscious and automatic.
Getting up to use the toilet.
Getting something to eat.
Talking to friends.
But that inner structure is always there. And it happens hundreds of times a day.
You feel a desire, and you satisfy that desire.
This is why people LOVE taking advantage of others.
They can very carefully and covertly take over your natural goal setting ability.
So you’re not getting outcomes for YOU, you’re getting them for them.
Usually this is fine.
This is the conscious and unconscious “tit for tat” that makes relationships work.
They become a problem when one person is benefiting at the expense of somebody else.
You don’t need to get defensive.
You don’t even need to be assertive.
Just learn how to ask some very simple questions.
Questions that will force them to rethink their strategy.