Saturday, 4 May 2013

Is it possible to do good things for bad reasons? Not for long...

*

Much of modern life is predicated on the assumption that it is possible, indeed usual, to do good things for bad reasons; that motivations are detachable from actions.

And, of course, in a short term and restricted sense the two are indeed separable.

*

For example, it is routinely assumed that health services, environmental preservation, feeding the malnourished... these kinds of things are assumed to be good in themselves, and worth doing without respect to motivation - most people would assert that it is more important that such things actually be done, than it is to focus on the motivations for doing them.

Because of this assumption that action and motivation are separable, we get government agencies that supposedly "do good" funded by coercive confiscation of resources; and also NGOs, charities, voluntary groups who are devoted to these 'good works' without reference to any motivation for these good works - or at least this is their official stance...

*

Modernity is about the specialization of works, in detachment from faith.

*

In practice, what is found is that individuals or groups which purport to do good works without motivation soon end up not doing good work at all - but being selfish (at many levels) while gaming a set of rules.

What is found is that, over the medium- to long-term, faith determines works.

And lack of faith generates indifference to the actual outcomes of works. 

*

Government agencies or charities set-up without faith and purportedly to alleviate poverty/ protect the environment/ pursue 'justice' without regard to larger motivation; instead create and sustain poverty/ destroy the environment/ implement systematic injustice while consuming their allocated resources in selfishness.

*

In practice, the necessity, the inevitability, of motivation means that it cannot be dispensed with - either by individuals or by groups - but faith either returns by another route, or else lack of faith generates an indifference to the actuality of works.

*