Kant specifically says that people shouldn’t be treated as objects because they are human beings with feelings. We have to respect each other in every way possible in order to ensure that everybody is happy. I liked this about Kant because in today’s day everybody knows about respect. In order for someone to respect you, you need to show them respect in order to get along with each other. In today’s day some people don’t care about others while some people do and would do anything to get anything their way. An example is a show called “Dexter” where he cares for his sister and respects her even when the sister admitted into falling in love with him. Dexter never disrespected her in anyway and still loved her as a sister but he did think it was weird that his sister was in love with him. The moral of the story is that at the end he loved her as a sister but he doesn’t disrespect her in anyway.
Kant believes that people are not objects; that human beings must be respected and not used. The only circumstance in which one would “use” someone else is if we do not use that person as a means to our end. If we “use” someone, we must respect them in the process considering more than just our own self interests. I found this concept interesting because I agree that human beings should not be treated as objects. Innately, however, I think some people are better as others. I feel that some people take others feelings into consideration, while others have no issue pursuing what they want at the expense of others.
A modern example is a Netflix show called “You.” In season 2 of the show, 2 people pursue love and will do anything to get the person they want. Although they genuinely believe they are acting out of love for someone else, at the end of the day, they perform extreme actions to get what they want.
Kant believes that happiness is the satisfaction of all desires. And, virtue is the capacity to act morally. Also, reason (and duty) has priority over desires. Finally, highest good subordinates happiness to virtue.
I believe it is true that happiness is the satisfaction of all desires. I believe once a person has their desires fulfilled, they are still not happy. Because most people desire for more. I love this song by J. Cole because he talks about happiness and desires. He talks in the song how there is always going to be a better car, a bigger house, and better things. But, a person can’t be happy until they appreciate the things they have and the relationships they have formed.
I don’t think people are born with good moral standards. I think they formed by the environment people grow up in. I think good moral standards are just as important as happiness. Good moral standards enable you to maintain relationships with others. Good moral standards means a person wouldn’t wrong another person, which would help others have more trust in that person. More trust would result in a better relationship which would result in more happiness.
Side note: I think if someone feels that they are not enlightened. I think this is not because they are lazy, instead I think this is the case because they are not distracted. They haven’t taken the time to step away from all the distractions and think.
A concept redefined through Kant’s literature is the notion of love, and how his conception of duty and knowledge of Christian scripture informs his consideration towards love. According to Kant, love is regarded as a good will for others that is validated through one’s own acts as opposed to emotional indicators. Additionally, love is understood as some charity from “duty”, another charged word within Kant’s rhetoric which can be defined as one’s actions which are motivated by some good will rather than by some desire for a consequence of fulfilling one’s duty.
The reason for my fascination with Kant’s interpretation of love is because of its spiritual complexity as well as its reflection of the effort to appropriate an objective, scientific framework to a subjective realm like love.
Aside from obviously referencing the bible at the beginning of his description of love, Kant further illustrates how love ought not to be regarded as a mere emotion, but as a spiritual experience. With regards to the Christian implications contained within Kant’s work, I look to his use of the word “beneficence” when describing love as a “beneficence” of duty. This word is often synonymous to charity, which reveals a clear connection to the book of Corinthians, where love is understood as “agape”, a word for love that also denotes the meaning of charity. With this understanding, a contradiction from Enlightenment tendencies is revealed: despite a general aberration from the spiritual, Kant is both explicit and referential about and to Christian scriptures, incorporating a spiritual understanding to love.
When assessing how well Kant’s definition of love lines up to Enlightenment ideals, a simultaneous tension and attempted reconciliation can be recognized in his attempts to make love an enlightened experience. First, the tension is revealed in the inherent incompatibility between spirituality and the rationalist framework which pervades the Enlightenment era. Secondly, and more importantly, the reconciliation can be found within the facets that Kant attaches to love as a means to establish its place within Enlightenment sentiments. This is apparent in Kant’s description of how love behaves: “it lies in the will and not in the propensity of feeling, in principles of action and not in melting sympathy; it not alone can be commanded” (Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, pg. 55). This passage reveals a connection between Enlightenment ideology and love due to way in which love is equated to observable data: Kant claims that love must be realized through willful action as opposed to a consequence of emotional vehement that often exists outside of complete, human control. By presenting love as an activity which must be observable and free from the irrationalities of emotional whims, Kant exhibits an effort to make love a force which complements Enlightenment ideals of controlled, empirical observation.
From my perspective, no form of media better express a successful union of love and science than music. My justification for choosing music is its balanced quality of simulating a dynamic experience within the rigid confines of musical notation. In attempting to quantify the complexity of human emotion through the construction of organized sound, music becomes instrumental in identifying a middle ground for emotions–like love–and science. In specific, I will be assessing Leo Delibes’ opera Lakmé, specifically the song “Viens, Mallika”, which is more popularly known as “The Flower Duet”. For contextualization, “Viens, Mallika” was written for two characters, Lakmé and Mallika, who express their filial love for each other as they revel in the beauty of the edenic environment surrounding them.
This love song, when considered under a Kantian lens, reveals how the confluence of Enlightenment thought with the subjective arena of musical experience produces a nexus of art that justifies the compatibility of love with science. While expressed through music, which is up to subjective interpretation, the performance itself is grounded by the presence of the sheet music: a compendium of harmonies, notes, and keys which contribute to an organized “language” of music. In this way, the representation of love becomes realized through music, acting as an intermediary, which is methodically grounded by a logical, arbitrary–and therefore scientific–symbology. Furthermore, being able to perceive two characters emote their love for each other, if one is willing to suspend their disbelief, shows another point of application for this song to Kant’s philosophy: in actually seeing people act on their love through song, the Enlightenment ideal of observability is acknowledge and fulfilled. By utilizing a Kantian lens to assess the Delibes’ Lakmé, an opera which explores themes of romantic and platonic affection, we see how music can become a vessel for love to inhabit so it may be re-evaluated through a more scientific framework.