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UN Global Compact Russia

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Dmitry Likhachev. The saying “the end justifies the means” is destructive and immoral

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In the material world, a large one does not fit in a small one. In the realm of spiritual values, it is not so: much more can fit in the small, and if one tries to fit the small in the large, then the large simply ceases to exist. If a person has a great goal, then it should be manifested in everything - in the seemingly insignificant. You have to be honest in the unobtrusive and casual, then you will only be honest and in fulfilling your big duty. A big goal encompasses the whole person, affects every act of his, and one should not think that a good goal can be achieved by bad means.

The saying “the end justifies the means” is disastrous and immoral. This was well shown by Dostoevsky in Crime and Punishment. The goal is far and unattainable, and the crime is real; it is terrible and can never be justified. To aim for a high goal with low means is impossible. You have to be equally honest in both big and small.

And what is the biggest goal of life? I think: to increase the good in our surroundings. And good is first of all the happiness of all people. It is made up of many things, and each time life sets a task before a person that is important to be able to solve. It is possible to do good to a person in trifles, it is possible to think about big things, but small things and big things cannot be separated. Much begins with little things, born in childhood and in the near.

And what is the biggest goal of life? I think: to increase the good in our surroundings. And good is first of all the happiness of all people. It is made up of many things, and each time life sets a task before a person that is important to be able to solve. It is possible to do good to a person in trifles, it is possible to think about big things, but small things and big things cannot be separated. Much begins with little things, born in childhood and in the near.

The big goal of good begins with a small one - with the desire for good to your loved ones, but expanding, it captures an ever wider range of issues. It is like circles on the water. But the circles on the water, expanding, are becoming weaker. But love and friendship, growing and spreading to many things, acquire new powers, become ever higher, and the person, their center, is wiser.

When a person consciously or intuitively chooses some purpose in life, a life task, at the same time he involuntarily gives himself an assessment. According to what a person lives for, one can judge about his self-esteem - low or high. If a person sets himself the task of acquiring all the elementary material goods, he evaluates himself at the level of these material goods: as the owner of the latest brand car, as the owner of a luxury cottage, as part of his furniture set ... If a person lives to bring people good, facilitate them suffering from disease, giving people joy, he assesses himself at the level of this humanity. He sets himself a goal worthy of man.

Only a vital goal allows a person to live his life with dignity and get real joy. Yes, joy! Think about it: if a person sets himself the task of increasing good in life, bringing happiness to people, what kind of failures can he comprehend? The main task in life must necessarily be a wider task than the personal one; it should not be closed only on one’s own successes and failures. It must be dictated by kindness to people, love for the family, for your city, for your people, country, for the whole universe.

Morality is highly peculiar a sense of compassion. In compassion, there is the consciousness of one’s unity with humanity and the world (not only people, nations, but also animals, plants, nature, etc.). The feeling of compassion (or something close to him) makes us fight for cultural monuments, for their preservation, for nature, for some landscapes, for respect for memory. In compassion there is the consciousness of one’s unity with other people, with a nation, a people, a country, a universe. That is why the forgotten concept of compassion requires its full revival and development.

A surprisingly correct thought: "A small step for a man, a big step for humanity." Thousands of examples can be cited: being good to one person costs nothing, but it is incredibly difficult for humanity to become good. It is impossible to correct humanity, it is easy to correct yourself. To feed a child, to lead an old man across the street, to give way to a tram, to work well, to be polite and courteous ... and so on and so forth — everything is just for a person, but it is incredibly difficult for everyone at once. That's why you need to start with yourself.

Good can not be stupid. A good deed is never stupid, for it is disinterested and does not pursue the goal of profit and "smart result." To call a good deed “stupid” is possible only when it clearly could not reach the goal or was “false good”, mistakenly good, that is, not good. I repeat, a truly good deed can not be stupid, it is beyond assessments from the point of view of the mind or not the mind. So good and good.

The best behavior is that which is determined not by external recommendations, but by spiritual necessity. Mental need is - it is perhaps especially good when it is unaccountable. You must do the right thing without thinking, without thinking for a long time. An unaccountable spiritual need to do well, to do good to people is the most valuable thing in a person. But this spiritual need is not always inherent in man from birth. She is brought up in a person and brought up mainly by himself - his determination to live truthfully, kindly. We learn to ride a bike and first follow certain simple advice of friends: turn the steering wheel in the direction in which you fall. And soon we drive, without thinking about any rules, and we drive well and freely all our lives.

What is the most important thing in life? The main thing may be in the shades of each their own, unique. But the main thing should be every person. Life should not crumble into trifles, dissolve into everyday worries. And also, the most essential thing: the main thing, no matter how individual each person is, should be kind and significant.

A person should be able not only to rise, but to rise above himself, over his personal daily worries and think about the meaning of his life - look at the past and look into the future. If you live only for yourself, with your petty concerns about your own well-being, then there will be no trace of the past. If you live for others, then others will save what they served, what they gave them strength.

In life, you must have your ministry - the ministry to some business. Let this business be small, it will become large if you are faithful to it. In life, kindness is most valuable, and at the same time kindness is clever, purposeful. Clever kindness is the most valuable thing in a person, which is the most to him and most ultimately true along the path to personal happiness. Happiness is achieved by one who seeks to make others happy and is able to forget about his own interests, even for a while. This is the "unchangeable ruble." To know this, to remember this always and to follow the paths of kindness is very, very important. Believe me!

Source: Letters of Good and Beautiful / Comp. and general ed. G. A. Dubrovskaya. - Ed. 3rd - M .: Det. lit., 1989.

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