ESSAY V
MY STATION AND ITS DUTIES

WE have traversed by this time, however cursorily, a considerable field, and so far it might appear without any issue, or at best with a merely negative result. Certainly, in our anticipatory remarks (Essay II), we thought we found some answer to the question, What is the end? But that answer was too abstract to stand by itself. And, if we may be said to know thus much, that the end is self-realization, yet at present we do not seem to have learnt anything about the self to be realized. And the detail of Essays II and III appears at most to have given us some knowledge of that which self-realization is not.

We have learnt that the self to be realized is not the self as this or that feeling, or as any series of the particular feelings of our own or others' streams or trains of consciousness. It is, in short, not the self to be pleased.1 The greatest sum of units of pleasure we found to be the idea of a mere collection, whereas, if we wanted morality, it was something like a universal that we wanted. Happiness, as the effort to construct that universal by the addition of particulars, gave us a futile and bastard product, which carried its self-destruction within it, in the continual assertion of its own universality, together with its unceasing actual particularity and finitude; so that happiness was, if we chose, nowhere not realized; or again, if we chose, not anywhere realizable. And, passing then to the opposite pole, to the universal as the negative of the particulars, to the supposed pure will or duty for duty's sake, we found that too was an unreal conception. It was a mere form which, to be will, must give itself a content, and which could give itself a content only at the cost of a self-contradiction: we saw, further, that any such content was in addition arbitrarily

____________________
1
[For this refer back. We might better have said,
'not the mere feeling self of this or that moment, or of a number of such moments'
.]

-160-

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Ethical Studies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface to the Second Edition v
  • Author's Preface to the First Edition viii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Essay II Why Should I Be Moral? 58
  • Essay III Pleasure for Pleasure's Sake 85
  • Essay IV Duty for Duty's Sake 142
  • Essay V My Station and Its Duties 160
  • Essay VI Ideal Morality 214
  • Essay VII Selfishness and Self-Sacrifice 251
  • Concluding Remarks 313
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