CONCERNING THE APPLICATION OF MAN'S PSYCHIC FACULTIES TOWARDS THE ATTAINMENT OF A SINGLE GOAL
As we have explained in the preceding chapter, it is the duty of man to subordinate all the faculties of his soul to his reason. He must keep his mind's eye fixed constantly upon one goal, namely, the attainment of the knowledge of God (may He be blessed!), as far as it is possible for mortal man to know Him. Consequently, one must so adjust all his actions, his whole conduct, and even his very words, that they lead to this goal, in order that none of his deeds be aimless, and thus retard the attainment of that end. So, his only design in eating, drinking, cohabiting, sleeping, waking, moving about, and resting should be the preservation of bodily health, while, in turn, the reason for the latter is that the soul and its agencies may be in sound and perfect condition, so that he may readily acquire wisdom, and gain moral and intellectual virtues, all to the end that man may reach the highest goal of his endeavors.
Accordingly, man will not direct his attention merely to obtain bodily enjoyment, choosing of food and drink and the other things of life only the agreeable, but he will seek out the most useful, being indifferent whether it be agreeable or not. There are, indeed, times when the agreeable may be
- For a discussion of the contents of this chapter, see Jaraczewski, ZPhKr, XLVI, pp. 2—13, and Rosin, Ethik, p. 105 ff.
- Cf. Ibn Daud, Emunah Ramah, III, and Moreh, III, 51. See I. Friedlaender, Der Stil des Maimonides, in Moses b. Maimon, I, p. 430.