Page:Reason in Common Sense (1920).djvu/246

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


but, if the will and the environment are constant, satisfaction will necessarily be felt in achieving the object desired. A rejection of hedonistic psychology, therefore, by no means involves any opposition to eudaemonism in ethics. Eudaemonism is another name for wisdom: there is no other moral morality. Any system that, for some sinister reason, should absolve itself from good-will toward all creatures, and make it somehow a duty to secure their misery, would be clearly disloyal to reason, humanity, and justice. Nor would it be hard, in that case, to point out what superstition, what fantastic obsession, or what private fury, had made those persons blind to prudence and kindness in so plain a matter. Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment. The question, however, what happiness shall consist in, its complexion if it should once arise, can only be determined by reference to natural demands and capacities; so that while satisfaction by the attainment of ends can alone justify their pursuit, this pursuit itself must exist first and be spontaneous, thereby fixing the goals of endeavour and distinguishing the states in which satisfaction might be found. Natural disposition, therefore, is the principle of preference and makes morality and happiness possible.

The standard of value, like every standard, must be one. Pleasures and pains are not only infinitely diverse but, even if