>Means Made Into Ends

>One of the vulgar disorders of mankind is to make ends into means, and means into ends. What was meant to be something passing people make into something lasting, and they sit down to rest in the middle of the road. They begin where they should end, and end at the beginning.

Wise Nature, in her foresight, introduced pleasure as a medium in all of life’s operations, and as a relief from its most bothersome functions. She planned wisely, to ease us through whatever is painful. But here is where man comes undone. More brutish than any animal, he makes pleasure into an end and life into a means of getting there.

He no longer eats to live, but lives to eat; does not rest in order to work, but skips work in order to sleep. Doesn’t propagate the species, but only his lust. Doesn’t study to know himself, but in order not to. Speaks not from necessity, but only to gossip. Doesn’t enjoy his life, but lives for enjoyment. And thus all vices have made pleasure their chieftain. Pleasure: beadle of appetite, forerunner of whimsy, quartermaster of the emotions, dragging people along behind him, tossing each one a scrap of what he most delights in.

-Baltasar Gracian