Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'animals'.
Found 2 results
One problem with Objectivism is its focus on man qua mature adult, while mostly ignoring man qua immature child. Man's life, as a standard of value, includes both forms at different stages of his development, in addition to a transitional period in between forms. Our view of man and his values therefore needs some refinement and clarification. It seems like a general fact that animals change forms at least once throughout their lives. Sometimes the change is major or complete, as in a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Sometimes it's minor or simple, as in a baby chick growing up and becoming a hen or rooster. Even plants have an immature (not flowering) and mature (flowering) form. And along with these changes in forms we see changes in functions. For example, it seems that some amount of metamorphosis is necessary for nature to turn a non-reproductive organism into a reproductive one. This functional quality, in addition to physical appearance, is typically how we differentiate the immature from the mature members of various species. When an organism's form changes, its function necessarily changes too, because its function is essentially its form undergoing a process of self-sustaining action. The function of an immature organism, however, is not self-sustaining qua remaining an immature organism. It's self-sustaining qua growing into a mature organism. An immature organism's life process is thus not an end in itself. Its end is its future, mature life process, which it must achieve by growing and completing its particular type of metamorphosis. Because of an organism's change in form-function, the essential nature of its life changes. And because this essential nature changes, the organism's values must also change accordingly. An immature, non-reproductive plant or animal simply does not have the same values as a mature, reproductive one. One requires values in order to grow and develop into its mature self. The other requires values to sustain maturity and create reproductive material. The metamorphosis of man is not as radical as that of the caterpillar. And it probably sounds strange referring to puberty as a type of metamorphosis. But, in addition to more minor physical differences, our form does change in at least one very essential way. Indeed, we become producers of eggs and sperm for sexual reproduction. In this way, our maturation process changes our form-function just like similar maturation processes do for the lower organisms. And because of our advanced consciousness, we are capable of self-awareness and concept-formation. We therefore can identify and name our own form-function and refer to it as our life. In developing our ethics, though, we should maintain this context of our different lives as immature children and mature adults. For our standard of value must also change, in harmony with the change to our form-function.