It rained last night. And none of us wore rain boots though one of us thought to wear them and decided on Chacos instead and we all wore rain coats. So it poured when we got on the train. We headed out of shelter, so the rain came down harder.
We gave up hope of having nice-looking hair when we arrived. It wasn’t about the hair. It was about the ice cream. (and our hair really did look just fine)
This is where Kant might meet Friday night adventures. If you go out on a Friday night with your housemates for ice cream in exotic flavors (like pairing root beer and salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks in one cup), you are going for the sake of going. The ice cream is an end in itself, so what you look like doesn’t matter. You are not going to look good or impress anyone. If you are going to look good and impress people, then your morality is impaired, and you are getting ice cream as a means to an end and not as a means in itself. The ice cream is simply a mechanism by which you make yourself look good. Ice cream deserves better people in its company.
So maybe that last sentence goes a bit far, but I think Kant would agree that it wasn’t about how we looked or how wet our exposed feet got. It was about the ice cream and about the time spent out of the house together. It was also about the surprise $6 jeans two of the housemates found on the clearance rack near the ice cream.
The ice cream was an end in itself.
That application might not be spot on, but the experiment is good. Can one make a connection to Kant while getting ice cream? Can one talk about Kant to the same people with whom one would get ice cream – maybe without them even knowing it’s Kant they’re talking about and maybe without them getting bored and wondering if you’re looney?
Moral of the story is that Kant says that people are ends in themselves and never means, and I think that ice cream deserves the same treatment.