Progression of the First Maxim (Heart- 1.1.29)

Journey of the Heart – Day 29
©Susan Billmaier for susanwithpearls

Guiding Thought

Gratitude strikes our hearts like a bell, resounding love through our being. Gratitude opens our hearts to Love’s purity, our very own essence! We experience such deep gratitude for our hearts, our essence, our ALL of Life!

-Play the Guiding Thought here (loops automatically).
Journey of the Heart audio created by Brad Vanlandingham for Susanwithpearls-


What are the highest thoughts you can think today? Right now, this minute?

When you think high thoughts, can you have a corresponding creative/imaginative picture of how to live and act those thoughts? Can you access a creative/imaginative picture of what the world would be like if everyone lived and acted from your highest thoughts? Or their highest thoughts?

These types of questions take Kant’s first maxim of the categorical imperative one step further.

The first maxim is this: Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

Here is what that means: Whatever action you are taking, or wanting to take, imagine that everyone in the world (this is the “universal law” part) behaved the same way. If everyone behaves that way, is the world a better place…or not?

If your actions can be universalized, improving life conditions for everyone in the world without harm, then by the first maxim the action is moral and “right”.

  • Do I have one more drink before I hit the road? What if everyone right now did this? Probably not the best turn out.
  • Getting home from a bad day at work, I yell at my spouse and child, alienating them and disrupting the family’s time together. What if everyone did this?
  • I feel empty inside. I eat a quart of ice cream. What if everyone filled emotional needs this way.

The thing is, with these examples, the situations are common enough even now that in the United States, they are familiar if not acceptable. But they are so familiar because people do not universalize the maxim. They think of immediate self-need and don’t think about the effects their actions have on people around them, much less the larger world.

If more people followed the simple line of questioning in the first maxim before they acted, the world would change overnight.

So, maybe the world isn’t ready yet to take Kant one step further to imagine the highest thoughts and actions and universalize those. We are still making our way through mind mud of everyday stress, relationships, and activities.

But it’s something to strive for, dontcha think?


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