The“Other Bird” text explores the theory of wisdom and the manner inwhich human beings acquire it. It underlines the fact that knowledgeand understanding cannot be attained by reading volumes of books.Indeed, the text notes that books never satisfy human being’sdesire for knowledge, which is why individuals torment themselveswondering what books they would take and how many. It is well notedthat the present generation is not wiser than the previous onessimply as a result of reading more books. Indeed, the epitome ofknowledge is the acknowledgement of the existence of “twobirds in the tree of life”,one that is eating while the other watches. Further, the completedeficiency of the capacity to watch must be seen as an acquireddeficit rather than a genetic inheritance or character trait. It is adeficiency of something that should be there in the territory that iscalled “human”.
Whilethe text incorporates a web of complicated or sophisticatedphilosophical musings, the analogy of the “other bird” can beexplained using philosophical ethical theories includingutilitarianism and Kantian duty ethics. Utilitarianism refers to anormative ethical theory that allows for the determination of rightand wrong by focusing solely on the consequences or outcomes ofselecting a particular action or policy over others (Hinman45). Consequentialism is founded on the notion that any action wouldbe deemed morally appropriate if its consequences or outcomes aremore favorable than unfavorable. This means that moral choices shouldonly be based on the cost-benefit analysis where the bad and goodconsequences or outcomes are tallied so as to examine the one thatoutweighs the other. Of particular note, in this case, is the factthat it goes beyond the scope of an individual’s own interests andconsiders the interests of other people. According to the Principleof utility, pleasure and pain play a fundamental role in the lives ofhuman beings (Hinman56). In essence, the actions of any individual would be approved ordisapproved simply based on the amount of pleasure and pain that itcauses. Good is equal to pleasure, while evil is equal to pain. Inmeasuring pain and pleasure, it is imperative that one examines thenearness, certainty, duration and intensity, as well as extent todetermine how an individual would be affected (Hinman 58).
Kantianethics, on the other hand, is based on the assumption that ethicshave their first task as determining what individuals are obligatedto do. Also called deontological or duty oriented ethics, the theorystates that a particular course of action would be good simplybecause it is divinely commanded. This theory is aimed at determininghow a command takes on a moral aspect with an especially obligatingcharacter (Wood34). Of particular note is the fact that deontological notionsexplores the requirements of justice, who has “ rights”, as wellas what an individual’s duty is. In essence, it dwells on thequestion of what is wrong or right, irrespective of the consequences,thereby taking individuals beyond the things that they would regretor admire or even prefer. This means that Kantian ethics expressesthe view that morality permits and forbids certain actionsirrespective of the desirability of its outcomes (Wood45).
Themain connection between the utilitarianism and the “other bird”may be seen in the statement that “ifwe have never thought of the two birds, we may be worse than”the past generations and even less wise. Having that bit of knowledgemay have made the previous generations kinder and happier and evenbetter than the current generations. This may be interpreted withregard to the manner in which an action produces pleasure or good anddesirable outcomes for the greatest number of people. This bit ofinformation would only be considered good or bad subject to itseffects on the people who have it. If it does not enhance theirknowledge and understanding of life, it would be consideredworthless. If it does not give pleasurable results and rather makespeople less kind and sadder than the previous generations, it wouldbe considered bad.
Inthe case of duty ethic or Kantian ethics, the main connection with“the Other Bird” may be seen in the statement that the reader is“nofit teacher as he is disorderly and querulous. He does often what noteacher should ever do: he disapproves, contents and complains andeven judges”.This statement underlines the fact that there are certain rules,obligations and set manner of doing thinks in every profession andfor every individual. Irrespective of the possible outcomes of anaction, it is imperative that individuals follow the set rules andobligations. Similarly, a teacher is required to act in a certainmanner and be nonjudgmental, orderly, approving and calm in carryingout his tasks and duties (Geirssonand Margaret44). This requirement would be there whether it leads to desirableeffects or not, in which case they are unquestionable irrespective ofthe consequences (Geirssonand Margaret44).
Thereis a difference between the manner in which the two the ethicaltheories would approach the “otherbirds”.The distinction between the two birds revolves around the fact thatone has access to resources and can afford to take advantage ofopportunities while the other has no option but to watch. Of course,utilitarianism and deontological ethics or Kantian ethics see theactions of these two birds in different lights. In the case of theutilitarian theory, it is not wrong for the eating bird to continuewith its business without any care for what the watching bird or“otherbirds”do or even what would be ailing them as long as such care amounts tostability in the ecosystem.
Inthe case of the deontological or Kantian ethics, the other birdswould be seen as lost and lacking in something. Watching birds wouldbe deficient in something in their mental faculties, and it is onlyright for them be woken up or shaken out of their slumber to allowfor the reemergence of the sleeping beauty. The watching bird doesnothing at all, something that leads to its being hated by all. Thewatching bird, in this case, may be the individuals who do nothingand never make the effort to be better. In an effort to change them,Kantian ethics would see them as simply wrong as they fail to take upresponsibilities in their lives (Baron39). Whether putting effort and working in their varied duties wouldcause any positive effects or not is not considered rather they wouldneed to be woken up from their slumber and at least work hard for thesake of it.
Readingsuch an article comes with fundamental advantages to the student orany reader. It goes without saying that the article necessitates thatan individual explores the inner workings of the society and themanner in which individuals treat each other. It is well noted thathuman beings are guided by certain rules in determining how to act incertain circumstances. On the same note, the article seems quitecomplicated and requires an individual to have the capacity to usephilosophy so as to explain the varied activities of human beings.The main reason why the teacher assigned this text may have been toenhance my capacity to interpret sophisticated texts and connect themwith established theories.
Inconclusion, the “Other Bird” text explores the theory of wisdomand the manner in which human beings acquire it. It underlines thefact that knowledge and understanding cannot be attained by readingvolumes of books. Indeed, the text notes that books never satisfyhuman being’s desire for knowledge, which is why individualstorment themselves wondering what books they would take and how many.While the text incorporates a web of complicated or sophisticatedphilosophical musings, the analogy of the “other bird” can beexplained using philosophical ethical theories includingutilitarianism and Kantian duty ethics. Utilitarianism is primarilyconcerned about the outcomes of activities, while Kantian ethics areconcerned with the obligations of an individual and what they arerequired to do irrespective of the consequences. According toutilitarianism, the bit of information explained in the text wouldonly be considered good or bad subject to its effects on the peoplewho have it. Kantian ethics, on the other hand, comes with rules onhow individuals in different professions would need to act.
Wood,Allen W. KantianEthics.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.
Geirsson,Heimir, and Margaret R. Holmgren. EthicalTheory: A Concise Anthology.Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2000. Print.
Baron,Marcia. KantianEthics Almost Without Apology.Ithaca [u.a.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1995. Print.
Hinman,Lawrence M. Ethics.Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth, 2007. Print.