WISDOM and PURPOSE
RICHARD JUSTIN McCARTY
By RICHARD JUSTIN McCARTY
PRESS OF JOS. O. HAVENS CO.
In appreciation of their faith in
the Wisdom of persistent and co-oper-
ative effort, action and service in pro-
motion of the general welfare of man-
R. J. McCARTY
3820 Warwick Boulevard
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
The nature and practical significance of
purposes and the means and methods used in
their prosecution and achievement constitute
the only available criterion of Wisdom.
Kansas City, Missouri,
March 12, 1922.
THE PURPOSES OF MAN.
Standard Definitions of Purpose I
Conception of a Purpose 2
Determination of a Purpose 3
Object of a Purpose 5
Accomplishment of Object 5-6
Achievement of a Purpose 6-7
Subordinate Purposes 7-8
Definite Purpose 8
Indefinite Purpose 8
No Human Purpose Strictly Definite 9-10
Classificaton of Human Purposes 10-15
GOOD AND EVIL PURPOSES.
Pleasure and Pain 16-17
Natural and Artficial Causes 17
Natural and Artificial Conditions 18-19
Distinctions of Good and Evil 20-21
Human Welfare 22
Human Progress 23
Sources of Human Progress 24-25
Avoidance and Compensation 26
Death Not a Natural Evil 27
Pain a Protection 28
Basis of Distinctions 29
Justified by Scriptures 30-31
Definition of a Good Purpose 32
Definition of an Evil Purpose 32
PREDOMINANCE OF GOOD PURPOSES.
Opinions of Good and Evil Variable .33
Good Purposes Prolific 34
Evil Purposes Tend to Their Own Correction 35
Good Purposes Must Prevail Over Evil 36
Development of Human Progress 36-38
Historical Evidence of Predominance of Good Over
Moral Evolution , , .45-46
CAUSE, EFFECT AND PRINCIPLE.
Cause, Effect and Event 47
General Classification of Causes 48
Definition of Energy 49
Classification of Energies 49
Definition of Principle 50
Development of Principles as Conditions
Necessary for Achievement of Purposes. . . .50-58
Basis of Development 51-52
Principle of Causation 53
Principle of Regulation 53
Principle of Stability 54
Principle of Conservation of Matter 55
Principle of Correlation of Energies 55-57
Principle of Conservation of Energies 58
Testimony of Science 59-61
General Demonstration of Principles 62-64
LAW AND ORDER.
Conception of a Natural Law 65
Classification of Laws 65-69
Conditions of a Law 69-7 1
Self-enforcement of Law 70
Co-operative Causes 72-73
More than a Single Cause for Every
Conceivable Effect 72
Conception of Order 73
Rules of Order 74-75
Number and Variety 75
Practical Illustration 76-77
Rules of Order for Co-operation of Men 77
Relations of Sensation, Thought and
Human Welfare and Progress the only Practicable
Basis for Co-operation of Men 81
Law and Order 82
MEANS AND METHOD.
Definition of Means 83
Summary of Available Means 83
Definition of Method 84
General Method of Achievement 85
Practical Examples of Method 86-88
Metaphysical Conception of Method 89-90
Modification of Means and Method 90-92
Resources Available to Man . , .93-94
Conception of Intellectual Efficiency 95
Criterion of Intellectual Efficiency 95
Intellectual Qualifications 96-1 1 3
^ Spirit 97-1 04
Knowledge ..,.,., 104-108
Discretion 1 09-1 1
Spirit, Knowledge and Discretion ... 1 1 1 - 1 1 2
General Definition of Intellectual Efficiency 113
FORMS OF INTELLECTUAL EFFICIENCY.
Theoretical Ability .... .114-
Speculative Ability . .
Mathematical Ability .
Experimental Ability .
Limitations . .
Executive Ability 1 22-127
Development 1 23-125
Degrees of Executive Ability 125-127
Efficiency of Executive Ability Depends upon the
Practical Significance of Free Will 127
FREE WILL AND EXECUTIVE ABILITY.
Doctrine of Free Will . . 1 28
Opposite Doctrine 128
Doctrine of Free Will can be neither Proved
nor Disproved 1 29- 1 32
Apparent Absence of Free Will may be Caused
by an Act of Free Will Itself 1 32
Relations of Free Will to Executive Ability 1 33-1 35
Predominance of Good Purposes Indicates
that, in Practice, Man is not entirely a
Free Agent 135
Basis of Executive Ability 1 36-1 38
THE WISDOM OF MAN.
Wisdom, the Name of Intellectual Excellence 1 39
Method of Reaching a Conception of Wisdom 1 39-140
Different Conceptions of Wisdom 140-145
Metaphysical Conception of Intellectual
Excellence 1 46-1 47
Definitions of Wisdom Given in Standard
Dictionaries 1 48-1 50
General Conception of Wisdom here Reached 150
Wisdom Implicitly Defined 151
Wisdom Involves Intellectual Efficiency 151
Judgment 1 52-153
Explicit Definition of Wisdom 155
DEGREES OF HUMAN WISDOM.
Pleasure in Pursuit of Knowledge often Detrimental
to Wisdom of Individual 1 56-1 60
Improves Wisdom, as a Whole 1 60-1 61
Wisdom and Knowledge 1 61 -1 62
Wisdom and Discretion 1 62-1 63
Wisdom and Judgment 1 63-1 64
Wisdom and Virtue^- ^ 1 65
Individual Wisdom not Extensive 1 66
Collective Wisdom Extensive 1 66-1 67
Degrees of Individual Wisdom 168-1 72
Highest Degree of Human Wisdom 177
Scriptural Conception of The Absolute Cause 1 74-1 75
Divine and Human Wisdom the Same in Kind 1 75
Consequences of Unlimited Wisdom 1 76-1 79
A Single Definite Purpose, Illimitably Good and
Greatest Scope of Self-enforcing Law and
Original Crudity of All Existing Things 1 78
Accordance With Phenomena of Existence. ... 1 79-184
Relations of Wisdom to Purpose and to Law and
Beneficial Consequences 1 88-1 89
General Conclusion . .190
THE PURPOSES OF MAN.
A Purpose, according to recognized au-
An idea or ideal kept before
the mind as an end or aim of effort
According to these same authorities a
purpose may also be regarded as:
A resolution to attain to an end
While these definitions apparently relate
to different things they really represent differ-
ent aspects of the same thing because an end
or aim must involve a resolution and a resolu-
tion always involves an end or aim.
For this reason either definition is ac-
ceptable under certain conditions and accord-
ing to the point of view.
In this treatise, however, the term Pur-
pose is used in the comprehensive sense ex-
pressed by the proposition that:
A purpose is determined in the
mind whenever a resolution is made
to attain to an end or aim.
Since attainment to an end or aim re-
quires action and since action can be recog-
nized only through its effect every end or aim
may be regarded as the final effect of intended
Therefore, the significance of the term
Purpose as used in this treatise may be more
explicitly stated by means of the proposi-
Whenever a man resolves to
bring about or cause to be brought
about any mental or physical effect
there is determined in the mind of
that man what is known as a pur-
DETERMINATION OF A PURPOSE.
The determination of a purpose in the
mind consists of reaching a conception of the
final intended effect and of forming a resolu-
tion to produce it or to cause it to be produced.
The conception may be definite, as in the case
of a proposed building for which plans and
specifications have been prepared; or it may
be indefinite as, for instance, when it relates
exclusively to the acquisition of knowledge or
when a person tries to escape from some dis-
agreeable or dangerous situation without re-
gard to any other consequences of his or her
action. But in every case there must be some
kind of a conception in order that a resolution
may be possible.
The resolution to produce the final in-
tended effect must be such as to insure action,
for otherwise there would exist in the mind
nothing more than a vague inclination which
might be entirely without practical signifi-
cance. Also, the resolution must insure im-
mediate action because if not then it might be
merely an intention and be subsequently aban-
doned, making it equivalent to an inclination.
Again, the resolution must insure persist-
ent although not necessarily continuous action
towards the intended effect for otherwise it
might be given up after action had been taken
and solely because that action had been based
not on a resolution but on an inclination. On
the other hand every resolution, howsoever
complete, must yield when it becomes known
that the intended effect cannot be produced.
Thus, abandonment of effort or action does
not always indicate a want of original resolu-
RESOLUTION AND OBJECT.
Therefore, it would seem that the only
acceptable evidence of a resolution is persist-
ent effort or action in the direction of the in-
tended effect until all the operations shall have
been completed and the final result deter-
The object of a purpose is the final in-
tended effect. Experience shows that in the
end it often does not correspond to the orig-
inal conception upon which the resolution may
have been based. Sometimes this is because
the original conception had not been exact
and sometimes it is because the precise effect
was not found to be practicable.
Accomplishment of the object is the pro-
duction of the final intended effect or its prac-
tical equivalent. Unintentional production of
an effect considered in relation to the mind of
the person by whom it was produced is not
equivalent to accomplishment of an object be-
cause in such a case there would be no resolu-
tion and, therefore, no purpose. Experience
shows that accomplishment of an object usu-
ally begins after the formation of the purpose
in the mind but that in many cases certain work
necessary for the determination of the purpose
may be used in the accomplishment of the ob-
ject; as, for instance, surveys, plans and spec-
ifications made with a view to ascertaining-
whether a railroad or other structure shall be
As is well known, the accomplishment of
the object need not always be prosecuted or
completed by the person with whom the pur- v
pose may have originated.
The achievement of a purpose consists of
ACHIEVEMENT OF PURPOSE.
the performance of all mental and physical
operations necessary to determine the purpose
in the mind and to accomplish the object.
Since certain purposes may be determin-
ed in the mind of one person and their objects
accomplished by others, achievement of a pur-
pose may be regarded as consisting of two dis-
tinct although closely related operations.
Experience proves that the achievement
of a purpose often requires the production of
several subordinate effects and that each of
these effects is or may be regarded as the ob-
ject of a subordinate purpose.
Also, experience shows that, as a rule,
subordinate purposes may be achieved by dif-
ferent persons co-operating in such a manner
as to bring about the final intended effect of
the general purpose with much more expedi-
tion and efficiency than would otherwise be
possible. This means, of course, that the gen-
eral purpose is, in effect, a combination of all
those which may be subordinate to it.
Too much emphasis cannot be given to
the importance of the condition here involved
because, without it, all purposes of great and
enduring benefit which require co-operation
of a number of men would be impracticable;
also, because although the condition is general-
ly well-known its importance in practice is
often far from being fully appreciated.
A definite purpose is one that has a clear-
ly defined object which is known to be prac-
ticable and is certain to be accomplished.
An indefinite purpose either has an in-
definite object or is determined in the mind
without knowledge that the object is practica-
To be able to achieve a definite purpose
it is evident that a man must have decision of
character, clearness of conception, foreknowl-
edge of future conditions and ability to ac-
quire, adapt and apply suitable means with
precision as against every influence which
might otherwise defeat the purpose.
Now, there are many men of great deci-
sion; some are so from ignorance, some are
regarded as eccentric and others are recog-
nized as men of common sense, talent or gen-
ius, each according to his achievements and to
the mental attitude of those who may indulge
their propensity to judge. But decision does
not insure achievement for, in addition to re-
strictions of environment, every man wants
foreknowledge and lacks precision, so that his
best results are generally mere approxima-
Therefore, every human purpose may be
regarded as more or less indefinite.
The purposes 'of man may be classified
generally with respect to their objects as the-
oretical and practical.
Theoretical purposes are those which
have for their objects the acquisition, promul-
gation and inculcation of knowledge without
definite regard to its immediate practical ap-
A theoretical purpose may be specula-
tive, mathematical or experimental.
A speculative purpose is one that is con-
fined to study, thought and instruction con-
cerning the phenomena of the intellect and its
relations to cause and effect.
A mathematical purpose relates exclu-
sively to knowledge of fact and truth concern-
ing the relations of magnitude and quantity.
An experimental purpose is one that re-
lates to the development of fact and truth by
experiment and may have for its object either
the discovery of the cause or causes which, un-
der certain conditions, may be required to pro-
duce a certain effect or the ascertainment of
the effect which a certain cause or certain
causes, when placed under given conditions,
may be depended upon to produce.
Now, the practical importance of a dis-
covery that certain causes placed under cer-
tain conditions will bring about a certain ef-
fect depends upon the conditions as well as
upon the causes, for unless similar conditions
obtain, the same effect may not be produced.
Also, it is well known that the same effect may
often be brought about by different causes un-
der different conditions. Consequently, since
the practical importance of experimental pur-
poses is often problematical they are here
treated as theoretical.
Practical purposes are those which have
for their general object the production of a
definite effect upon the practical affairs of life.
A practical purpose may be intuitive,
empirical or tentative.
An intuitive purpose is one that seems
to spring from impulse and to be completed by
instinctive processes. As so understood,
many if not all intuitive purposes correspond
closely if not exactly to those indicated by the
activities of certain of the lower animals.
An empirical purpose is that which re-
quires appreciable mental effort for its
achievement and which is known to be similar
to some purpose previously achieved and
which can be repeated under present condi-
tions. These are understood to include all the
ordinary recurrent purposes of life that are not
A tentative purpose is one that has for
its object either an effect that is not known
to have been produced before or the more effi-
cient achievement of a previous purpose.
Tentative purposes are often undertaken
with inadequate or false notions of probable
or possible results. They thus include those
which fail from an improper selection of
means, those which miscarry from an ineffi-
cient use of suitable means and those which
cannot be achieved by any means whatever.
Far be it, however, that he who prosecutes
such purposes should be disparaged, for he it
is whose enterprising spirit often causes him
to blunder on fact and truth, succeed beyond
all expectation and become an excellent ex-
ample of what a great man judged by his
works might be. In addition to this even those
tentative purposes that fail or miscarry always
tend to increase the store of practical experi-
Therefore, as is otherwise well known,
tentative purposes, regardless of success or
failure, constitute a great source of industrial
and social progress.
It will be observed that, under the defi-
nitions given, the difference between an ex-
perimental purpose and a tentative purpose is
that the former is achieved for sake of knowl-
edge alone while the latter is prosecuted and
completed for sake of its practical effect.
A purpose is generally considered great
according to the number and importance of
the subordinate purposes which are merged
into the accomplishment of the final object.
A purpose is also recognized as great in
proportion to the immediate and to the ulti-
mate consequences of its achievement.
GOOD AND EVIL PURPOSES.
It is natural for men to base distinctions
of good and evil upon sensations and emotions
of immediate pleasure and pain rather than
upon the remote consequences of the conduct
or action that may result from those feelings.
This tendency is shown by the philos-
opher Thomas Hobbes in the statement that:
4 'Every man calleth that which
pleaseth, and is delightful to him-
self, good: and that evil which dis-
The celebrated philosopher John Locke
expressed himself similarly thus:
1 'Things then are good or evil
only in reference to pleasure or
The same tendency is indicated by the
GOOD AND EVIL PURPOSES.
standard dictionaries, according to which:
''Adapted to give or giving
Also: "Having qualities adapted to pro-
duce some kind of satisfaction,
whether physical, mental or moral."
"Producing or threatening
pain, sorrow, distress, injury or
Also: Possessing injurious nature or
qualities; unwholesome; hurtful
hostile to the welfare of any crea-
A sensation of pleasure or of pain is an
effect of a certain cause upon a certain person
under certain conditions.
A cause is understood to be natural when
free from the influence of human control; and
to be artificial when and to the degree it is
subjected to such influence.
A condition is regarded as natural when
it has been brought about in the natural course
of events unchanged by human interference,
and as artificial to the extent that it has been
affected by the conduct of man.
Experience shows that under different
natural conditions the same cause may give
the same man pleasure at one time and pain
at another. For illustration:
Fire sometimes gives pleasure and some-
times pain, according to natural conditions
and the same is true of air, of water, of the
earth and, consequently, of the causes they
involve. This being true, it appears that
every natural cause by which a man may be
affected might, under the definitions given,
sometimes be good and sometimes evil while
the cause itself would remain unchanged.
Again, the same natural causes under the
PLEASURE AND PAIN.
same natural conditions may sometimes af-
ford pleasure and sometimes give pain to the
same man according to his conduct with re-
spect to those causes and conditions.
But it is manifest that contrary epithets
cannot, without qualification, be properly
applied at different times to a thing that has
not undergone a change.
Therefore, definite distinctions of good
and evil cannot apply to natural causes or to
It is well known, however, that the same
man will experience the same sensation of
pleasure or of pain as often as he places him-
self in the same relations to certain natural or
artificial causes and conditions; also that the
sensation can be depended upon to vary in
regular accordance with any change he may
make in those relations.
Now, in so far as the relations of a man
to any natural cause are not controlled by him
they may be regarded as natural conditions,
and to the extent that those relations are under
his control his sensations of pleasure and of
pain are determined by his own action.
Therefore, distinctions of good and evil
must be established with especial reference to
Now, human conduct may give pleasure
which is followed as a consequence by compar-
atively greater pain, such, for instance, as dis-
sipation, and it is clear that this should not be
recognized as good. On the other hand,
human conduct may give immediate pain
succeeded by proportionately greater pleas-
ure, as, for example, hard and honest labor,
and it is manifest that this should not be re-
garded as evil.
WELFARE AND PROGRESS.
Consequently, immediate pleasure and
immediate pain resulting from human conduct
are not sufficient as a general basis for dis-
tinctions of good and evil.
This condition, however, may be met by
basing all distinctions of good and evil upon
human conduct considered with respect to its
effect upon the ultimate welfare and progress
of man. For, it is evident that to the extent
human conduct contributes in the end to hu-
man welfare and progress it must be recog-
nized as good and in so far as it is detrimental
to the ultimate welfare and progress of man it
must be regarded as evil.
Therefore, all distinctions of good and
evil should be made with particular reference
to the influence of human conduct upon the
ultimate welfare and progress of mankind.
Human welfare, according to standard
"State or condition in regard
to well-being; especially condition
of health, happiness, prosperity
and the like; negatively, exemp-
tion from evil or calamity."
This includes both physical and intellec-
tual welfare and is understood to mean that:
Physical welfare is that state which
makes it practicable to procure adequate
safety, sufficient food and suitable comfort:
Intellectual welfare is that condition of
knowledge, intellectual ability, mental dis-
cipline and refinement in which the mind is
undisturbed by fear or suffering, is able to
resist temptation, control passion, banish pre-
judice, is qualified to achieve purposes and is
not misled by any false theories or impracti-
THE PROGRESS OF MAN.
Human progress, as defined by accepted
"Advance in physical, mental
or moral development, condition or
In view of the definition of welfare this
is understood to mean that:
Physical progress is advance in physical
welfare or in the conditions affecting safety,
food and comfort; and that:
Intellectual progress is advance in intel-
lectual welfare or in knowledge, intellectual
ability, mental discipline and refinement.
It must be admitted that between the
first appearance of man on earth and the pres-
ent time there has been some human progress.
For to deny this would be to deny the validity
of every recognized standard of physical,
social, moral, intellectual and spiritual ex-
This progress could have been due only
to natural causes, to the activities of man or
This condition is well expressed by the
philosophic historian Buckle as follows:
"Thus we have man modifying
nature, and nature modifying man;
while out of this reciprocal action all
events must spring."
The exact extent to which the progress
of man to date has been brought about by nat-
ural causes is, of course, problematical but it
would not seem to exceed the natural progress
of the present savage who has always depend-
ed most upon natural causes and least upon his
own activities. Consequently, if from the
total progress of this savage there could be
deducted that brought about by the efforts he
has been compelled to make in advancement