Marilynne Robinson contemplates what would be lost if our sense of human value diminishes.
I think that there is some danger of losing the sense of human value. You know, Kant made his famous formula about viewing other people as means rather than as ends. And this kind of talk that I’m complaining about – about competition and fitting yourself to be economically valuable and all that sort of thing – that is a spectacular example of thinking of people as means, and encouraging them to think of themselves in that same way when, in fact, we know that given any possibility, human beings blossom into beauty and ingenuity and tragedy and all the rest of it that could not be anticipated. And that the world would be utterly poorer without.