Maimonides: Not for Human's Sake
Quotables: Wild Judaism
Guide of the Perplexed, Part III, chapter 13
It should not be believed that all the beings exist for the sake of the existence of humanity. On the contrary, all the other beings too have been intended for their own sakes, and not for the sake of something else.… this is what one ought to believe. For when people know their own soul, make no mistakes regarding it, and understand every being according to what it is, they become calm and their thoughts are not troubled by seeking…any final end for what has no final end except its own existence, which depends on the divine will--if you prefer you can also say: on the divine wisdom.
Maimonides urges us to cultivate a non-anthropocentric perspective through contemplating the enormity of the universe and our small place in it. Practiced regularly, this exercise will help us to see that the world is not designed solely for human pleasure– a realization that Maimonides believes will engender a sense of comfort and calm.
Judaism and Ecology
A Hadassah Study Guide, in cooperation with Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth (Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. and Shomrei Adamah, 1993).
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