: The needs of duty
DOI link for : The needs of duty
: The needs of duty book
My grandfather worked in architecture from 1916, when he was 15 years of age apprenticing in the architectural offi ce of his foster father, until 2002, when my grandfather retired at 101. He used to say that architecture kept him alive, and it certainly did for a very long time. He clearly loved his work, most of which involved the design of churches, but he also had a strong sense of duty to it, so much so that he went into the offi ce almost every day of the week, once getting stopped for speeding by the police early on a Sunday morning on
his way to work at the age of 96. That sense of duty, of having a purpose larger than oneself, is, as Immanuel Kant argued, the basis for leading a happy life as well as an ethical one. While we have all sorts of interests pulling at us, and plenty of opportunities to act in ways that benefi t us personally at the expense of other people or the planet, Kant reminded us that we have a duty to do the right thing, however much it seems to go against our own interests. That idea lies at the heart of all professions, which are licensed by the government and given a monopoly over a certain area of practice, in order to do the right thing and to look after the public good, something that will become increasingly important as the old systems break down and new, more resilient ones evolve. In such a setting, the duty to do what is right – not just with other people, but with the planet as a whole – will be in high demand.