Refer to the following table:
|Pre-temperament||Barely Human||(higher) humanity||Monster|
|Part||character||self-creation / discovery||ideal|
|Temperament||(approved of) personality||Guardian||Idealist|
Hume is correct that reason (plan-making – yin) is a slave to passions (procuring of enjoyment, fruit), but only in the narrow happiness trinity. There, the reason is indeed reduced to cranking out means to arbitrarily chosen ends.
But narrow happiness is the last human end. Before one can pursue it, he must attain the first end or “higher humanity” in the nature trinity and the second end of “approved-of personality” in the virtue trinity. Things are different there.
Yang uses yin in order to produce fruit. Thus, for nature, an evil will or hatred for fellow men results in one’s committing crimes against person and property. Criminals are hanged and lose their lives. There is no pursuit of virtue or narrow happiness for corpses. Hence, one must so bend the desires with his reason as to obtain the nature of willing good to other citizens in order to avoid prison or execution. Then the person will be socially free and able to live his life as he pleases and seek his own personal ends.
The intellect straightens out the will for the sake of survival, bodily and even ultimately spiritual.
For virtue, intellect is the fruit, understood as self-knowledge and peace with the sort of person one is. A virtuous person feels no shame for who he is nor regrets for what he’s done. The yang-will, understood as self-love drives the yin-duties to build a permanent character. Here, the natural and primordial passion of self-love serves the self-making of a person and the end of knowing oneself, since unexamined narrow happiness is not worth pursuing.
One wills to follow a dutiful routine which turns into habits which turn into character for the sake of calm, luminous, and confident self-knowledge.
Without a “big picture” like this, disputes between Hume and his opponents will be unintelligible.
For example, when Hume writes that “it is not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger,” we initially get stunned from the apparent plausibility of a proposition so outrageous. The solution to the puzzle is to notice that desiring the destruction of the whole world is evil, and if Hume attempted this, he’d be killed physically by his intended victims who would defend themselves and perhaps even go to hell. He won’t get the chance to enjoy his success. As a result, before Hume could scratch his finger, an innocent desire belonging squarely to narrow happiness, he’d have to purify his own corrupt will by some kind of penance. There is no pleasure in this, to be sure. But a necessity would lie upon him, as he cannot will his own death. He’d have to upgrade his temperament from Monster to something better first.