Where does selfish stop and self preservation begin?

One of the turning points in my life came when ashamed of my inability to be who I wanted to be, I looked up the word grace. Learning to define the word and find it’s synonyms, was a way to help guide my life in a healthier path towards self respect. Knowing I was young, brash with my words and calling it blunt honesty as a way to justify my communication style. Confusingly wrong it felt to be. I knew I had behaved arrogantly, or immaturely and had voiced something I shouldn’t have. I had said too much. I had not taken enough care with my words.

The following quote came from a movie I saw recently. I had to rewind the thing over and over to get it all down. It was worth the process as I love quotations that feed my value system.

I substituted “selfishness” for “nature” in the quote, due to my love for the grace of nature. 🙂

″The nuns taught us, that there are two ways though life. The way of selfishness, and the way of grace. You have to choose which one to follow.

Grace doesn’t try to please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. It accepts insults, and injuries.

Selfishness only wants to please itself, but others to please it too, likes to lord it over them, to have it’s own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy, when all the world, is shining around it. When love is smiling through all things.

They taught us that, no one who knows the way of grace, will ever come to a bad end.″

I ran into an article in The New Yorker while in Brooklyn a few weeks ago while buying a sandwich at a deli. It’s the latest release of the magazine, the article is titled Kin and Kind. What was outstanding to me about it, was the way it gave insight into questions I’ve asked myself too many times: Am I only selfish? Is every action I choose rooted in the fact that it will bring me joy? Is there such a thing as altruism?

Is life like one of my biggest heros says it is? Does the world hate one thing more than any other? Is it not the monstrosities of fascist war mongering criminals, or the serial killers trails, but the dreaded Do-Gooder, that’s despised the most? Should I choose not to be as good as I am, so I can fit in better? Am I going to alter my life path because of a batch of selfish peoples guilt complexes? Should I be selfish in order to gain their approval? Do I need to be more selfish in order to survive and thrive?….

..Every time I help somebody or volunteer….is it just because I’m going to feel good about it, and I want to feel good, so I do it? Is it guilt that motivates me, because I feel blessed and lucky to feel the way I do about the community and family experiences, that have defined my life?

I loved that the article took the concept and made it into a basic rule of natural biology for me. Humans are successful due to their ability to socially coordinate efforts. We have proliferated the planet because we can work together.

Either that, or I go back to the drawing board philosophically, and question that maybe we really like to hump like rabbits, more than we like to kill each other, so we can hump like rabbits on foreign soil that we made less populated, by killing off the people who were already there…humping like rabbits? I hope that was a fun little circle for you to ride. It was fun to write. I imagine my editor will have something to say about the misuse of punctuation. Good thing she’s sleeping. I get to play with no rules…except that I had to put a blanket on her so she wouldn’t shiver….and I’m waiting for her to wake up so we can…….I really aught to look up Easter. Seems like Semana Santa is just another name for, it’s spring time, the squirrels are chasing each other, and even saints….like to…..

The article was fun for me to read. It gave me a new way of looking at the ″evolution of altruism″ : The New Yorker March 5th ;
″They are perhaps the most successful form of multicellular life in history, with some fourteen thousand known species. They account for roughly the same amount of biomass as human beings. This biological success is especially remarkable because it depends entirely on the ability of ants to cooperate, to form intricate societies structured around hard work and shared sacrifice.″

Advertisements

One comment

The pharmacy of your mind prescribing for my pleasure

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s