I suppose it might seem a bit contradictory of me to get into definitions of particular words when I also advocate probabilities over certitudes, but then I have never claimed to be definable. I have little problem on the various definitions of the word “self”:a person's essential being that distinguishes them from others; a person's particular nature or personality, one's own interests or pleasure or its synonyms:ego, I, oneself, persona, person, identity, character, personality, psyche, soul, spirit, mind, inner being I am pretty copacetic with this base definition. What rankles my collywobbles is the only definition of selfish to be found in either the Oxford or Webster Dictionary:lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure and its synonyms:egocentric, egotistic, egotistical, egomaniacal, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-serving, wrapped up in oneself; inconsiderate, thoughtless, unthinking, uncaring, uncharitable; mean, miserly, grasping, greedy, mercenary, acquisitive, opportunistic; informal looking after number one And the definition of its antonym, selfless: concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own. Gag me with a spoon. Consulting with ones self prior to acting is none of those evil sounding connotations and concern with the lives of others to the neglect of ones own isn't exactly a virtue.
With sincere regrets I’m afraid I am going to further burden all those selfless souls out there who already carry the world on their shoulders while denying the existence of the being from whom their energy emanates. I have little wonder why people pointed out to me as being the epitome of selflessness look so haggard. They cannot be acting from the golden rule; one must have a self against which to measure the manner and degree to which they may do unto others before acting. It is all about honor.
Before inflicting my concerns or aid upon another I must first have a self I have relied on long enough to trust; *that self must have experienced such problems as seem to be involved and have worked out a solution with honor; I then test amicable approaches and presentations of my ideas on my self to be sure I do honor to the other’s and my self in discussion or aid; all before invoking the karma of my actions. I know, how egotistical of me to trust myself over others.
To my way of thinking this process shows far more concern for the welfare of others than too many of the so called selfless acts I have witnessed or attempted. The self is the repository and fountain for all ones resources: energy, happiness, love, imagination, curiosity, wisdom gained from life’s experience, the deep background of genetic memory, attitude toward the nature of life within and without the skin. To take on the burdens of another in denial of ones self is effectively no better than commiseration, sympathy or pity.
Without honor for ones self one must be tossed from pillar to post seeking something to trust, someone to lean on, a hereafter to believe in to compensate for the misery of a life believing oneself to be evil for being selfish. Yeah, they're in for treatment, and how. This seems to tie in with my previous post about the reliance on the cultural myth to be fact. Yes, brethren and cistern, spare me the hollow shell of the selfless person’s help and let me stride side by side with those self reliant, selfish souls who are able to both feed themselves and teach others to catch fish instead of feeding their helpless selflessness with another selfless plate of commiserly food.
The Austin Chronicle last week had an add for "Life Coach." There's a carpet bagger routine that only took a couple of years, after inventing its services to the absolutely selfless, usless-to-themselves requirers of 24/7 advice just to behave, to make it down here from New Yawk City. Ah, these improved communications. What a joy. So can selflessness, being considered the antonym to the evil of selfishness, explain choices people deny responsibility for in the name of the goodness of the puppet strings from above (god, wife, boss, the man, madison avenue, wall street) that guide their every move. The ultimate question for the devotedly faithful in their time of suffering is, "Why did you choose a god that treats you this way?" Not that they'll ever recall or own up to choosing, but they did, unless, I guess, they choose to call themselves among the chosen.
I know how selfishness got a bad name, by the way, I'm just objecting to the absolutely evil picture dictionary definitions paint of selfishness. Where is "self reliant" "self controlled" "self sustaining" "self starting" "self sufficient" as the positive side of the coin. Have I stumbled onto another conspiracy ice berg tip - who knew? No, but seriously folks, selfishness got a bad rep when imposters, people with honor only for their reflection in the public mirror (in total denial of the self that shows through anyway) got mistaken for having egomania, the swelling of the self. Rather than it being the result of too much self serving ego, it is the ignorance of the wellspring within and total dependence on feedback from without, like the swollen bellies of the always starving in villages without gardens.
*Wonderful anecdote about Ghandi: Mother brings her son before the Mahatma and asks him to tell her son to stop eating sugar. Ghandi says, "Come back in six weeks." In six weeks the boy is told, "Stop eating sugar." The mother questioned the delay and got his explaination, "Six weeks ago I was still eating sugar."