In yesterday’s post I was called everything but a child of God for suggesting people adopt a behavior of selfishness and recommending Ayn Rand’s book on the subject. Some wanted to twist my words and suggest that I was against helping the disadvantaged. So let’s dial down the drama and the rhetoric and look at the real issues…
Like Rand, I also use the word selfish to describe virtuous qualities of character. The dictionary definition of selfishness is basically concern with one's own interests, without regard for others. I take that to mean you value yourself first, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Notice that there is no good or evil implicit in the definition. That, 'without regard for others' does not mean that you are doing harm to others. It simply means that you are well adjusted and sensible enough to meet your own needs first.
Now of course that’s not what the herd would have you believe...
They tell you that your moral imperative is to put the interests of the many before the interests of the one. That you should sacrifice yourself for the “greater good.”
This idea is very dangerous to your self-esteem and your life. Relinquishing your happiness for the sake of others verifies to yourself, and others, that you are small and unworthy of even your own attention. It’s actually anti-humanity, and it makes you mentally sick.
Your survival and your pursuit of happiness must form the foundation of your value system. To make your life, by your own means, towards your own standards, and for your own enjoyment. Anything less than that is harmful to you. And anything harmful to the individual is actually detrimental to society as a whole.
Please read that last sentence again.
Anything that isn’t good for the individual can’t be good for society as a whole. Now as I mentioned on the last post, that doesn’t mean you won’t sometimes sacrifice or subjugate your own needs for others in a relationship or as parents do all the time.
The real issue is when that becomes the norm, when you see serving others and helping them as more important than helping yourself. It’s a sure sign of low self-esteem, worthiness issues, and harmful mind viruses. And that is the fastest way to a life of victim-hood, resentment and frustration.
If you tell me you’re highest good is serving others or serving God, I think you’ve lost the plot. In my experience those running around trying to save the world are usually the most fucked up people I know. It’s usually avoidance behavior so they don’t have to deal with their own issues. They run around looking for drama, so they don’t have time to think of their own drama.
To the casual observer they look like altruistic saints. Those that know better recognize them for the judgmental, insecure, drama-magnets they really are. At their core level, they’re desperately looking for acceptance. They think if they rescue enough others, it will somehow give them the self-esteem they’re missing. It won’t.
You have to get comfortable in your own skin. No one can give you that validation.
Want to help the world? Great. Get your own life in order first. Get your own needs met first. Get the money thing out of the way first. Get yourself in a position of strength first, and you’ll be amazed how much good you can do.
Of course you’ll discover that you do that good for selfish reasons. Which is where we’ll pick up next…