Keep Trying

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

More Self-Centeredness

In response to Friday's post, Jason Kenney blogged:

Overall, I think the 'Love Your Neighbor as Yourself' ethos has gone the way of the dodo, unfortunately. Look at the world, the hate and the way people treat each other merely because of minor differences in opinion, philosophy, lifestyle, sexual preference, skin color, etc. You continually have people treating others poorly because they feel they are right and that they should not be treated the same because, well, they're right! The Self-Centeredness destroys the chance of that mindset existing. When one becomes the center of the universe, it is no longer about your treatment of others coming back to you in kind. It is simply about you. Disappointing, really. Lots of good folks have been lost to that kind of thinking.

I think it is pretty evident that every human on this planet is self-centered to a great degree. This is how we are created. We see the world from inside our own heads, we are primarily concerned with our own (and our families) survival and we feel most vividly our own pains and pleasures. The question is how much we work on overcoming this natural tendency and demonstrate true appreciation and caring for others through thought, speech and action. On blogs the answer is - not much. Of course blogs are limited to the area of writing/speech and it is much more exciting and interesting to write with contempt, anger and rage. Let's face it, being nice is to a great degree - boring.

Having a belief in G-d also helps overcome self-centeredness because we can work (and it takes a lifetime of work) on putting G-d in the center and reducing our own egocentric view. Of course that is not to say that all people who have a stronger belief in G-d are less self-centered than those who are less sure of G-d's existence.

I think Hillel summarized it best when he said:

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?