So we must then embrace our individuality, knowing that if something is our own personal truth, none might ever tell you that you are blatantly wrong for it. No thing in this world is more powerful than that which we perceive as truth -both as it relates to and for ourselves- and it is exactly this that we must always strive to cherish and celebrate… in essence, giving to the entire world the gift that comes in our very own uniqueness.
It is indeed a most tricky balancing act to excel at successfully pulling off – to try and manage an unabashed, unapologetic stance celebrating ourselves, both fully and completely, for who we are along with what we stand for, at the same time as we pursue the sorts of humility, charity and selflessness in the understanding that those needs of the many genuinely do outweigh those of only the self. In this, however, the realization also comes that the greatest gift we might offer this world is who we are; offered up as it is unflinchingly and wholeheartedly, all the while often putting others ahead of that very same self.
It can take a whole lifetime (if not needing far longer still) coming to do this effortlessly and unthinkingly as little more than second nature to us, as we indeed seem to have a natural instinct of weighting those distinctly personal interests far above and beyond those that instead might benefit only total strangers, no matter how many that tally of unknowns might inevitably include. And yet, we must come to this with an understanding of what our own lives would be like if others did not live in this particular way – if only achieved by living it in some way or another. Stop and envision what life would be like on this Earth if everyone just lived only for themselves, and absolutely no one else… try to consider what if everyone who’s ever had a meaningful contribution, discovery or invention had simply kept it all to themselves out of baser self interests?
Where would we then be as a people right now, if living in just such a world? One where, let’s say, the miracle of transistors as a solution in technology over those massive, behemoth vacuum tubes never comes to pass, as it instead gets obsessively kept only for those few who invented it? And then, none of the further improvements by countless others regarding those same transistors happens, meaning the exponential miniaturization of computer processors does not take place over the last half century and change, much as it has.
Not only wouldn’t we ultimately be living in this miraculous modern age with all our incredible digital gizmos and doodads, enjoying lifespans continually being expanded ever more with each successive generation, we’d instead all still be living in caves doing battle with sticks and stones over even the smallest of conveniences or more favorable territories.
Throughout my writings, I often reference how we only stand on the shoulders of giants – being as it is the sum total of all human endeavors over all of human history itself. Well, in the world of the selfish egocentric mindset, rather than marvelling at the sights atop that most stratospheric of towers by standing on the backs of all those who have come before us, we’d each and every last one of us be firmly entrenched on terra firma standing only on our own two feet – and nothing else – while desperately seeking to knock all others off their feet, and constantly attempting to prevent them from doing likewise to ourselves!
I mean, would a single one of us truly want to live in the kind of society which exists in a complete and total “Doomsday Prepper” land – wherein all might look out only for themselves, and furthermore merrily throw all others under the proverbial bus… largely just for giggles? Realizing that it is a constant game of zero-sum conflict (meaning that what harms another benefits you, and so vice versa), so if one isn’t presently engaged in one with that person over something, then they probably will be one day… so why not live like today is that day already?
Of course none of us would possibly ever prefer living in that kind of world! In this we can also easily come full circle, back around to one of the oldest and most essential ideas to all of human civilization, just the same as it holds true for all of humanity: Do unto others as you’d have done to yourself. If we don’t want to live in constant conflicts and struggles -a truly Hellish land of total, absolute selfishness- then we must always put the good of the many above that of only the self.
Because here’s where the potential “incentive” for doing so kicks in: If a world exists where everyone looks out only for themselves, then there is only one person looking out for your own interests: You. Maybe extend this to close family and loved ones, but even there, they might always favor numero uno at day’s end, when it comes right down to it.
Ahh, but in the world of unwavering selflessness over selfishness? Well, you thusly find yourself working for the interests of the many others in place of only those of the self! Except…! Suddenly, in the eyes of everyone else on this planet, you are one of those “others” to them – meaning now, instead of one person putting your interests ahead, you’ve got seven *billion* who are potentially doing exactly that!
I just mentioned how we’d all be living in caves, with a world where everyone kept their own discoveries, inventions, improvements and knowledge strictly to themselves – but unfortunately, while ideally this might one day occur effortlessly and solely through ideals of selflessness, today most all such gifts bestowed by the contributions of others come only through a lens of a decidedly personalized focus. It is in fact this that’s precisely why capitalism has proven such an incredible and superior thing over all other similar such forms: It promotes putting the wider interests of the many others above those of only the self, but achieved by embracing -and actually exploiting- the solely egocentric worldview.
With the promise of monetary rewards -currency that trades in the efforts and labors of others, earned as it is by “hawking” those efforts and contributions you yourself have to offer to the wider “pool” of mankind- we find diametrically opposed ideals actually harmoniously coexisting, drawing strength from one another in mutual support for otherwise polar opposites. Capitalism sees the good of the largest number of people in fact getting pursued, but fulfilled by first guaranteeing the more egocentric mindset everything they could ever possibly want in life. It manages to provide for *both* of those otherwise conflicting concerns, and therefore the good of the greatest many comes out ahead by continually finding the self rewarded in such capitalistic societies.
Likewise, we should even now aspire to further evolve and ascend past needing such tempting lures to be used as proverbial bait for giving the egocentric all they could ask for. We should commit to such an advancement by realizing just how much we *all* stand to gain in the process -how much better our whole entire world would be made in so doing. If further reasoning is required, one can look for confirmation of all this by comparing various historical and more modern “success stories” with immense failures in these regards, instead.
For example, America has risen to the pinnacle of human civilization this past century, both by being capitalistic and embracing the great big “melting pot” society. Everyone from the whole world over coming together, and providing all they offer as their own unique strengths to serve the very greatest conceivable good.
Yet it all boils down to simple numbers: The greatest possible good that can come to yourself is in a world where the largest amount of people are looking out for/championing your interests. When you often try to place the interests of others over your own, it leaves you with billions putting *you* ahead in place of only one person doing so: Yourself.
Even so, we should desire doing so for loftier, much more humble ambitions: Not because it ultimately benefits oneself all the more, but because it’s quite simply the “right” thing to do here. Yet this admittedly does not come naturally to us as we have a deeply instinctual urge of egocentricity, mired as it is in notions of survival in a dog eat dog sort of world. It is something we almost have to “train” ourselves to do, all the while done precisely in order to show that we can indeed rise above – nurture besting more primitive nature; man overcoming all struggles in order to become the very best we might ever hope to be: Doing that which is right simply because it’s what’s right, listening to our “better angels,” as it were.
By training ourselves in just such a way, we might further ascend into a more utopian kind of world, transforming us as individuals into far better people – the innate light of the so-called human “spirit” defeating all else standing in its path. Our world today -where we’ve managed to travel to the very heaven’s above themselves, with technology connecting us all and making our lives all the better in the process- stands as proof positive of just all we can achieve when we strive to work together for the common, greater good. It is in precisely this light that we must continually pursue bettering that same world and improving ourselves all the more, both as a society/civilization and as individuals.