I've never heard it put quite that way before, but it's very true.
This is why I don't need religion; because I understand this. Religion, to me, appears to be a pale, politically-motivated substitute. Why have religion -- why need the fear of retribution? I refuse to live my life based on fear.
(Interesting side note -- that's probably why many Christians I know (including those in my family) were afraid of terrorism and of losing their security. They have been living with the fear of God all their lives--even if they don't admit that it is a fear--and that way of thinking comes naturally to them.)
This also hints at an explanation for me of my own behavior. Specifically, why I am only very weakly motivated by money, power, prestige, etc and why threats, orders and rationalization have never worked well with me.
I don't fear things that could hurt me, because in every potential for hurt, there is a potential for growth and expansion; for learning things, and for bettering myself. Masochistic, I know... but it's far more enabling and useful than it is masochistic. We'd never learn anything if we were completely comfortable in our lives. There has to be some change--some upset--every so often that forces us to change. Otherwise we would spend our lives stagnating and wasting away, oblivious to everything but ourselves.
Perhaps paradoxically enough, it's a self-centered way of growing. By focusing on myself, and placing myself in certain situations, I can learn and grow. Along the way, I can meet people, we can compare notes, and hopefully learn from each other. I think that's what friendship is about... free exchange of information and ideas to the benefit of all.
Scary... I've been taught my entire life to place others and of the group ahead of myself... but when I think about it, what seems to make me happy at least some of the time is "enlightened" self-interest. It feels wrong just to be typing this; the warning bell is going off inside my head saying "wait a minute, you're supposed to be a considerate person who thinks of others' feelings!". I don't know where to draw the line between taking care of myself, and taking care of others.
You need to take care of yourself, before you can take care of others. Start with self, and work outwards. It is wrong to put others first, because you have nothing on which to build; you have nothing to give. You start with nothing; and whether or not you realize it, you're the one who builds up from there. The logic makes perfect sense, yet somehow I still don't like it.
So, what are you going to do, Des?
This is what I've been stuck in lately. This is the loop that has been occupying my thought processes for the past few weeks, I think... and I'm finally able to express it in terms of social contexts. It's coming unravelled, but slowly.
The next step is, figuring out why the self-first concept bugs me, if I really reached the right conclusion here, and then deciding what to do about it. Thoughts on this topic are welcome.
Update: This just kinda went off on another tangent that I wasn't quite expecting... yeah... the original point of this was supposed to be that I need to be self-motivated, but part of being self-motivated is taking care of yourself. I got a little stuck on that because I don't generally do a good job when it comes to taking care of myself, and that's probably why I've been having issues lately. I don't actually expect any of this to make sense. ;)
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