self absorbed

We’re All Selfish

“Genuine selflessness usually lies in the more mundane of actions. Of course giving 10 bucks to a charity is indirectly self-serving, it makes me feel better contributing to the community. However, getting up at 6 AM with the kids so that my mother might get some much needed rest, is not. That’s because I love my mother and I want to make her life a bit easier when I can.”
~Anirac Morgan

And yet…

“That’s because I love my mother and I want to make her life a bit easier when I can.”
~Anirac Morgan

I’m failing to see how it’s not self-centric.

Nothing you can do will ever revolve around someone else.

There’s a difference between being self-absorbed and being self-centered. There’s also a difference between those two things (both categorized hapharzardly by you and Vandor as ‘selfish’) and ‘true selflessness’. The latter is mistakenly believed to be different because of an incomplete awareness. See the above quotes. Self-centric, despite that you’re not focusing on the source of your actions.

We’re all selfish. Recognizing that is just a matter of self awareness.


(Posted in Happiness & Service ♠ a discussion thread at the Force Academy.)

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Vulgar Displays of Power

The Nature of Power

The only time I ever seem to hear people talk of power is when they’re talking about politics. Or when someone commits genocide. Or else something of the like. I find this hilarious, personally, and I’ll tell you why. The only time they talk about this is when it is a vulgar display of power. It’s almost a profane word in the way most people use it. Me? I happen to like power, in fact I am exercising my power in writing, at this very moment. And these words have an affect; whether you think I’m full of myself and reject every proposition of mine, or you completely agree with what I say. Furthermore, how you react to that power is within your power. It’s your choice on what you take and what you filter out, it’s even your choice to continue reading or, alternatively, to ignore these words.

In the simplest terms, power is influence. It’s hardly exclusive to the politicians and the business executives. It’s comical to me that anyone would believe themselves not to have it. You don’t think your choices have affected what talents you have, what college you’re attending, or what hobbies you pursue? And what about your relationships, do you really believe you have no impact on the thinking and emotional state of people you interact with on a daily basis? You don’t think you have an effect on what your best friend thinks of you? No, you have power. The question isn’t “do I have it?”, but rather, “will I admit that I have power?”

There are what I might call different intensities though, if someone were interested in a sort of classification system. The kind most commonly cited today is, as I said, vulgar. It’s heavy, in your face, and is rarely seen in a ‘positive’ way.

The Role of Choice

Choice is the agent through which power is exercised; and we all have the power of choice, inevery aspect of our lives. Does a drug ‘addict’ have a choice in doing heroine? I would say yes, it was a choice to start, and the physical dependency is a symptom (or consequence, if you will) of that choice. Does a homeless guy have a choice between starving and stealing food? I say yes, because even if in some uncommonly principled man, the principles driving his decision would have been his choice. I could give you examples all day, or you could offer your own and I doubt it’d take long to see where it came down to individual choice.

This is what power’s all about: choice. Fate is a crock, destiny’s bullshit; if this life is a rollercoaster, I’m not just the one riding, I’m also the grunt that makes the tracks.

Ripple Effect

Consequences. When it comes right down to it, there will always be ripples, affects of the choices you make. If you just saved someone’s life, that wasn’t God, it wasn’t a miracle, it was your choice. If you just flunked an exam in your favorite college class, that’s a ripple of your choices.

Seeing power in a different light, almost to the point of trivializing it, is just a matter of accountability, to yourself above all others.

Responsibility

Yeah, that’s right, responsibility. To yourself and, by extension, to the people you care about. I’ve heard people talk about wanting to do whatever they want whenever they want all the way through high school, I’ve heard myself gripe about that to over the years. The only response I have to that these days is pretty straightforward… Everybody has the power to do as they please; the trick is to legitimately figure out what you want as an individual, what your dreams and aspirations are, to put value into saying “I want”.

And once you’ve done that, there’s no excuse. With that kind of awareness, you have responsibility to yourself to make choices and exercise your personal power, moving yourself closer to those dreams you’ve had. If you don’t, that’s your choice to… and it’s a weak one.

Concerning others, they are accountable to themselves to. As self-absorbed as I can be, I am not the only Individual in the world.

“Respect the Individual, not just yourself.”
~Khaos

Returning once more to this lecture as an example, I don’t feel I’m responsible for how you take my words. Do with ’em what you like, I couldn’t force them down your throat even if I wanted to. Power over others is just as much of an illusion as others having power over you, at least in the sense that most people seem to see it.

Vulgarity and Subtlety

Some of the examples, as broad as they’ve been, hopefully point out that those blatant displays of influence aren’t the whole picture. Power, like passion, is a defining point of all life, from one-cell organisms to humans.

Violence is blatant, and there’s power in it; legislative influence affects a lot of people, so it’s easy to see. But take a closer look, and you can see it’s a hell of a lot more than that.

It’s only a matter of awareness. Right under your nose is all the power over your life, maybe more than you would believe. It’s not something you can attain, just something to recognize. The air you breath, it’s there to, even if you don’t acknowledge it. You use it even if your ignorant of its presence.

Solopsism (Richard’s Critique)

On Richard’s Critique

Here’s one way to look at it…

Richard says: Darkness is about the Individual.
Darkie-Wannabe: Everything it about me. Me, me, me.
Khaos says: Respect the Individual, not just yourself.
Richard says: Bah, this is self-centeredness perpetuates the teribble lie that any of us matter.
Draconis says: There is a difference between being Self-Centered and Self-Absorbed. One is effective, the other is self-deceit and self-sabotage.
Khaos says: Respect The Individual, not just yourself.
I say: Yep.

I hardly need to entertain the notion of not mattering, it’s old ground to me; the primary value of Richard’s critique is probably to those that haven’t considered this, so as Khaos said earlier on in the discussion that followed, if you have something different, put it up. Individuals will decide what training they want or need. Diversity provides for people to find their own way, often through violently conflicting, polarized teachings.

Noble Superiority

“There is nothing noble about being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

I have no idea what the context is – I don’t recall actually reading any of Hemingway’s works yet – but I like the idea of this in that the point of reference isn’t outside of oneself, it revolves around the individual alone. Regarding the context of hierarchies, I don’t think it’s practical to ignore some degree of comparison, but it’s relative to the context. It’s a good sentiment for dark siders looking to progress and grow but inexperienced and unaware of where to center their focus at.

It’s a given to the experienced adept though – or so I would assume: one that is experienced surely must have surpassed their former self a good few times, so would naturally be superior to most of his or her fellow men as a consequence. And I think people can reach a point where comparing the self to ones former self is a matter of course, and one can then pay some attention to relevant comparisons outside of oneself without losing sight of one’s Self as the true point of reference in measuring progression.

“A Sith need not compare themselves to others. To look beyond the self before it’s time is to follow an illusion. Comparison is all smoke and mirrors, deamons of the weak self.”
~ Miles Robinson, Sith Lord

(Written July 1st | Edited July 9th | A fragment of my thoughts on comparison based superiority.)