June 08, 2004

Why must individual self-interest/motivation and active consideration of greater community benefit be mutually exclusive?

Certainly, in most familiar contexts, these two do frequently counteract each other - the current environment seems to tend toward the extremes of each, making such counteraction much more likely - but "frequently" is neither "always" nor "necessarily so". Interestingly, this contrasted polemic perception becomes stronger as the societal emphasis on the primacy of the individual grows ... as acceptance and even active embrace of the anarchical ideal grows?

Why must their need be more important than my need?

Examined more closely, this statement often translates more precisely into "Why must their need be more important than my want?" We have come a long way from the days where filling one person's need took directly from another's - I do not say always forward. Perhaps it is precisely in the lack of personal acquaintance with survival-based need that the blurring of conception of want/need began to occur; until finally, in an environment of absolute individual primacy, there can be no distinguishing between need and want, either for "me" or for "them": either on "my" side will - must! - always outweigh either on "their" side. Whether or not it is a basic survival need or not makes no difference whatsoever: for where to actively work toward any greater community benefit is seen as negating individual self-interest, any aspect which does not work toward individual benefit must necessarily perceived to work against it.

Why must actions taken out of consideration for others rather than out of individual self-interest be symptomatic of self-hatred?

"Self-less" may be the most dangerous word countering human social evolution, with "altruism" running a close second. It defies common sense that a person would not act out of their own best self interest. Obviously, someone so deluded must not care greatly for their own self - probably even self-hating. Why else place the considerations of others above oneself? Certainly there are a few isolated contexts in which precisely this is true ... perhaps more so in Christian and to some extent Islamic environments than among any other single religion, although no modern organised religion is completely exempt.

(Even if Nietzsche blindly refused to consider any beneficial outcome of Christian community, there remain some very valid reasons to see some interpretations of Christianity as inherently "poisonous": although these are possibly caused or vastly amplified as a result of its Gentile teachings having been inextricably mingled with de Tocqueville's democracy and Weber's capitalism: possibilities forever truncated from their associated ideals by a deeply-rooted reluctance to peer too closely at the current realities: much preferring to leave them a happy, bifocalled, Monet Impressionistic blur. Always, what is said will tell us more about the speaker/'s social environment than about the speaker's topic ... so what does this blog mirror-image reveal about me?)

And yet: how simply the seeming paradox of relative value of self-interest and community interest resolves, if only what is to be understood by Self expands to include just a little more than the isolated individual!


Smile of the day:

Two men were out on the ocean in a boat, when one of them began drilling in the bottom of the boat. The other, aghast, exclaimed: "What are you doing? Stop drilling!"

"It is all right," said the other. "I am only drilling on my side."

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