Thursday, June 8, 2017
--- Notes on self-centeredness ---
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Humans are conservative. I guess it's evolutionarily advantageous - change is bad because it requires adaptation, but then there's Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety. There's a balance required between avoidance and acceptance of diversity.
In my life I have seen a lot of change. The world forces change on us.
When Martin Luther King was looking for support, he traveled north to Chicago, hoping that he would find a more friendly environment. I remember the reports. What he found was a whole new level of virulent hatred. I lived in the South through most of that. Maybe we changed or maybe we didn't but things certainly changed around us.
Many didn't change, obviously. They just squirreled their animosities away. Probably at home where they could rant at leisure, because with the advent of the Trump Administration, they evidently thought that they had found new license for hatred.
I lived through the age of Gay acceptance. When I was in college, homosexuality was still in the DSM as a form of mental illness - now it's vanished and people rarely ever think about it. There was some rhetoric about the Bible, that book that Christians seldom read and rarely study. But most of what I heard was rhetoric about "our way of life."
And so, back to Mr. Wilde's quote above. The tacit assumption is that, if we allow others to live the way they want to, we will not be able to live the way we want to.
America is a melting pot - it always has been. Diversity has been the norm.
Maturity brings much change into a person's live. We are born selfish creatures. A baby wants what they want now and every other thing in their environment is there to supply their needs. It has to be that way because babies can't supply their own needs. But we can't continue to live like that. Other people do not want to be our overseers. They have their own lives to live and, where we do have to rely on our neighbors to a certain extent, at least we must rely on their good will, we are expected to be self-sufficient as adults.
There has been a serious disconnect. Where, even 50 years ago, when I was a child, people had to establish relationships with others in their world for purposes of survival,. Now, security and self-validation is drawn from technology and we feel that we no longer need others. It's a delusional security and I'm afraid that we will be disabused in a most inconvenient way.