Selfishness, Unselfishness, People, Mosquitoes, and Rare Birds

There are people who believe that “everything we do is for a selfish reason”–and on the surface they’re sort of right…but look more deeply and it’s far more complex. They often use some variant of the transactional psyche concept–that everything is a natural exchange for something else–as a rationale for predation. Selfishness in itself is not a viable life philosophy except for mosquitoes and ticks.

Yes, a great many people do engage in selfish selflessness: “I must go, no time to chat, I’m needed at the food bank” and really they’re saying, “I’m a really good person, have you noticed?” They’re volunteering out of vanity. (Better than not volunteering at all, of course.)

Of course, some people may be boastful or show offy about volunteering, but also have empathy and genuine kindness. Some people are a mix. Most volunteering, in a genuinely good cause, is a fine thing.

But there are people who are innately kind, or who learn to let compassion flow from some inner wellspring–from a place connected to the aquifer of consciousness itself. They’re on a path. They don’t dismiss their efforts–they’re wise enough to shed false humility, another form of pride. Kindness flows from them, partly out of benign social instinct, and partly because that’s who they’re becoming, more and more. Those people are rare, but they exist, and rare or not their very existence is quite significant indeed…

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