Before that, however, we need to finish the talk on “the greater good.” Those are very dangerous words.
Self-sacrifice is more than the root of low self-esteem, it is anti-free enterprise and consequently anti-humanity. When the living energy of productive citizens is sucked from them by the parasitic herd, what incentive is there to remain productive? All innovation and development stops and everyone loses.
You have the herd, organized religion, and the government all telling you to be selfless, and take care of others. And if you buy into this crazy shit, you are doomed to a life of lack, misery, and frustration. Of unrealized dreams, and settling for mediocrity.
Adopting self-sacrifice as a virtue enables others to take advantage of you and, practiced long enough, selfless behavior ultimately destroys you. You have no purpose in life, other than placating others and seeking their approval. Which you can only earn by giving up your own happiness. This is sick, twisted and dysfunctional.
Now every time I discuss this someone trots out the argument of Mother Teresa, Gandhi, etc, as that somehow negated the logic. It doesn’t.
If you see your main purpose in life as serving others, you have an extremely low opinion of yourself, don’t believe you are worthy, and will experience a tremendous amount of lack and limitation in your life. Not to mention that you’re probably personally responsible for the founding of at least three Co-dependents Anonymous chapters!
Insanity is a lack of reason or good sense. We could certainly define it as unsoundness of mind to render a person unfit to maintain a relationship, or look after his or her own needs for emotional well-being and survival. People who spend their existence worrying solely about the needs of others and not themselves are not noble, benevolent, and spiritual. They are just crazy.
“Go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here.”
And because they don’t look after their own needs first, they really can’t help others in a healthy way. They can console them, participate in their drama, or enable their co-dependence, but they can’t offer them real, meaningful help.
Or to repeat an oft-quoted line from a character in The Fountainhead, “To say ‘I love you,’ one must first know how to say the word ‘I.’”
I believe your highest moral purpose must be your own happiness. Because this is the only healthy, sane way to live. And the only way that ensures the survival of the species, and the well being of the most people. In fact, it is the only honorable way to conduct any relationship.
You must not sacrifice yourself to others because that is depravity. Depravity because it is a certain state of moral corruption and degradation. It is sick, a sure symptom of mental illness.
Don’t get me wrong. You will sometimes sacrifice and help others I hope. I’m writing this blog from a dentist’s office, having brought a friend here who needed emergency surgery. (Two root canals. So if anyone ever deserved some compassion, it’s him!) Certainly most of you would do the same thing for your own friends. If you were able. But if you are scheduled for your shift at Burger King, you probably couldn’t get the time off.
In fact, to quote Mother Teresa herself, “To be able to give, you must have."
When you have your own happiness as your highest moral purpose, you have a productive – and moral – reason to exist. And here’s the important thing...
If everyone did this, the world would be a much better place! Instead of dysfunction, depravity, and codependence, we would have healthy, functional, value-for-value relationships. No one would be asking others to sacrifice yourself for him or her, and you would behave the same way. That is the way healthy relationships are done.
This leads us to the issue of self-esteem…
A sane person understand that if they sacrifice themselves for others, they will diminish and degrade themselves, and ultimately be of use to no one. Now this leads us to the next question that arises for many. Namely, what about love and relationships?
Love is an expression of your self-esteem. And an expression of your deepest values. You fall in love with someone who shares these values. And if you truly do love someone, it means that they bring happiness to your life. Or in other words, you love them for purely selfish and personal reasons! (Because if you weren’t in love for this reason, it wouldn’t make sense. If you were in love for selfless reason, it would mean that you would get no joy or personal pleasure, and are there simply for self-sacrificial pity for that person. That is not love. It is dysfunctional craziness.)
That doesn’t mean that there are not millions of people who would accept that kind of sick, superficial love. There are. But those are the people living lives of quiet desperation. They merely want to suck the joy, life and energy from your body. Then, when you are as lifeless as they are, they will be content to know that you share an equal misery.
In a healthy relationship, you choose the person you love, and you fall in love with them because they bring happiness to your life. This is the highest compliment and honor you can ever pay another human being – that you love them for the selfish reason of the happiness and joy they bring you.
Let’s go back to the issue of serving others, and giving to charity. There is this belief (Often fostered by governments and organized religion) that you have a moral obligation to help those less fortunate than you. Nothing could be further than the truth. This is the kind of belief that keeps people ignorant, sick and broke.
If you live your life by the principles we are discussing, you very well may help others and contribute to charity. Hopefully you do. Personally, the number one deduction on my tax return for the last fifteen years has been charity. And I anticipate it will remain so for the rest of my life. But there are three criteria for this:
1) The person or organization is worthy of the support.
2) I can afford to do it.
3) It brings me happiness to do it.
That alone is what determines on whom and where I spend my charity dollars. It certainly has nothing to do with who is the “neediest,” or what causes are politically correct.
I support a great deal of causes. The Opera, symphony, my church, wildlife funds, disease prevention and cures, homeless shelters, runaway shelters, and scholarships. Computers for aspiring entrepreneurs, stage clothes for upcoming singers, and martial arts training for foster kids. Academic scholarships, sponsoring amateur sports teams and holiday presents for hundreds of kids who wouldn’t have got any.
But I did all this for purely selfish reasons. For the happiness it brings me.
And that is where this all leads to. You know exactly what brings value to you, and furthers your purpose, which is a life of happiness. It means accepting that you are supposed to be happy and working towards that end, without guilt. Refusing to give in to guilt rackets that are practiced on you.
Which is not to be confused with Hedonism. Which is where we’ll pick up next…