Welcome to Chuck’s Place, where Chuck Ketchel expresses his thoughts, insights, and experiences!
Today, I explore the concept of self-interest on different levels and from different angles. I observe a general consensus by governments that countries should act in their own self-interest. I have always been struck by this notion. Is my self-interest as an American more important than that of a citizen from another country simply because I live here? What if I lived there? Is suddenly the self-interest of that other country more important than America’s? And if my American self-interest hurts another country, is that okay because I’m more important, or visa-versa? I suppose I have always had the same problem with “family.” Are the needs of my family more important than any other, simply because it is my family and I should think of our needs first? This notion creates a world view of limited resources that must be competed for; may the stronger person/family/country win, or take all!
The other day I heard an interview with the Dalai Lama where he quite directly stated, “I am a Socialist and a Marxist.” These two words are perhaps the worst American curse words that have been employed to vilify and destroy unwanted “enemies” or competition for years. Yet, I think what the Dalai Lama is suggesting is that there is a different approach to the world, beyond self-interest, that considers the needs of all and recognizes and values all life on earth as an interdependent whole. I think it is time we recognize, as a planet, that the evolutionary dictum, survival of the fittest, has, in fact, evolved into survival of the conscious, whose charge it is to lead and act in accordance with true planetary needs, beyond self-interest. The suggestion here is not an “equal” distribution of all resources, but decision making based on the true needs of the planet as an interdependent whole. I argue that whenever a decision is made solely on self-interest the rest of the planet suffers and is thrown off balance, as it must absorb this one-sided action, which impacts the whole.
On an individual level, self-interest is, generally, ego-driven and is, in fact, the major driver in most human behavior. When I say, ego-driven, I mean the ego alienated from the true needs of the overall personality, or another person; that is, a separate entity operating independently, in its own self interest. If we are honest, most communications and actions are attempts to advance our own needs, our own cause, or our own point of view. Actually, I believe that the same fears and concerns for survival that operate on a national level are at the root of most human interactions. The fear of not having enough to survive and, ultimately, the fear of death, lead to compromises in relationships that violate the true needs of the self. This also leads to predatory and nepotistic social interactions generally covered over with polite, caring overtones, but nonetheless, driven by vampiristic self-interest. Fear of not having enough sparks hoarding and dishonesty to secure the survival needs of the individual. Manipulation and deception, the darker side of advertising, are used to gain advantage, control outcomes, and serve the survival needs of the individual or separate entity.
On an individual level, the question to ask is: What truly serves the needs of the SELF? I use the word SELF in the Jungian sense here, as both the comprehensive whole and the center of the overall personality. This is distinguished from self, as identified with ego interest, which lacks consideration of the personality at large. In this paradigm, the ego is to the SELF what any individual country is to the whole planet. If an individual opens up to the true needs of the self, or, as I would say, is aligned with their spirit, then ego illusions, or self-interests, disappear as the truth emerges. When the truth emerges the ego is charged with right action in alignment with the self, as opposed to ego action based on self-interest. Here the ego acquiesces to its rightful position as an important member of a greater whole.
I believe we are at an evolutionary crossroads where survival requires the conscious transition from self-interest to SELF-interest. We must strive to align our decisions and actions on this basis. We must detach from the ancient fear of annihilation based on scarcity, with its necessary corollary, cut-throat survival of the fittest. We must shift to the awareness that we are energy beings who get all that we need to survive through intent. The energetic law of attraction, which is based on intent, is a fact, however, in order for it to conform to SELF-interest, we must act responsibly. If we intend to attract what we want at a fragmented ego level then we exploit energy for self-interest. This was well demonstrated in the manipulation of energy that swept the world in the well-packaged phenomenon, The Secret, which made a few people very rich by feeding off the egoistic desires of the many. Even at an intentional, energetic level, we must acquiesce to the true needs of the spirit, which might require that we suffer to achieve our soul’s tasks. To evolve, we must face the true reality of our soul’s journey and its current requirements, whatever they be, pleasure or pain. If we stay attached to the self-interest of the pleasure principle over all as our inherent entitlement, we remain trapped in ego illusions.
Accessing our selves and our powers, as energy beings, frees us of ancient fears, but still challenges us to serve the energetic needs of the SELF in truth, not in self-interest, as individuals and planetary citizens.
As always, I am open to discussion or comment. Should anyone wish to write, I can be reached via email at: email@example.com
Until we meet again,