Monday, October 29, 2012

Pursuit of Self Interest



     The arguments for and against selfishness will play out over the next couple of hundred years, as they have over the past couple of tens of thousands of years.  And in the next couple of days the arguments for and against selfishness will probably be thoroughly ignored.  As a continuum of opposites here is the argument's status, as I see it today in the Cathedral that attempts to give thinking legitimacy through definition of meaning through language, which is the Cathedral of Donkey Brays that enable a head to nod in that knowing way as though truth itself was revealed, and awesomeness all around.  At the one extreme of this continuum  of selfishness, is the idea of 'enlightened self interest.'  It's this concept that traditionally grants a morality to Kapital, or Free Markets or whatever flavor you wish to give the current incarnation of Western Society. The concept contains an understanding of our species which includes a 'farsightedness,'  which I will define as a look into the future of 'me.'  The 'enlightened' part of 'enlightened self interest' offers the assertion  that the future of 'me' is conditioned by the future of 'others.'   If they do well, I do well.  Therefore at this extreme of the continuum, the future of 'me' is wholly dependent upon furthering the interests of others. 

    At the other extreme, is what's called 'rational self interest.'  This is the current philosophy legitimizing the meaning of selfish for the political right here in the United States, and which offers an understanding of selfishness, as an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of simply being Human.  It looks back into the past and sees  all that is wise and wonderful and worthwhile as products of purely selfish acts.  And it sees the benefit of these selfish acts as trickling down to others, as byproduct.  Therefore, the future of 'me' is wholly dependant upon the selfishness of others. And here, like so many others, I absolutely blame the selfishness of others for such monstrosities as the telephone, hardware stores that sell plants and a banking system that produced Direct Deposit..   For those still interested, what's sometimes referred to as "unenlightened self interest" is also defined as "myopic greed."  A sin, that up until recently I thought was one of those character flaws the Christian communities would continue to abhor, and I still weep along with Jesus at the memory of how deluded I have been, and I too am inclined toward the theological view of a wrath-filled and bad tempered God, a smelly footed man, who keeps Jesus chained in a basement on the off chance that poetry becomes useful again.


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