Why I'm writing this
In a time of "trigger warnings"; I thought it a good idea to jot down some of mine. These are the words people use very freely, that make me want to slap them. This post is a public service announcement/warning in regard to potential future discussion we might have together. I may pin this list to my shirt, as I go about my daily business. I need my "safe space".
No one deserves anything. To believe otherwise, is to say there is some cosmic bank account, and you are the person who determines debits and credits. There isn't, and you don't.
You can try to go down the "rights" line of thinking and say each human "deserves" some basic human rights. But if you start down that road, you have to ask, "Who gives these rights?" Traditionally, the two answers have been either "God" or "The State".
- If it's God: can you prove it? If you can't, it's a pretty flimsy arguement to hang a heavy thing like you basic rights upon.
- If it's the state, then they can't be rights at all: they are a gift. They are given to you by another person, or group of people. And if that's true, they can easily be taken away. If they can be taken away...they aren't rights.
So you see, you deserve nothing. So be grateful for any kind or pleasurable thing that happens to you, as you didn't deserve it.
The only time "Fair" actually means anything, is when it has rides and cotton candy. Fair is of the same mindset of "Deserve", in that it assumes some master account, by which all actions and consequences are compared to determine justness. There is no such account.
All we have is subjective viewpoints and perspectives, and each one is different. If you pull your viewpoint back far enough, "fair" becomes a joke. Are plate techtonics fair? Is it fair that some planets have more moons than others?
And even if you zoom your perspective in real close; "fair" is still silly:
- Is it "fair" that a rabbit is eaten by a owl?
- Is it fair if an owl starves to death because he doesn't catch a rabbit?
I'd argue that the subjective term of "fair" can only be used from a non-objective perspective. And when you do look at things objectively: fair doesn't exist. Things are, or the are not. No "Fair" about it.
Practical is the opposite of principled. It means you will always do what is pragmatic, over what is right. That is not to say that many times, the practical choice is not also the principled choice: many times it is, or can be. And that is also not to say that it is always an "either/or situation". Many times a compromise solution can be the practical and principled choice.
But when it comes down to a situation when a person is given a choice between "practical" or "principled" - and there is no middle solution - the practical person will necessarily act only in their own best interest. It's not practical to injure yourself, for something that might be principled. To make the principled choice is to make the principled choice: regardless of any harmful consequences you may personally suffer. A practical person, would not be capable of making a principled choice, if it was one or the other.
Greed gets us out of bed in the morning. A "greed" for more life. If you didn't want more of it: why bother at all? Even if you give your life in service to others: you do so, because you feel the benefits of doing so, outweigh the disadvantages, and this makes you feel validated. You have a greed for that validation of being a good person.
Every good and bad act humans do, is based in greed. Therefore, greed itself can neither be "good or bad" and that is most often the context in which it is used. Greed, (like "fair" and "deserve" above) is purly subjective. But in this case, it's a little more insideous.
Greed seems to be more dangerous than "Fair" and "Deserve" beause with "Greed", someone else is passing a judgement in a negative connotation. They are saying the subject of their judgement does not "deserve" the good things they have because of an arbitrary comparison and judgement in regard to what other have or should have (from the perspective of the judgement maker). That gets dangerous, expecially in a situation where one person can impose their will on another.
For me, "greed" is alost synonymous with "passion". To have a greed for all things in your life, is the same as having a passion for those things. And although too much of anything can be bad, most people would agree that having a passion it typically a positive thing in a person's life: not a negative.
Comfortable = death. To have comfort, is to not strive for more. It's the lack of "Greed" or "passion". It's to be accepting of your padded existance you have made for yourself.
- Tell me about the last great piece of art or music that has been produced by a "comfortable" artist?
- Tell me about the latest great athlete who was "comfortable" with their times and physical conditioning?
- Tell me about the innovator, who feels "comfortable" with their latest creation and believe that it can't be any better than the latest version?
To be comfortable, is to be functionally and societally dead.
And this is actually, a much larger problem for Americans today than you might think. It would be hard for me to write enough about this subject here to fully explain my theory, but perhaps considering just one question will be enough to help you begin to ponder how much effect comfort has on our society.
What if instead of striving for "comfort" in our lives, we set our goals on "discomfort"?
I know it sound crazy to strive to be uncomfortable, but just Imagine if everytime we felt "comfortable": we gave it all up, and stepped back to a place of struggle again. What might that world look like? Would we grow as people, more or less in that environment?
It's interesting to consider a world were people would voluntarily give up being "comfortable". What a paradigm shift that would be!
Humans don't respect comfort. Humans respect and admire struggle. For example: Who do you respect more?
- A person who rises from disadvantage to success?
- A person how is born into advantage and stays advantaged?
So to strive for comfort, it to strive for disrespect and distain. Does that seem like a logical goal for a human life?
*Definitions courtesy of Merriam-Webster dictionary online: http://www.merriam-webster.com