The only thing we can’t escape is our own skin

There is no such thing as pure selflessness. Even if there is no direct use to a person, they are not doing it purely for the good of others. They are doing it to feel something and even that is selfish. We join a revolution for the thrill. We join a movement out of guilt. We help someone because that way we can like ourselves better. Society teaches us that selflessness is what makes us good and worthy people. So we are selfless to feel good about ourselves. Compassion exists. But is that really enough to make us move, spring to action?

It’s not a bad thing; selflessness for ourselves, because the effect is that aid comes to those who need it. It’s just that, since we are also thinking of ourselves, we may be tempted to reason with ourselves about the thing we did or didn’t do. And we’ll start blaming others for our failure to act, because ultimately what we want is relief. But if we don’t want to attain relief by helping others, for whatever reason that may be, we must find relief through excuses, lifting the guilt off ourselves through thought. So then those who we might have helped become something other than the victim, somebody who was their own undoing, someone impure, deceitful maybe, dangerous. Ultimately someone unworthy of our help. And hence comes the relief and we’re ok. Everything is ok.

And I am quite sure to must people this is not news. But maybe it’s not a bad thing to be aware of the reasons behind our actions, behind our thoughts and accusations. You can help people selflessly selfishly. You can get whatever kick out of it you like. But when you start making excuses for yourself – just ask yourself – take a step back and look at the bigger picture. This person is unworthy of your help, right? This was inevitable. But how worthy were you in the first place, who are you to judge? You can refuse to help someone if you want. But just admit it, admit to yourself why not. And if you can live with that, fine. We’re ok. Everything is ok.

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