So delighted with a new understanding
Something about a little evil that makes
That unmistakable noise I was hearing
Unmistakeable sound I know so well
Spent and sighing with a look in your eyes
Spent an sweatin’ with a look on your face like
Sweet revelation, sweet surrendering
Sweet revelation, sweet
A Perfect Circle, Thinking of You
I have written before about something I call “Enlightened Self Interest.” I find that expecting people to be as a matter of course to be, unrealistic, in the extreme. Some people will be so, some of the time, but that’s the most we can expect. Enlightened Self Interest, on the other hand, is a strategy (if you can call it that) that has worked for our species for most of its existence.
It goes like this.
When we live within our monkeysphere we interact with the same people over and over, we need them for certain things, they need us, our very survival depends upon being able to count on one another to give when we need it and vice versa. As individuals, we cannot afford to lie cheat and steal because it is obvious and incontrovertible that the people we depend on will respond in kind if we behave badly. Because dealing with the same people every day means that they know.
So… I have always been inclined to behave as best I can toward other people. It is my basic nature. More recently, as I have thought about these things from the perspective of sustainability, community and, well, changing the world, I have undertaken to be very conscious of my behavior, to show the people around me this behavior pattern. To teach by example. I have thought than by doing this consciously, that the behavior would spread amongst those that I am closest too, that by showing respect, caring, forgiveness and generosity, that I would receive the same in turn. Makes sense, right?
Unfortunately, I find that time and again, those closest to me do NOT respond in kind. In fact, they take advantage, they abuse and disrespect, in short, they exhibit the worst behavior, simply (perhaps) because I allow them to get away with it. And knowing this, I continue with my behavior and point out to them what I do and what they do and ask them to reconcile the two. But no matter how much I give, nothing seems to ever change. I find it very disheartening.
So does this mean I should give up on my theory, my efforts, my general behavior patterns? Simply put, I cannot. I would not be who I am if I changed my fundamental nature. But perhaps I do need to change something – and that says to me that I need to be surrounding myself with people that are already more like me. I need to cut off people that fail in these behaviors from the very beginning. I need to stop believing that everyone is salvageable. And when it comes to building a community, I need to be even more selective than I am in my day to day life.
But its hard. Because the very people that have consistently disappointed are those that I have known forever, have cared about forever, and want, more than anything, to see succeed in life in this world AND the next, Fifth World. Many of these ties have been severed, but there are more yet, to go. Unfortunately, including most of my family. Someday I will find a way to either walk away from these relationships entirely… or I will find a way to bring them forward into a new paradigm – but with safeguards to prevent them from destroying me, my dreams and my future. Somehow.