Over the past week I have been contemplating the role of human nature in how we interact with others and behave. I have struggled with the internal debate over the reason some of us struggle against the urge to be selfish to survive. I allowed myself to doubt that my path of integrity was the correct path and look at the situation from a different perspective. I have come to the conclusion that the human instinct to be selfish to survive will allow that person to survive far better than someone who values others. However, if the survival of our species is our goal, then we would need to evolve and overcome the selfish part of our nature to populate.
I think that the optimal course would be to maintain the ability to make hard choices and be willing to use the selfish nature when the situation calls for it. While we live in relative peace, with a society intact, one must be able to overcome the insecurities and fear that feed the base natures that would destroy our relationships with others.
Simply put, being selfish will keep you alive, but overcoming it is how we ensure new generations life.
At the base of human nature is the need to survive. The need to do what needs to be done in order to obtain what is necessary for continued existence. This survival instinct is also what forces people at gunpoint to comply with the demands of their antagonist. Throughout our history there were (and still are) people, entire civilizations even, that had zero qualms about killing others to take what wasn’t theirs just so they could continue to survive. In times of war we kill the “enemy” and take the spoils when victorious. At the core of our nature we would push down an old woman or a child and take their food if it meant we would live another day.
If we are selfish by nature, selfish to survive, then why did we, as a society, develop morals?
The scholars will say we developed morals as a way to build trust when we realized we were safer from our predators and nature when we band together. We had to establish rules that prevented us from turning on each other and allowed family units to form. However, that selfish nature still lingers. As we struggled to suppress it we had to find an outlet. We took that need to defend what is ours at all costs and turned it into a reason to fight anyone that wasn’t in our tribe, anyone who was different. Over the course of human history there have been people who have tried to rise above this nature, have tried to reject it and hoped for a society that thought of others before themselves. The problem is that very few people can overcome nature. Therein lies my quandary.
Right now there is a trend back towards our human nature of selfishness. Many people are out for themselves, taking what isn’t theirs and not caring a bit about how their actions negatively impact others as long as they can get ahead. I think this is happening because on a subconscious level we know there is a threat to our way of life and we naturally want to ensure our own survival. I have been taken advantage of over and over again by selfish people yet I still refuse to “stoop to their level” and that knowledge that I won’t lie, cheat or steal to get ahead is something I take pride in. The issue is, however, that if that ability to be selfish is what ensures our ability to survive, does it mean that I would be the first to die when shit hits the fan? The traits that make me disdain others may actually be the traits that are necessary. Perhaps my way of thinking has been completely wrong and highlights a destructive aspect of society. Who can say what is and isn’t the correct way to live?
If the goal is to survive, is it evolution to move past the selfish nature and find ways to survive without having to hurt others or is it a trait that has been bred into us as a way to more easily take down the weak?
It started when she was young…an observation that sometimes things just seemed slightly off, slightly different. She had memories no one else could verify for events that she experienced, even when other people were part of the memory. When she was young she didn’t dwell on it for long, but developed a deep secret fear of getting Alzheimer’s when she grew older because it seemed to be the closest thing to an explanation she could find for what she kept experiencing.
When she was older she had a brief, but intense, obsession with theoretical physics. With the new information at her disposal she began to rethink her idea of what she was experiencing. She started keeping a journal, strengthening her memory and keeping multiple recollections of her day-to-day activities. Over time she noticed a pattern. A concrete theory began to form, an explanation that explained everything. Unfortunately it was a theory she couldn’t prove and one she couldn’t talk about without sounding crazy.
The theory was that there are hundreds, thousands, perhaps an infinite amount of parallel dimensions or universes, each one with their own signature vibration. With the multitude of choices each person can make each moment of their life it stood to reason that there was a dimension for every possible occurrence. Some dimensions are identical to the one you are born into with only one different choice, the more the choices differ from yours the greater the difference in the vibration signature.
For whatever reason, she could shift between some of the closer dimensions, between the vibrations that were extremely similar to one another. The problem with shifting between is that one different choice creates a ripple effect you can’t predict that can change relationships and the memories of others. Over time, she learned to sense when the shift would happen, the problem was she never knew which dimension she was in until she interacted with others. Over time her relationships started to suffer because she would talk about things that hadn’t happened in their dimension, she would treat them like the people from her true dimension and they would assume she was losing her mind. Over time she started to shift between dimensions multiple times a day until she gave up trying to figure out which one she was in. Over time the shift began to affect her ability to think clearly…the memories from other dimensions started to overlap and she couldn’t differentiate between them anymore. Over time the shift stole her sanity.
“If something is important to you, you will find a way…if it isn’t you will find an excuse”
This mantra has been playing in my head for weeks now, it has become a tool I use to clear away the BS I tell myself when I am trying to justify something. It helps keep me honest with myself, because let’s face it I have been lying to myself for a long long time. In my misguided attempts to not cause problems for others I have neglected myself, my wishes and my needs for almost two decades. I thought that if I showed others that I valued their opinion and didn’t need to always be the center of attention, that they would show me the same respect back in kind…but it never happened. People will get away with whatever you allow them to and they will treat you in the worst ways if you let them.
I need to make myself important to myself again. I need to stop making excuses for why I don’t indulge my creativity, why I don’t start working out again, why I don’t put effort into my personal relationships. No one is going to do it for me. I need to find my motivation to start living again.
Break through the apathy, find the path again, make it habit to believe that in the end you’ll win.