Room Inside a Box

"There is no room inside a box." ~Doug Pinnick

Location: Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, United States

I started this blog as a soundboard for some much needed therapy during my separation with my wife throughout much of 2005. It was truly a blessing to get my thoughts out there through the writing process. Thankfully things have worked out between us. I would have continued to blog, but ever since I started my teaching career, I have found it impossible to do as much blogging as I would like to. So now I hope to periodically post as time and energy allow.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

We are Always Selfish

We are always selfish. Even when we are being “kind,” we are doing it for ourselves so we could appear kind. It is because we want to be kind. And we want to be kind in order to get someone to love us, or give us something, or think of us in a certain way. Everything comes back to us because as a human our innate goal is to take care of ourselves. Every goal is ultimately about what we ourselves want. Even if you intend on doing something for someone else, it usually comes out of a need of our own.

Our empathy is also given out based solely on our own lives and experiences. You put yourself in someone else’s shoes because that is the only way you could feel for them. Doesn’t that seem extremely egotistical? It has to be about us and what we feel. Sure, you feel bad for a little boy in New Orleans who lost his mother and their home. But your house isn’t in a hurricane’s path. You will never be there. Is that the reason why some men cannot feel for a pregnant woman who decides to have an abortion? You know you will never be there.

Even when we know that someone else has gone through what we are going through, we still feel alone. Alone in our excitement; alone in our sorrow. That’s why we make such a big deal of weddings, divorces, illnesses, funerals, births, miscarriages, job promotions, etc. They are big in the scheme of our lives. And perhaps rightly so. They mean a lot to the person going through them, but to everyone else, it can’t be understood. But therein lies the wonder of it all: anything that has happened to someone else could happen to us, but we don’t care until it does. Is that a protection? Perhaps naivety? If someone’s parent gets cancer, we say, “Wow, that’s too bad.” We may even feel empathy for a moment, but it doesn’t crush us until it is our parent. We watch the devastation in New Orleans and Texas and think, “That’s too bad.” We may even give money to the Red Cross, but do we really feel for them? Probably not. Because it is not happening to us. Not me. Not my life. I will never be there.


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