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I Like Philosophy

For as many years as mankind has had the capacity of deep thought, the battle between mind and body has been noticed. Both secular and religious philosophers write about how they want to have self-control in one way (mind) and yet instincts sometimes win us over and give us the consequence we don’t want.

I see it as what we want in theory versus what we actually end up doing based on the triggers of our environment. How many times have I said, “No, I’m vegetarian, somewhat, and I don’t eat meat”, but then something smells good and looks good and I eat it? Countless times. I have trained my mind to not be possessive or jealous, or so I think, but then what happens when a person, place, thing, or idea I really really want for ME in my selfishness, fades away? Or how I might speak of self-control and kindness but when someone contradicts me, where are the kind thoughts I once had of them in my mind?

I look at humans as innocent creatures, contrary to what religion or the relationship with a higher power state. Why as innocent? Because at being forced to adapt through reward and punishment to a reality none of us chose everyone feels trapped, trying to keep up, or seeking relief from strong desires that are outside of our control of having. This relief can come in the form of different distractions, hobbies, or addictions to calm the feelings we try to suppress in order to be who we have to be in order to survive with the least pain possible.

If you do this you get a reward... pleasure. If you do that you get a consequence that can bring discomfort. We begin to live our lives seeking what best benefits US. Would we even budge if there was no reward or punishment, or a higher power we try to win over so things go well for us? That is why when I say selfishness drives our actions, it is a valid point. Remember though, that people always want more and are rarely fully satisfied so if you try to put your desires to the side to take on the desire of others to be more “selfless” you will never arrive at actually satisfying anyone. When I say this I mean in the day to day, living with, no facade reality of dealing with those close to you outside of work and appearances. Your desire to be “selfless” is still selfish in that it is your desire that if someone contradicts you will fight for.

That being said, every small effort where we put our own desires aside to satisfy the desires of others to a degree, should be celebrated and recognized by our own selves. The paradox of being human is that one can never escape being selfish, but can only appear “selfless” when we act altruistic in cases where our desire for the survival of others surpasses the desire for our own. Yet it is still a desire within ourselves, it is our desires that drive us.

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