Tag: Selfishness (home)

on the greatest obstacles to serving God: "the me and the my and the I"

permalink source: Alicia Chole
tags: Holiness, Selfishness

A rabbi asked G-d about heaven and hell. "I will show you hell," G-d said, and he took the rabbi into a room with a large pot of stew in the middle. The smell was delicious, but around the pot sat people who were famished and desperate. All were holding spoons with very long handles which reached to the pot, but, because the handles were longer than their arms, it was impossible to get the stew back into their mouths. "Now I will show you heaven," G-d said, and they went into an identical room with an identical pot of stew and people with identical spoons, but they were all well-nourished and happy. "It's simple," G-d said. "They like to feed one another."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Heaven, Hell, Selfishness

ON SELFISHNESS & AMERICAN CULTURE "To bring [the Indian] out of savagery into citizenship… we need to awaken in him wants. Discontent with the teepee and the Indian camp is needed to get the Indian out of the blanket and into trousers--and trousers with a pocket in them, and with a pocket that aches to be filled with dollars!"- Dr. Merrill E. Gates (president of Amherst College) "The head chief [of the Cherokees] told us that there was not a family in that whole nation that had not a home of its own. There was not a pauper in the nation, and the nation did not owe a dollar… Yet the defect of the system was apparent. They [the Indians] have got as far as they can go, because they own their land in common… There is no selfishness, which is at the bottom of civilization. Until this people give up their lands and divide them among their citizens so that each can own theland he cultivates, they will not make much progress." - Senator Dawes (author of the Dawes Act, which forcibly divided Indian lands formerly held communally) Selfishness is the root of civilization? Amazing what people reveal about their values in such casual statements. The above would be funny were it not for the whole sad history of government dealings with the Native Americans. The quotes are from "In the Absence of the Sacred" by Jerry Mander (Sierra Club, 1991).

permalink source: Jerry Mander
tags: Contentment, Selfishness, Greed, Values

I have an elderly acquaintance of about eighty, who has lived a life of unbroken selfishness and self-admiration from the earliest years, and is, more or less, I regret to say, one of the happiest men I know. From the moral point of view it is very difficult!...As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity.

permalink source: C.S. Lewis, "God in the Dock, Essays on Theology and Ethics" Grand Rapids, Eerdmans 1970 pp.58-59.
tags: Happiness, Selfishness, Religion

No indulgence of passion destroys the spiritual nature so much as respectable selfishness.

permalink source: George Macdonald (1824-1905)
tags: Selfishness

By Uwe Siemon-Netto UPI Religion Editor From the Life & Mind Desk Published 3/12/2003 5:50 PM View printer-friendly version WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- For Jennifer Hoes, a Dutch student, May 28 will be a doubly exciting day. She'll turn 30, and she'll be a blushing bride -- plus her own groom. In the Trouwzaal, or wedding room, of the City Hall of Haarlem in the Netherlands, Jennifer will marry herself. Bedecked in a wedding gown studded with 200 perfect latex copies of her own nipples, Jennifer will appear before Ruud Grondel, Haarlem's registrar, and promise to "love, respect and honor" herself in good times and in bad, according to Dutch and German newspaper reports. Then Jennifer, her mother, her uncle, aunts, cousins and some other 80 relatives will indulge in a $22,000 wedding feast. That done, Jennifer's wedding garment, studs included, will wind up in the show window of the shop that manufactured it free of charges. Jennifer pretty much acknowledges that hers will be the quintessential postmodern union. "We live in a 'Me' society. Hence it is logical that one promises to be faithful to oneself," she told a reporter of Der Spiegel, the leading German newsmagazine. This leaves of course a number of unanswered questions: Will she fall for the postmodern rage and adopt a double-barreled name -- Jennifer Hoes-Hoes, for example? And what if she ceases to like herself -- will divorce be an option, and which Hoes will get the car? Indeed, what if she should fall in love with somebody else deeply enough to wed him -- must she first send herself packing? In case she doesn't but still says, "I do," to the guy, would this be considered an act of bigamy? Could she go to jail for that? "There's room for two rings of my finger," she said. In more ways than one, Jennifer ought to be congratulated. Intentionally or unintentionally, she is taking the Mickey out of a nutty society determined to deconstruct matrimony, a state most religions and cultures have since time immemorial held up as holy and essential for the health of communities and nations. To be sure, Jennifer's auto-marriage will be a secular event. But, rest assured, it won't be long before some churches and synagogues will give such unions their blessing. To paraphrase Malcolm Muggeridge, there is no cause mad enough not to enlist the services of demented clergymen strumming their guitars. Think of those Dutch, Danish, German and indeed American clerics asking men and men and women and women to kiss each other after they appeared with white carnations in their lapels before the altar. Think of the pastors sealing these unions with the sign of the cross. Think of Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Christ, who in the year 2000 withdrew his signature from an interdenominational "Marriage Declaration" defining matrimony as a union between a man and a woman. At their ordination, all these ministers promised to uphold Scripture, which makes it very clear that marriage between man and woman is an order of creation. It an essential element in man's role as God's cooperator in the ongoing process of creation. Seen from the monotheistic perspective, Jennifer's "marriage" is the quintessence of idolatry; it is a bow before what Christopher Hershman, a pastor and psychologist in Allentown, Pa., calls the "postmodern Trinity": Me, Myself and I. Jennifer doesn't say, but perhaps she got the idea of marrying herself after years of observing same-sex pairs of seemingly identical twins all over the place. If so, she is to be commended. What better way mock a culture, which is so much into itself that its generally youthful exponents -- their mobile phones glued to their ears -- keep banging into you in the street because they simply do not see you unless you look precisely like them. Whatever folly visits Holland will soon cross the Atlantic. That's a rule of thumb. One shudders to think of the ornaments on the wedding gowns worn at one-person weddings and then exhibited in American malls. By God, if any mad event underscores the need for a federal amendment declaring marriage as a union solely between a man and a woman -- an amendment introduced in Congress in 2001 -- Jennifer Hoes's wedding will certainly fit the bill. Look at Haarlem, the Netherlands, on May 28, and sniff the postmodern rot. This might well become America's future -- or, rather, no future at all.

permalink source: UPI News 3/12/2003
tags: Love, Marriage, Selfishness, Idolatry

We had a lot in common. I loved him and he loved him. -- Shelley Winters

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Gender Issues, Selfishness, Vanity

A rich but miserly man who was unloved in his community went to a wise man to ask why. The wise man took him to a window. "Look", he said, "And tell me what you see." "People," said the rich man. Taking him to a mirror, the wise man asked, "What do you see now?" "Behold", said the wise man, "in the window there is glass and in the mirror there is glass. But the glass in the mirror is covered with a film of silver. As soon as the silver is added, you cease to see others and see only yourself."

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Selfishness, Greed

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/17/business/17scene.html?oref=login ECONOMIC SCENE The Theory That Self-Interest Is the Sole Motivator Is Self-Fulfilling By ROBERT H. FRANK Published: February 17, 2005 ... (skipped beginning) [T]he economist's rational-actor model... assumes that people are selfish in the narrow sense... To be sure, self-interest is an important human motive, and the self-interest model has well-established explanatory power.... But some economists go so far as to say that self-interest explains virtually all behavior. As Gordon Tullock of the University of Arizona has written, for example, "the average human being is about 95 percent selfish in the narrow sense of the term." ... Does what we believe about human motivation matter? In an experimental study of private contributions to a common project, two sociologists from the University of Wisconsin, Gerald Marwell and Ruth Ames, found that first-year graduate students in economics contributed an average of less than half the amount contributed by students from other disciplines. Other studies have found that repeated exposure to the self-interest model makes selfish behavior more likely. In one experiment, for example, the cooperation rates of economics majors fell short of those of nonmajors, and the difference grew the longer the students had been in their respective majors. My point is not that my fellow economists are wrong to stress the importance of self-interest. But those who insist that it is the only important human motive are missing something important. Even more troubling, the narrow self-interest model, which encourages us to expect the worst in others, often brings out the worst in us as well.... Robert H. Frank is an economist at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University and the author, most recently, of "What Price the Moral High Ground?"

permalink source: Robert H. Frank, "The Theory That Self-Interest Is the Sole Motivator Is Self-Fulfilling" 2/17/2005 NYT
tags: Selfishness, Greed