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I was reading a bunch of quotes and such on Pinterest yesterday and I saw a pin that reminded me of some thoughts that I’ve had.
The thing that got me was this idea that in order to be a good, fulfilled person, you have to be totally selfless. Having any wants for yourself is bad and wrong and means you’re not an awakened being. I have a serious issue with that way of thinking. Yes, we should be more selfless and think of others and do good for others, but having no self and no wants is just stupid from my way of thinking.
Let’s break down the stuff on that image, because I have issues with it:
Focus: Self/Others – It’s good to think of and be good to others, but there’s nothing wrong with loving, honoring and taking care of yourself. You also need to focus on yourself enough to make sure that you are doing the right things and being a good person, and you should be proud of yourself when you’re getting it right.
Motivation: Greed/Love – Greed is bad, I’ll give them that. However there are lots of other motivations besides love that can be good, like knowledge, betterment, comfort and so on.
Goal: Money/Experience – There’s nothing wrong with having money as a goal sometimes. It’s not about greed, it’s about taking care of yourself or others using the tool of money. Experience alone is not enough of a goal. I think it needs to go further than that.
Attitude: Cocky/Humble – Okay, I can’t argue much here. I do believe in healthy self-confidence, but not cockiness.
Objective: Power/Unity – This seems vague. Honestly, a lot of these do. But like many others points here, it’s not black and white. Yes, unity is wonderful and it is something we should all want, but power isn’t bad. If you wield power to harm it’s bad, but not if you gain and use it for the betterment of others. You can strive for power and use it to attain unity.
Purpose: Materialism/Family – Materialism in an extreme sense is not good, but this line doesn’t even really make sense to me.
Drive: Pleasure/Understanding – This one bugs me because both go hand in hand. Understanding can be very pleasurable, and taking pleasure in something can lead to greater understanding. I think they may have meant hedonism.
Seeking: Popularity/Truth – I do agree on this point. Truth is far better and more important than popularity.
Obsession: Looks/Health – I take issue with this because an awakened person wouldn’t have obsessions in the first place, because that’s a negative. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good as long as it doesn’t become extreme vanity, and looking good is a natural side effect of being healthy.
Animals: Commodity/Spiritual Beings – They’re both. People are not designed to be herbivores. We need to eat meat and we need products that animals provide. Animals, however, should be treated with respect and honored for all that they give to us, not just used without thought.
Result: Addiction/Spirituality – Yup, addiction is bad.
Outcome: Miserable/Ecstatic – No arguing on this one.
Overall I think a lot of this new-age enlightenment stuff is horribly flawed, and this image is just too vague and inaccurate. There needs to be balance, but a lot of the recent wave of spirituality and self-help is trying to drive people to the opposite extremes from where society is now. It will never work. If we don’t attain balance in all things, society will just keep having problems.