Monday, March 13, 2006

Do you turn the lights off?

At an earlier post (Dec. 4th), I spoke about selfishness. Back then a tragic event had provoked me to do so; today, I want to explore selfishness from another perspective and put it in the context of our modern world. My premise remains the same: "We, human creatures, are very selfish: we don't feel grief unless it touches us, we are not grateful for what we have unless we lose it, we worship ourselves leaving everyone else that is not friend or family out. (sometimes, sadly, there is no room for them either in the bubble we have created for ourselves)".

At this very early stage I want to clarify that I do not intend to generalize since there are millions of people, certainly, who are both caring and compassionate. Fortunately. Yet it seems to me that the multitude of problems that our world faces today is to a large extent a consequence of the self-centered behavior of many people (how many I do not know, and it matters little, since what matters are the consequences of their actions). There is no doubt that much responsibility lies with governments and instirutions that make decisions; yet people are equally responsible either because they contribute directly their part to the problem or because they tacitly approve, or still, because they refuse to take action for what they think is wrong.

In lieu of apathy you can read selfishness or any other word you think captures best this behavior. Yet one must point out that this apathy can magically transform into courage and action, if the following condition is met: it has to affect the individual directly. For example you care about the forests if you live in the forest and know that a threat to the trees means a threat to you. Plain as that. You care about the unpolluted beaches of your island if you rely on tourism, cause if you are a tourist it makes little difference to you whether you dispose of your empty water bottle in a trashbin or the beach.

If reading these lines makes you scream, I am glad. Before defending yourself and your values [that would never ever make you one of "those uncivilized people"], remember that these examples are important to consider, even if they seem extreme since they reveal the mindset of many people [you thought did not exist] and more generally the obstacles that we all need to face in trying to solve any such problem.

Often times, we tend to think that there needs to be a revolution or something really big for a change to take place. Yet my take to all this is that each and everybody can make a difference. What is more worrisome to me, is how difficult it is to persuade large sums of people to do something that they see no interest in. Should we come to a day that people will be turning off their lights not because they want to lower their bills, but rather because they want to do "their part" for the environment, then I think that we will be much safer saying that the world is becoming a better or safer place than with any scientific or elaborate plan of action. So why not spending that good money on education?

10 comments:

anjoedemonio said...

Thank you for visiting my blog!! :D

Emerson said...

Hello Anastacia... to have liked the photo. It would like to know you better... Kisses.

Raimundo Narciso said...

Hi
Thank you. So you write in Portuguese!

Anastasia said...

hi rn. no i don´t but i can understand a little if i try hard!

dimitris said...

the modern society is one of competition. you compete at school, you compete at sports, you compete in the family, you compete at work. you learn how to win or how to be a sore loser, or how to pretend you won when you have lost. not admitting defeat. the winner takes it all, the loser is left with the stain. that's how we grow up. we learn how to save our *ss, and that's the main way to survive. reality.

i think there's a lot that we do (or don't) unconsciously in this race to survive and win. and pretty much in your posting you summarise a few attitudes that are a bi-product of this modus vivendi. but well, the main thing is to become conscious that there's other ppl and the world itself around us, and not only ourselves.

there's a lot that we don't care about because we somehow missed having learned to care about it along the way. too bad. and among tragic facts is that a minority of ppl who care are still a minority and have to try hard to awaken and influence the rest.

there's still hope though that we can make a betrer world of what we have.

PS: an interesting site to check: http://www.wearewhatwedo.com/

Ebun said...

Thanks for visiting my site. Well what my take is on your post is you have to change your mindset on things. Folks should start thinking of others rather than of themselves (Living for others) then life will be more meaningful and successful.

Pez said...

Gracias por pasar y que bueno que te guste leerme :$

personalmente creo que todos llevamos algo de egoismo dentro de nosotros, pero lo interesante está en como somos capazes de transformar ese egoismo en bondad :)

Nemo said...

Hello Anastacia. Thanks for stopping by dreamland! I'll be back later, to look over your blog. I'd like to know what fits into those shoes. Bye-

Etchen said...

I really enjoyed perusing your blog!

e.o. said...

Thanks, Anastasia, for visiting and posting in my gallery.
Nice thoughts these in your blog.
Cheers! xouzck

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