Sunday, December 7, 2008


I've been thinking a lot about selfishness this week (trying to figure out, once again, why I'm such a great guy) and came across this rather succinct description of selfishness from Aleksi Remizov's The Clock:

And to make live livable it was necessary to erect a temple for oneself and to believe in its impregnability, and neither to see nor feel anything else.

That's exactly what we do when we believe we're better than others -- when we believe that the others around us are objects, things to be acted upon, rather than people. We build up ourselves until we ans what we think and what we do (and what we think we do) are perfect, unassailable. Then we think of nothing else.

I guess we are pretty far from Edward Bellamy's idealized world, aren't we?

Yes, I've thought a lot about Edward Bellamy these past few weeks. I've often thought it would be a fascinating thing to live in a pre-Vietnam world (that's the era that turned the United States psyche sour, I believe) just to share, even for a little while, that unbridled optimism. Certainly, that was not a perfect world. If we could have had the desegregation movement without Vietnam, this might be a better place to live. But here I am one little man imagining changes in history that are way beyond his comprehension.

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