Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Enlightened Self Interest

Someone recently posted in regard to our need to realize that we need each other. Okay, lots of people have posted in that vein recently. It's needed. One such voice that came to my attention is Hildy Gottlieb at (not surprisingly) http://hildygottlieb.com. In one of her posts, she asked the questions: "SO… is a precondition to our living well together that it be more profitable to bring us together than divide us? And if so, what might it look like if that were the case? What do you think?" Ah, someone not only encouraging others to think, but assuming that they already have. I like that.

There were some great replies, among them, mine: "It is imperative that we realize how much more the whole is than its separate parts. Of course, it’s more profitable to all of us to bring us together: If you are sick with a vile disease and can’t get treatment, it is that much more likely that I can catch your disease. My own self interest demands compassion to heal you."

This is pretty much my big, fat disconnect with the greed I see rampant today. Glen Beck is not immune from cholera by virtue of his paycheck and his health insurance policy. Insurance and money don't prevent bad things from happening to you. They only help you pay for the consequences of something bad happening to you - mitigating, perhaps (and I heavily emphasize the perhaps), the dire consequences of catastrophe. Hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes don't seem to give a fat rat's ass how much money you have - well, maybe not tornadoes - they really do seem to hit the trailer parks and small churches with inordinate abandon. Hurricanes, too.

The hard, plain fact remains that it is in my own self interest to want the prosperity of everyone. If you can't take care of you, then I will have to take care of you, one way or another. If your children aren't educated and can't work, then I have no hope of surviving my old age on social security because no one will be paying into it. If no one is building nice houses, how can I ever have a nice home? If you can be thrown in prison for no good reason, then I can be thrown in prison for no good reason. If you aren't free, how can I hope to stay free? If there are people allowed to beat you, how can I be sure they won't turn on me? If you are allowed to be financially devastated, how can I hope to avoid the same?

In spite of the loud sirens of many a mega church today, God does not reward the good with cash. God's favorites, historically, have not been the rich or powerful. It's a hard sell, I know, but there really is more to life than money. There's more to life than power. The next time you hear someone say, it's not personal, it's only business - take a chance. Correct that the person. It's not good business to harm others. It's really personal.

1 comment:

  1. In these times of right-wing loonies speaking of taking America back, this would make a wonderful argument to posit to Tea Partiers.