Thursday, October 25, 2012

THE INEQUITIES OF THE SELFISH

And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I lay My vengeance upon them.

— Ezekiel 25:17

The shit Samuel L. Jackson lays down before busting a cap in Pulp Fiction? A Tarantino fiction, of course. Ezekiel 25:17 is a short and sweet verse, nothing like the soliloquy that SLJ spouts. Pity, that. The Tarantino/Jackson version is so much ... cooler, you know?

Especially the part about the inequities of the selfish. I have been selfish in my life, at times. I am ashamed at the memories of being so self-centered and uncaring for how it made others feel.

It's easy to blame selfishness on the vagaries of youth, but that's bullshit. I've been selfish (at times) throughout my life. It's a human condition, not confined to the vigorous silliness of people in their teens, their 20s, their 30s. Richard Dawkins is right: we are born selfish.

Likewise, there have been times when selflessness ruled my world. It's easier now, of course; a face-to-face with mortality does that to a human. But I remember being selfless, even as a young(er) man, and it's such a sweet feeling — it always helps me see there is much more to the world than my own interests.

You cannot impose selflessness on others — how selfish is that? And it's impossible to reason with someone in the throes of their own selfishness. All you can do is sit back and hope for the better, and you only do that when there is real love for the other person. You — I — want them to see the light because you admire and respect their heart.

This is what I do now. I sit back and hope. Not without a healthy dollop of cold-eyed reality; sometimes, the other person doesn't want anything more than an easy, selfish life. But giving up is never an option for me. Even if it's only in the Bible According to Taratino, the lesson resonates: Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness.

The selfish people in my life right now are not weak. But they deserve charity and good will. And love. All the love and selfless patience I can muster.

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