TED Conversations

Johnny Atman

Psychotherapist & NLP Trainer,

This conversation is closed.

How can a human being overcome selfishness, the idea that one is separate from the rest of humanity?

In an action, we usually have a target (goal) a means to achieve that (a method) and resources. Should one of the components be out of line, or not supporting the other two, the action would be a failure as harmony would be broken. So every component supports the others, every component lives for the others. When this alignment is achieved, the Archer is satisfied, releases the arrow from the bow and the target is hit. How can we live for one another and align our hearts for the benefit of all humanity?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 24 2013: Selfishness is a funamental human characteristic in humanity's fight for survival. But amassing far beyond what one's needs are, necessary takes away from others and impovrishes them. If only the welthy, corrupt, greedy would have the intelligence to realise that ultimately they will suffer as a result is what may ultimately bring wisdom. But probably not before we have ALL fallen first!
    • Oct 25 2013: I disagree, if someone amasses vast wealth it does not take away from others or put them into poverty. It's wrong to use the word wealthy along with corrupt and greedy, wealth can do more for humanity than poverty.
      • Oct 27 2013: Responsible financial wealth is a good, otherwise it deserves to be treated as corrupt and associated to the condition of a sickness related to uncontrolled greed. Poverty is man made, we could fix it.
        • Oct 27 2013: Again, I disagree, it's not up to anyone to judge what another person does with their own wealth, many wealthy people choose to take care of their own families only as a way to contribute to society.
      • thumb
        Nov 3 2013: 'It's wrong to use the word wealthy along with corrupt and greedy,'

        This is no matter of 'wrong' or 'right' in which context the word wealthy is used, as our general understanding and usage of this term is usually connected to scarce material items.

        We would not consider ourselves or others to be wealthy of anything which comes free or abundant, therefore wealth is intrinsically connected to its distribution and concentration, as well as to the ways and means to get there.

        By this, even statistics suggest that corruption and greed is one if not the most promising way to gain control over scarce items, because not any wealthy person has worked hardest to get there. I would provoke to claim even the opposite, as our current system of wealth, which is based on money, comes with an inbuilt anomaly, that scare items (money) concentrates itself (wealth) out of itself (interest rates), which from a certain quantity onwards disconnects the process to gain scarce items (money) from the usual necessity of personal labour (work) to concentrate it (wealth).

        A lucky heir who gets some million by chance does not need to do any work all of his/her life if he/she is smart, clever and lucky enough to let his/her 'wealth' concentrate itself and to live of its 'extra'.

        And as humans are naturally inert beings and rather like to do what they like doing, instead of hard and/or boring labour to earn their living, the collection of this 'critical' wealth is considered desirable in most societies, and what is highly desired yet scarce, will attract 'negative' forces to get it, and it does.

        And as there are neither fair nor equal starting conditions in this race, wealth has and always will be used to protect itself and to collect itself even further, which in return often nurtures and attract additional 'negative' forces. And thats why it is more than valid to say, that wealth comes alongside corruption and greed, because it often does. To often for my liking yet it ts observable.
      • thumb
        Nov 3 2013: '... it's not up to anyone to judge what another person does with their own wealth'

        I think it is on anyone to judge any behavior of another person which is destructive, either to that 'anyone' directly or indirectly to 'society' of which 'anyone' is part of.

        Given an example from the current banking crisis, it is of course to judge by taxpayers (anyone) when their bail out money used to stabilize 'to big to fail' banks is partially used to increase the wealth significantly of a view top bankers, being still 'rewarded' by a bonus.

        First of all, we (anyone) would not expect to bail out any private company within capitalistic market rules, and secondly, we would rightly expect that a bonus payment is only related to positive achievements, which, in the process of a bailout, is obviously absent.

        It should also be of 'anyones' concern and 'judgment' within a society, when wealth is used to manipulate the process within a democracy, by promoting personal interests via financial capital and against the interest of the majority. That our given 'systems' allow for this to happen, is obvious and observable in many cases. Therefore, it is the right of any democratic citizen to 'judge' '... what another person does with their own wealth', as it comes with negative consequences for others in many cases.

        If wealth, as we know it, wasn't capable to manipulate, as we know it, I would agree with you. But the fact that our 'system' allows for this to happen, is reason, that anyone has the right to judge what goes against their interest as individuals, as well as against the interest of the society they life in.

        And even though this story is as old as 'power' got connected to 'wealth', it still is as valid today as it was then. And this especially in democratic societies, as those choose for 'everyone' to be their souvereign and not for any other 'power' than those of the people themselves.

        And when wealth interferes with that, it got to be judged and avoided.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.