Johnny Atman

Psychotherapist & NLP Trainer,

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In order to live a more inclusive life, we need to investigate what makes us live exclusively.So, what is selfishness?

Living an exclusive life can only benefit the individual and not the whole. As such, the wholes is exploited by the individual, for their own purpose. In doing so, the individual acts with impunity, thus the existence of dictators, tyrants and the like. Can humanity turn around from the brink of extinction?

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    Oct 22 2013: there are different kinds of selfish...
    1)parasite=all about me and no-one else
    2)vain=it's all about me because i say so
    3)introspective=it's all about me being happy before i can help others

    what makes a dictator or tyrant is not a simple as exclusive livity.... it can be anything!!!

    NO, we cannot turn around from the brink of extinction: the earth needs to get rid of us to restore balance and harmony
  • Oct 28 2013: In order to live a more inclusive life, we need to investigate what makes us live exclusively. So, what is selfishness?

    Our society values specialness and because we value specialness we live exclusively. We want our inclusive relationship to be very special, for example, my relationships with my spouse, family, and friends are special because these relationships are inclusive; they exclude everyone else. I want to be special so I want these relationships to remain special and exclusive. A special relationship excludes you from my “special love”, and my inclusivity/exclusivity makes my relationships special. Specialness allows me to live inclusively and exclude the rest of humanity.
    I want to live exclusively so I can feel special. To be special there has to be a difference between you and me. Only in sameness can we live a more inclusive life. Only when we see the value of sameness will we let go of specialness, separation, exclusiveness.
    In my opinion, selfishness is when we allow ourselves to be limited by our Individual Identity, when we do not value the sameness we all share; there is no “We” when we value, “I”.
  • Oct 23 2013: In another post, you define selfishness as the idea that each of us is separate from the rest of humanity. Here you have reframed that as a distinction between exclusivity and inclusivity in our attitudes and actions. The leap to tyranny is not so clear to me.
    It could be argued that tyrants aren't less aware of their connectedness to others, but hyper-aware. That is, they require the service of a great many others in order to meet their needs. The problem is that they do not feel any responsibility to repay in kind. They need the connectedness, but do not honor or nurture the relationship.
    You have written before about balance in relationships, also; and I agree that balance is necessary. Again, though, it could be argued that all relationships are balanced in the sense that there is an agreed-to exchange. What we call imbalance is in who gets to define the relative values in the exchange. When a tyrant gets to define values, he says "give me all your loyalty, wealth, subservience, and so forth, and I will let you live with whatever you have left." Tyrants are overthrown when the people they rule come together to collectively re-write those values and refuse to make that exchange.
    Most of us live fairly inclusive lives, I believe. We at least try to seek out relationships where the value of our exchanges are more fairly balance. Tyrants are the exception, not the rule.
    So how might I define selfishness? It is the act of seeking exchanges with others, in the mutual meeting of our needs, in which we can control the value of the exchanges so that we receive more value than we expend. Why? Because we have learned to form relationships with others who have learned that they must give more than they receive in order to get their needs met.
    Both tyrant and subject must relearn their relationships in order for anything to change.
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      Oct 26 2013: Obviously our definitions of connectedness are different, and that's ok. Connectedness means inclusiveness, not destructiveness. And relationship, to me is not shop-keeping, but a deep and intimate connectedness whereby my neighbour is as important as me and I honor that. Our current way of relating is needs based, but I propose to all that there is a deeper relationship that is not need based, as the need based is superficial and a capitalist notion if anything. Of course wen have needs, to eat, to work, to play, but these are used to control the masses, by controlling the supply and demand, and here is where selfishness comes in, whereby a small number of people withold access to goods and services to the rest of us. Tyrants are those who use fear to control, including religion, all sorts of isms, ideology etc. I invite people to look deeper at what unites humanity rather than what divides, as the latter we know it well.
      • Oct 26 2013: Our definitions of connectedness aren't so different that I can't work with connectedness as the positive and supportive interaction you propose.
        But why would you want to reduce human need to impersonal shopkeeping? Humans are extremely complex beings and some of our needs are deep and intimate, and inclusive and involve honoring all aspects of the universe and our connection to them.
        Also, humans don't simply meet one need at a time in a simple capitalistic exchange. We multitask. If I purchase food to meet my biological needs, I can also choose to pay more to get organic, sustainably grown and harvested foods that come from farms where the land and those who work it are respected and supported. In addition to feeding my body, I can feed my soul.
        For me, some of my most important needs have to do with discovering who I am going to be in the world, and how I can make a difference. We cannot do that without making honest, authentic, healthy, nurturing relationships with other human beings. And when we do that, so do the others in the relationships. That's the kind of exchange in which people help each other get there most deep, intimate needs met. That's the kind of connectedness that makes the kind of difference that you use connectedness to mean. And they are every bit as much exchanges as the more crass, capitalistic ones.