There are a lot of frustrating people in this world and most of the time it’s really hard to get where they’re coming from. Deciphering their absurdity is akin to translating an alien language. But hopefully with science, in the near future we sincerely hope we can. So to start off, lemme address the pun in the topic…ASSHOLES! Pardon my French but there are many of them roaming this earth.
Saying asshole in class, at work, in a paper, at a job interview, or even on television could attract stares and get you in serious trouble. So one may ask, who are these special breed of people Mclean speaks so passionately of, to the extent of getting into trouble for them today ? Good question!
According to the global accepted standards, you can call someone an asshole if they’re probably doing something not just stupid and annoying, but mean. But my definition is well-tailored to be less harsh than the accepted meaning. An asshole is anyone who fails to think “as-wholes” and acts selfishly and individually in their own interest to the detriment of others while intentionally disregarding the externalities involved. And today is dedicated to everyone who falls within this specific category.
Like all slang words and obscenities, this is a word you need to be careful about using. It is very insulting and I’m appalled at myself for choosing this subject to talk on( or not)! I’m completely unapologetic because it’s been a long time coming and someone had to say something and who better than this loud-mouth-self-acclaimed writer. Anyhow, for courtesy sake and respect for my geographical location, let me pretend I am appalled.
Disregarding my appalled state, let’s get one thing clear; selfishness is the hallmark not just of human life but all life. We, just like all organisms (myself included), are selfish, working to regenerate themselves faster than we would otherwise degenerate. Each creature’s dedicated work reveals what the creature cares about most, and creatures are most dedicated to repairing, rebuilding, maintaining and reproducing themselves, a selfish pursuit. The genetic self-love is insane but all I am saying is that it shouldn’t be to the detriment of others.
Over the years, from generation to generation, we have been made to understand this a dog-eat-dog world; eat or be eaten. This would have been entirely true if you, the very person reading this right now, descended directly from a monkey or at least have a family portrait with a monkey in it. I have a hunch you shook your head in disapproval. The roots of Darwinism have been deeply implanted in our minds that it is always the survival of the fittest.
Well, the survival of the fittest concept I’m very sure was idiosyncratic to the animal kingdom where animals without the sense of reason had to fight for resources to stay alive because they couldn’t replicate these resources. Why then should this principle be applied to humans with the sense of reasoning and ability to create? It is a tough world and you gotta be really fit to survive and get to the top. I am not asking you to be lazy in the name of mass suffering but just don’t step on others to get there.
There is this myth about success that views success as fixed whole. A common imagery this myth invokes is a pie; “If someone else gets too big a slice, I will get just a sliver.” So we keep thinking wealth itself isn’t created, it’s merely transferred from one party to another and this places a mental blockade in our minds and justifies our selfishness. Sadly, this isn’t how the world works.
Over the long run, the total amount of wealth in free economies grow. We can create wealth that wasn’t there before. The “pie” doesn’t stay the same size. In a free economy, someone can get wealthy, not merely by having someone else’s wealth transferred to their account, but by creating new wealth, not only for themselves, but for others as well.
Many will try to define success in terms of winning out over others, having power over others, or the ability to dominate others. But this type of happiness and influence is short-lived. It will always fade. Nobody is intimately drawn to selfishness. Nobody seeks the wise counsel of a selfish person. Nobody is willing to give themselves up for one who desires his own kingdom above all things.
Selflessness is often overlooked as a key to happiness because, on the surface, it appears to run contrary to the very notion. I mean, isn’t the pursuit of happiness by its very nature selfish? Our lives can be lived for any number of purposes. They can be used to advance a personal kingdom for selfish reasons (money, possessions, fame, prestige, reputation). But our lives can also be lived for the pursuit of justice, happiness, or growth for another person or people group.
So instead of being an asshole today to enlarge your selfish empire, steer clear off your instinctive tendency to be selfish and start thinking “as-wholes” to see the bigger picture and grow some wealth and make the world a better place.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:4)