Sunday, April 18, 2010

Altruism and the Boy

I was surprised tonight by someone. Someone I suppose I shouldn't have been startled by, yet it still happened. I was about my business and this person commented something cutting, on the fly, while they passed.

I wondered at it, wondered at the action this person took by venting such spleen, marveled at the fact that a change, any change, had elicited such a reaction. Why?

Is it the economy? I realize folks want more for less in today's market; it is that way straight across the board. That housing, retail, service industry, shareholder profits and cost cutting all add up to a great strain on people working in them. These all are great places to catch the pulse of a nation under financial duress.

These financial woes trickle down to the lowest man; do they justify foul language and callous attitude? Do the daily pressures the bottom breadwinners feel justify such action? Could the incident I had today be justified in any rational way?

I realize the path of the human heart is a maze. Through self-talk we justify anything. Through auto rationalization we embrace our actions. These combine over time and the experience builds our reality.

But how do these realities and our pseudo-empiricism mesh when brushed up against another very different cognizance on how life works? And where does the responsibility lie in the teaching?

As I age I see how patterns of selfishness in my past led me to believe in a certain reality. I realize I could simply justify my own actions or even insert substitute actions to suit my need. I rested at night on a pillow of my own naive invention.

I am by no means altruistic; reader please realize this fact. But I wonder at what point does the teacher painfully lead the learner along a path that will only result in odium on one of their parts? Does the teacher owe the student the pain that will bring them along the path to self-enlightenment?

Prometheus knew the price of fire, yet he gave it to man. What if Narcissus had been warned by that same sage? If in fact Prometheus had explained that pains of the liver were worth the realization that self was not the ultimate and only creature? Brought the child to the realization that the results were worth the possibility of eternal daily agony?

Narcissus, dear boy, hearken to my sage-like words. Your pains to come from today will teach you something if you will see it.

I hope you can open your eyes and behold it, despite the very possible pending anguish.


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