Does Kindness overcome Selfishness?
“There’s a confusion in each of us, a sickness, really: selfishness. But there’s also a cure. So be a good and proactive and even somewhat desperate patient on your own behalf – seek out the most efficacious anti-selfishness medicines, energetically, for the rest of your life.”
George Saunders: a graduation speech
He reveals the human foible, but then shares its cure. What a good man!
I worry so often for my own, so well put by Mr. Saunders, “confusion”.
I’ve written poems about it even. My attraction to Things. My selfishness in buying and spending.
I had another one of Mr. Saunder’s quotes about being open and always willing to make mistakes as my Facebook cover page for a while. Obviously, I have been comforted and enamored with TWO of his quotes. Still, I still haven’t finished his admittedly wonderful book, “The Tenth of December”.
At any rate, in both of his quotes, Mr. Saunders is acknowledging humanity, in all its foibles and triumphs.
But really? Mostly foibles.
I still cannot excuse myself my vanity of the self, my love of Things. I like that I could CALL it a “confusion”.
And maybe that’s all it is. I am confused, I have some money, so I decide to invest in another outfit that honestly does not look that good on me anyway now that I am older and less, shall we say, svelte?
I have in fact straightened myself out on that count, in that I realize I don’t look great in these fantastic clothes I am buying myself. With this newfound wisdom, I am happily planning on NOT buying so many more clothes.
So as to whether I’m too fat to deserve more clothes.
As to whether I need another chai latte.
I worry about my selfishness, in all this whir of buying and spending.
I am blessed. I am loved. With that I celebrate. I will, as Mr. Saunders exhorts, “seek out … anti-selfishness”. I don’t know what form this will take. But if it is only to be more kind to people I usually try to avoid in my life. Or if it is just to notice, or even smile at, a fellow struggling human. Whatever it is that will take me to overcome my confusion.
And now, to finish Saunders’ book? Yes, my next goal. Both being kind and reading are plausible feats for me, the spender.