The “selfish” nature

In previous posts, I’ve been talking a lot about what I call my selfish nature. I describe this nature as a force inside myself that is decidedly against my spiritual well being and the good of others. However, I was thinking that to describe this nature as selfish or self-centered is not quite accurate. What activities are self-centered or selfish? I have always associated selfishness as being a bad thing, but being self-centered is good in a sense. If I’m hungry, I take care of myself and eat. If I’m tired, I sleep. If I am cold, I get a jacket. If I’m exhausted, I take a break. So far, these things are good.

So I am beginning to think of this self focus as a good thing and not what we would call “selfish.” Let’s use a different term for this activity and call it “self-care.” This activity seems to me to belong to the same category as eating or sleeping. This is a category of activities that are good in moderation, but become dangerous if overindulged in or done for wrong reasons. I need to take care of this body I’ve been given — keep it in shape, eat good food, keep good grooming habits, go to the doctor when I’m sick, etc. I can also apply this activity of self-care to my mind or my spirit that takes the form of a mental examination. Am I doing ok? I’m I depressed or lonely or unhappy? So how can I overindulge in self-care like I can in eating or sleeping or keeping clean? I will stop at nothing to make myself happy. I work so hard at my job that my relationships suffer. I’m introspective to the point of ignoring the emotional needs of others who are close to me. I believe this overindulgence in otherwise healthy activities in caring for myself is what is referred to as being selfish or self-centered.

As I have said in a previous post, it is not this category of activities that are inherently bad, it is the motivation behind doing them for wrong reasons or not in moderation. The nature behind this motivation, which I have erroneously been calling my selfish nature, is what I want to pull out and examine.

So at this point, I have determined that this nature is not related to self-care or a self-focus any more than it is related to eating and drinking. This is the nature that gives me the desire to use good activities in bad ways to my own spiritual hurt. So it appears that this nature is not self-centered, but self-destructive. Here are some observations:

  1. If I allow it to guide me, I will be in both physical and spiritual danger. It stands to reason that people around me will also be in physical or spiritual danger. I have noticed that I will be in less physical and more spiritual danger if I allow this nature to go unchecked because cowardice seems to be a trait of this nature. For example, I will have the desire to punch someone if they annoy me, but I will not because I am too scared to stand up for myself.
  2. This nature is inseparable from me and is my constant companion in all areas of my life.
  3. If I am mentally lazy about the goings-on of my internal life, the degree of influence that my self-destructive nature has upon my spirit will slowly increase without me realizing it. I should state this again: mental atrophy increases the influence of my self-destructive nature.
  4. This nature appears to erode memory. Any truth I do find and apply to my life will eventually be forgotten if I do not continue to pour mental energy into keeping it alive and applicable. I do not believe forgetfulness is caused by the limitation of my physical brain, but by my spirit choosing to keep the memory alive or not. But realistically, I am limited by our dimension, which alots only so much time and energy to me so that I can only do so much – I am forced to pick and choose what to expend mental energy on, so naturally, some things will fall by the wayside. But I have a choice about what does and does not.
  5. I can compare the search for truth with principles of physical exercise – If I do not continually exercise, I will loose muscle tone and endurance and atrophy away until I become a blob. It appears that my destructive nature is my spirit’s “default” influence in a mentally atrophic state. I can then conclude that my self-destructive nature is my natural influence. It takes effort to be influenced by my self-preserving nature, but no effort at all to be influenced by my self-destructive one. How amazing! It appears that I am designed to be naturally inclined to self-destruct. The law of entropy that we find in the physical dimension is also found in the spiritual one. On a side note, I find it interesting how many aspects of the physical dimension mirror similar ones found in the spiritual. This is not by accident — the two appear to be closely linked in an ambiguious symbiotic relationship. Symbiotic dimensions? Sounds wild.

Anyway, this post is just scratching the surface of an inquiry into the details of my inner life. To go any further into understanding my self-destructive nature, I need to analyze the forces that interact with it — my spirit, and my self-preserving nature. No part of my inner life is an island — all act together with each other and influence each other. So more questions emerge: what part does my self-preserving nature play? What are its qualities? What are the influences that cause these two opposing natures to change or evolve over time? Are the preceipts expressed by these two natures exactly like everyone else’s or are they relative? These are all good questions that need answers.

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