•    Why Should I Care if My Own Ox is Not Getting Gored?   

    Scales of Balanced Justice

    Why Should I Care if My Own Ox is Not Getting Gored?

    If you choose to accept, as a society standard, the mind-set of the individual who only cares when “his own ox is getting gored” — then DON’T expect anyone to care when YOU get gored and slaughtered within that same environmental framework of callous indifference.

    On the Serengeti Plains, the lion singles-out one zebra from a herd of many hundred, and the lion has his way with that lone zebra — BECAUSE the zebra herd does not realize that their strength in numbers could easily and decisively defeat a few attacking lions. The zebra is an incredibly strong, formidable animal. One zebra-kick to the head of a lion can be fatal. But because a zebra apparently lacks the cerebral resources to figure this out, he adopts a tunnel-vision policy of “every man for himself” and he simply does not care about the danger to all UNTIL he himself is getting thrashed and devoured. By then, it’s far too late to start thinking about the “strength in numbers” safety of the herd strategy.

    Humans, however, are credited with having far greater intelligence than the zebra. But if this assumption of superior human intelligence really is true, why does such a huge majority of human beings cling to a zebra-like tunnel-vision mind-set that says “I don’t care because my own ox is not getting gored?” It’s important that we understand “WHY” because this prevailing tendency is robbing humans of a tremendous, mammoth survival advantage that we would otherwise be enjoying as a species, to insulate humans rather securely from a torrent of life’s real dangers. WHY are so many humans surrendering or obliterating this enormous advantage?

    The answer is, quite simply, a grotesquely distorted, inaccurate perception of ‘self’ and of ‘other.’ The typical individual — commonly self-absorbed and drowning in his own ego — tends to harbor an acutely bloated, lofty, inaccurate estimation of his own wisdom and intelligence, while maintaining a typically low regard for the well-being and intelligence of ‘others’ — whom he staunchly differentiates from himself, as inferior. As a consequence, when such a bloated, dishonest egotistical mind-set encounters a “victim” he most often does NOT empathize with or identify with that victim because he erroneously perceives that victim as being an ‘other’ that is inferior to himself.

    Thus, such a dishonest superiority-plagued mindset assumes, without justification, that this inferior ‘victim’ probably caused his own demise and injuries by doing something ill-advised or stupid which no person of superior intelligence (like himself) would ever do. This rationale tries to justify this distinction between ‘self’ and the ‘other’ (victim) by reinforcing the bogus assumption that “I CAN help save ME by virtue of my superior intelligence, but I can NOT help save the ‘other’ (the victim) — precisely because of their profoundly inferior intelligence.” A compressed restatement of this sentiment would read: “You can’t save people from themselves – – from their own self-inflicted stupidity — so just focus on saving yourself.”

    Every victim will tell you that ANYONE can be a victim — even a brilliant, intelligent genius. The 9\11 World Trade Center victims and their families would tell you “they did not deserve that calamity — they did not do anything stupid or irresponsible to ’cause’ the misfortune inflicted on them.” The families and parents of the little children ruthlessly murdered in the Newtown school massacre know, with certainty, that those children did NOT do anything wrong, or stupid, or irresponsible to cause the tragedy inflicted on them while they were in their school.

    Only a LACK OF Intelligence and Honesty could produce such a “blame the victim” mind-set that doesn’t care until one’s own ox is getting gored. This lack of intelligence “blame the victim” mind-set is sociopathic — in the extreme, and it’s both dishonest and, ironically, self-destructive.

    Ben Franklin understood this when he said, at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” In essence he was saying, “Don’t wait until your own ox is getting gored before you unify forces, because by then it will be too late.”

    Perhaps this typical self-centered tunnel-vision human condition is the natural extension of the national precepts embedded in the American bedrock concept of “Individual Rights” and its lopsided obsession with the supremacy of the individual right to the pursuit of happiness. If one is focused on the rights, interests and well-being of the whole collective of individuals in society — one is labeled a “socialist” or a “communist.” And if one is focused solely on the sanctity and supremacy of the ‘individual’ and his exclusive individual inalienable rights — one is labeled a good red-blooded American who is rightly embracing “The American Way.”

    And this lopsided militant obsession with the supremacy of “individual rights” further alienates us from the interests and concerns of the whole collective society because, as one might expect from a self-centered, narcissistic perspective, the individualist (typical libertarian) reverently worships the sanctity of individual ‘rights’ while militantly repudiating the notion of there being attendant, counter-balancing ‘responsibilities’ embedded in those ‘rights.’ For the libertarian individualist, more rights is ‘good’ and more responsibilities is ‘bad’ — as in anti-American — because it attaches a ‘burden’ to those rights — and self-centric Ayn Rand devotees invariably demand a ‘free lunch’ — i.e. — something for nothing — i.e. — rights without attendant responsibilities. If you try to impose responsibilities on an individualist — expect to be labeled a socialist, a communist, and an unAmerican totalitarian dictator. Anyone who has ever raised a five-year-old is familiar with this mindset.

    What is missing is a primary and secondary educational system that accurately inculcates the bedrock American precept that ‘rights’ necessarily entail responsibilities — just as adulthood ‘necessarily’ entails responsibilities. We can’t go on enjoying the ‘no responsibilities’ childhood free-ride forever.

    Humans are blessed with a supreme survival advantage in this World – Intelligence – and we are squandering it and nullifying it on a mass scale, by allowing our acute, gargantuan narcissistic egotism to utterly distort and falsify our perception of reality, leaving us exposed with a soft vulnerable underbelly. Why aren’t logic and sound reasoning skills taught in elementary school, junior high and high school? Why do educators stress rote memory skills and the accumulation of ‘knowledge’ – as a database of ‘things’ knowledge, while utterly ignoring the logic and reasoning skills that are indispensable for disclosing the vital implications embedded in this database of ‘things’ we have knowledge of?

    Our educational teaching system is obsessed with giving us a torrent of ‘things’ to remember in rote fashion, as though a treasure-trove of trivia database facts is all we need – – – without teaching even the rudiments of logic or reasoning skills necessary to responsibly ‘process’ all that data. In so doing, humans are squandering and nullifying the greatest survival advantage we possess — Intelligence and Compassion.

    We continue to do this at our own peril. We cannot long endure if we continue to allow acute emotional egotism to trump reason and Compassion, while distorting our perceptions reality.


    The Reflecting Pool Discourse Blog



    • The Ayn Rand anthem lives on — “Selfishness is a virtue.”

    • This is precisely the crux of the problem.

      A democracy, and its big brother, capitalism, both breed, cultivate, idolize, reward, favor and institutionalize a self-centered, narcissistic mindset. And they are single-passenger vehicles. There’s only room for ‘me.’ Everyone else has to walk — they’re on their own — because I am not my brother’s keeper. It’s the fanatic worship of the separate, individuated ego-self — devoid of any social \ societal context.

      Now — added to this problem is “The Great Ignorance” epidemic that is endemic to a society who’s members are trapped on a high-speed, lightening fast treadmill that does not permit deep, extensive ‘reflection’ and introspection, and insight and foresight — and so what you’re left with is a society of hyperactive self-indulgent, instant gratification addicts whose horizon of concerns does not extend much beyond the next week or so. A society trapped in the superficialities of Life — as a matter of convenience.

      From this decrepit set of obvious circumstances it is a foregone conclusion that such individuals will, by definition, be anti-social in nature — with absolutely no care or concern for ‘other beings’ or for future generations or for the planet that sustains us all. What toxic irony — that such a self-centered mindset should be so self-destructive. It conjures up the helter-skelter, bedlam & chaos free-for-all image of looters during the Watts riots.

      It’s not a pretty picture. It’s not an environment that any sane person would ever choose for themselves. But damn few are looking that far down the road, i.e., damn few are capable of looking that far down the road — so they do not see the horrific burning-embers ‘Hell World’ they are creating for themselves and their children and their children’s children. Probably because they believe the shit won’t hit the fan during THEIR lifetime — and they couldn’t care less about anyone else.

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