Tag Archives: Human nature

“Self-interest is the enemy of all true affection.” — FDR

It’s 4:48 am, and I have a potentially life-altering day tomorrow, so I will keep this barren.

Waiting for my bacon and egg breakfast this evening, I flipped idly through a complimentary copy of the National Post.  Three articles grabbed my attention.

The first told of a 70-something man who was robbed by two guys on the Toronto subway.  He called for help, and even gave hobbling chase after they took his wallet.  Nobody in the busy subway car showed the slightest concern.

The second told of a man in New York who helped a woman in need when she was attacked on the street.  He was stabbed by the attacker for his trouble, and lay dying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood for almost an hour, while people walked by, took pictures, but did nothing to help.  Kitty Genovese all over again.

The third was a feature piece on the historical slave trade in Africa, and outlined how, in truth, 9/10 slaves were captured and delivered to the coast by other Africans, who sold them to Europeans to make a profit.

Three shining examples of humanity at its most self-interested. I don’t suppose it’s reasonable to blame people for being coldly self-interested – we must look out for ourselves after all, and there is great historical precedence for rewarding oneself at the cost of others freedom.

By the same token, a rat can not be blamed for being a rat – for eating garbage, shitting all over the place and spreading disease.  But it’s still a rat, right?

I think we all agree that the world would be a nicer place to live in if we somehow found a way to truly care about each others happiness and health – to love the ‘we’ more than the ‘me,’ so to speak.  It’s funny that we can agree on something so simple and straightforward and good, and yet materialize immediately as a pack of filthy rats, fighting over scraps of rotten meat, and shitting all over each other.

So are we humans behaving like rats, or rats behaving like humans?

Peace and Love


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