Enlightened self-interest is wisdom. Everything has a cost and you will have to pay in one way or another. If you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, I feel it’s better to do what you will and accept the consequences.
It’s often said of past cultures and their practices that we are more enlightened than they were, but I offer that we aren’t any more enlightened. We’re just further down the road.
Many of our modern creeds, value systems, and even world views are actually of very old origin. One such practice (and its actual form is still held to if only psychically these days) is “self sacrifice” a.k.a. human sacrifice. It’s the idea that it’s somehow most moral to offer up yourself for the greater good even if it means your own suffering or death. It’s commonly believed that human sacrifices were forced on a “victim”, but most findings illustrate quite the opposite. And even worse today, we don’t even honour the one who’s being expected to sacrifice something for the tribe, to sacrifice themselves.
Another belief that’s wide spread is in the sacredness of the hunt. It was the pulse of life for humans at one time, and to neglect your role was the difference between eating or going hungry. Also, if a hunt went poorly for the tribe everyone was in the same boat, everyone ate or no one ate. At that time it might have been a moral concern, but in this day and age we still teach that anyone has worth to the degree that they show virtue through might, even though we have long since moved beyond that practically.
Is that why we love superheroes so much? Yes, I would say so, and we have always had superheroes well before anyone thought of Spiderman, or Wonder Woman, or those characters. The ideas are really sort of recycled.
Would that be like idolizing a king or a president? Yes, it is very much like. We still have priest kings, and though everyone denies it, it seems we still want them.
Our culture used to have a shared vision of life. If anything, at one point it was more tightly focused. Americans brag about the country being built by special individuals, but from what I have seen that’s more myth than reality. Every culture on the planet has patriarchal or matriarchal deities, yet in those past eras there was an actual focus, a true centering on the commonly held beliefs. Today, that focus is on auto-pilot.
Every time a culture has grown truly powerful it wasn’t from a denial of Gods or the myths. We are creatures of myth really. They rise when the focus is on one immense vision, a God if you will. There is a reality that is beyond any single mind, but to just dismiss it or to reject what it seems to be, is that really being more in touch with reality? Ancient cultures looked at the world in a big picture way. They saw large agencies at work in the world having power far beyond the human. They had to for survival. They had to acknowledge the presence of these agencies, because they were still there anyway. An idea of what it was is necessary, and still is even in our era, but how far has trusting sterilized science gotten us? With the coming of the enlightenment we were gifted with some serious delusions also. The age of reason has set us into the logic trap, because fully observing logic we can very logically surmise insane things, and we have.
We have evolved technology faster than psychic maturity? Indeed, and this is why there is literally a professional branch of psychology that does nothing more but design interfaces for human compatibility. This is why Windows took off. We ignored the psychic element of life, and what has been the result of that? Machines with no heart. Machines that serve their own purposes, or no purpose, and not ours.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.