Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Selferosity? Generishness?

personperson Don't believe everything you thinkthe void Veteran

Maybe I'm too big a fan of apocalyptic fiction, maybe I'm just an "always be prepared" boyscout. I maintain a several week supply of canned and freeze dried food and water, along with other disaster supplies in the event of some disaster or disease outbreak.

At any rate most canned and dry goods have an expiration or best by date of a couple years. So rather than waiting for the two years to go by and maybe eating them myself I rotate them out yearly and donate to the local food shelf, around $80 - $100 worth of food.

My conundrum is I'm buying the food for selfish reasons initially, but I am also turning part of that into a small act of generosity. So, to be hyperbolic about it all, am I a good person or a bad person? Or is there the possibility of another way to look at it!?

ShoshinKerome

Comments

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited January 3

    How is being prepared being selfish? It’s not like you’re out stealing can of green beans from the hands of homeless people during a can shortage. Jeesh!

    Donating them is fantastic! If you can, donate some time in the warehouses/ food banks that collect, sort and distribute them to the pantries...it can be some labor, which is why volunteers can be hard to find, but you can can move at your own pace, and it’s pretty rewarding. =)

    From the years I’ve known you here in the NB house.....you’re a good person. Don’t let anyone tell you different. <3

    ShoshinpersonKeromeKundo
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited January 3

    If others less fortunate are benefiting from what you 'believe' to a selfish act ...Then all I can say is keep up the good selfish work ;) ;)

    VastmindlobsterpersonFoibleFull
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I've been running up against this sort of puritanical mindset where things and people are either good or bad, rather than acknowledging the grey we all actually live in. I don't see having emergency supplies as "selfish", it's more about how a puritan might see an act of generosity where I am taking a part (the year of usefulness) for myself and only then giving what is left rather than the purely selfless act of just donating because there is only care with no thought of self.

    To my mind it is purely a win-win. I get the use of the security of having the food and others get the benefit of using the food while it is still good. I'm really just trying to sort out how to deal with this sort of energy in my life, because I don't think I can avoid it while pursuing other aspects of my life.

    lobsterShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think the important and significant fact that you readily, willingly and generously donate stuff means you are not in this dangerous area...

    I am what one might term OCD, in a mild sense, but I hoard 'with reason'. A lot of what I accumulate is non-recyclable and it pains me to send it to land-fill or incineration for the harm it does to the environment.
    a small insignificant gesture, maybe. Possibly futile in the long-term view.
    But as Mother Theresa pointed out, it my be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be lesser without it, by one drop...

    So your cogitation is similarly 'pointless'. Don't look to the rationale.
    If you didn't do what you do, the Food Bank would be one donor less... and I feel your absence would be more significant than my effort's result....

    personShoshin
  • ShakShak Veteran

    Being prepared to the best of your ability isn’t selfish, it’s being a good citizen. In any large scale emergency situation, you can’t help others unless you can help yourself first. You are absolutely doing the right thing.

    personVastmind
  • You are doing something that calms you (beneficial) and is also given to others (beneficial), I think this is good all around for everyone. :)

    personVastmind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I came across a slightly different version of the above quote that adds an important component.

    “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

    Vastmind
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited January 8

    ^^^^ That reminds me of the saying that there is good in the worst of us, and bad in the best of us. Hell, even a serial killer opens the door for an old lady once in awhile.

    @person .... The more you add to this thread, I still feel like you are waaaaaay overthinking/creating this...There is no bad/evil aspect to what you describe in the OP. Am I missing something?

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Vastmind said:
    @person .... The more you add to this thread, I still feel like you are waaaaaay overthinking/creating this...There is no bad/evil aspect to what you describe in the OP. Am I missing something?

    Thanks for your concern and asking the question.

    I'm probably expressing some frustration and being hyperbolic so not expressing my point well. I personally don't think there is any issue with what I am doing, it is more about the energy being passively and perhaps unintentionally directed against my attitude towards the world. The above being an example of an imperfectly selfless act of virtue and thus tainted in some way. I'm encountering a moral puritanical energy where I feel judged for being happily human and not flagellating myself with guilt for being imperfect.

    Again, maybe I'm being hyperbolic, but I really don't have any previous experience with this sort of attitude to gain some sort of nuanced understanding so this is how it is coming across to me.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited January 9

    @person said:
    ...... energy where I feel judged ....

    You feel judged by who?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @Vastmind said:

    @person said:
    ...... energy where I feel judged ....

    You feel judged by who?

    I'd rather not get into specifics. Lets just say its more of a cultural milieu where the attitude is we're the good people and the things we do are the good things and the hoi polloi, of which I share many characteristics, are substandard and worthy of derision.

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    Ok, I hear you.

    person
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @person said:

    @Vastmind said:

    @person said:
    ...... energy where I feel judged ....

    You feel judged by who?

    I'd rather not get into specifics. Lets just say its more of a cultural milieu where the attitude is we're the good people and the things we do are the good things and the hoi polloi, of which I share many characteristics, are substandard and worthy of derision.

    "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
    George Orwell, Animal Farm.

    personKundo
  • One of the things I suggest to the hell dweller on my trade marked picnics to the bad buddha lands, is that generosity starts with not taking ...

    You have to let it all go, Neo. Fear, doubt, and disbelief. Free your mind.
    Morpheus

    personVastmind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 11

    I think maybe another good example of what I'm talking about is my client with the hobby farm I shared some pictures of a few months back. She raises chickens, pigs and cows for eggs and meat. She loves the animals and treats them great, they have happy animal lives, doing happy animal things. But in the end she kills most of them for the meat. The animals have no clue, except possibly at the very end. I don't think I could send the animals off to the butcher, I don't even kill mosquito's and regularly try to save bugs trapped in water or earthworms after a storm. But I'm also a hypocrite and eat meat from the store. If she didn't keep the animals for food I doubt she would spend the kind of money she does just to keep them as pets.

    I see her as a fine and good person, with shades of grey, and she's a Democrat, so points there right.👍 To the moral puritan though she is just a monster.

    “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

    lobster
  • To the moral puritan though she is just a monster.

    Monstrous puritans, absolutists, funded-mentalists, fish fanatics (oops that's me) are all around us. Sutta-uber-alles, extreme cultural dharmaists, Buddha bores (oops again), mindless cushion squashers (oops ...) I think I may be monster [lobster hangs head in shame]

    “The Matrix is a system, Tao. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
    ― Morpheus The Matrix

    person
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I've watched The Matrix countless times but never managed to put that quote into the context of belief systems. It was really helpful to think about it in that way.

    And I should try harder to extend kindness and understanding to the puritans and absolutists, (fish fanatics are alright) and rise above it all. I apologize to the extent that I'm venting my own frustration, I'm struggling to understand and accept this in a generous way.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 12

    I think I've had some insight into this, or maybe not, its a first shot at it at least.

    First, most people are just genuinely good people and don't come with that self righteous, shaming attitude. I think it comes from setting such high standards for themselves, a sort of high minded idealism. I think it has a positive effect in that it motivates to be better. What the other side of it that I'm being reactive to reminds me of, is high school (maybe that's the deeper psychological trigger for me here). I think if some people don't meet their standards it has the effect of making them feel bad about themselves or comes with some internalized shame. As I'm sure many of us know, people who want to be or seen to be cool (good) have another option available to them, that is to diminish others to improve their own relative sense of worth.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    It's selfish in the sense that seperation is illusion so hey, it sounds like a win for all involved to me.

    I like to win so thanks!

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    @David said:
    It's selfish in the sense that seperation is illusion so hey, it sounds like a win for all involved to me.

    I like to win so thanks!

    A useful illusion though, right? 🙂

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @person said:

    @David said:
    It's selfish in the sense that seperation is illusion so hey, it sounds like a win for all involved to me.

    I like to win so thanks!

    A useful illusion though, right? 🙂

    I honestly think so, yes.

    It seems to me that we are explorers by nature and everything is just information waiting to be shared.

Sign In or Register to comment.