Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Struggle Against Self-Entitlement

"Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark."
-Carl Sagan

So this is something I've been really struggling to get out of my system for quite a while now. I'll be lying if I said it's not a losing battle.

Someone I know once said that there is no greater disease to society than the (misplaced) sense of self-entitlement. I argued that perhaps apathy was a good contender, but then again not giving a crap is most likely because of an inflated sense of self importance anyway.

I see this in myself as much as I see it in others. We, subconsciously or otherwise, always expect a bigger cut of the proverbial cake. We think we deserve special treatment. We think society automatically owes us something for everything we do. We have this deeply ingrained mindset regarding a system of 'reward and punishment' that it is rare for us to do what is right without any sensible reason.

We see it in the person who cuts in line because they decided they could get up late and expect to get to work on time. We see it in the beggars who complain when you only give them a small amount of change. We see it in the traffic enforcers who let people cheat the system for some money. We see it in the pickpockets and muggers roaming our streets who believe that what they do constitutes earning a living. We see it in the common laborers, who think that drowning their sorrows in alcohol is a reward for their hard work. We see it in the people who give themselves (and are often given) priority because they command a higher pay grade. We see it in the illegal tenants who will fight to the death for land they do not own. We see it in the corruption that permeates the government we are supposed to trust with our hard earned money.

It is a fact that selflessness is only attributed to heroes nowadays. And with a society like ours, those who are willing to sacrifice and uphold what they believe in are usually deemed expendable.

It's been said that the high road is a long and lonely path. We've been questioned why we still do things the hard way when there's an easier one. What people don't realize is that when a flood arrives, only those on the high road will have dry shoes.

But then again, I don't know. I'm done with metaphors for the moment. There's just something about the moral norm nowadays that disturbs me.

We can always hope, I guess.

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