The popular understanding of human nature is that we survive by our wits. When under pressure or in panic, a person's survival instincts kick in — manners and civil conduct evaporate when people look-out-for-number-1, as the saying goes.
There have been more than a few articles about the "crowd mentality" at sporting events, rock concerts and riots that somehow gives rise to crazed stampedes of people, who leave the trampled, helpless and injured in their wake. Witness also the behavior of parents racing down the aisles at Toys-R-Us when the latest "must-have" toy is strategically released at midnight on some strategic day before December 25th.
Admittedly, those situation are extreme. But in any non-extreme situation, Civilized Society dictates that we polish our manners and self control.
So what went wrong in 2003?
THE NEWS ECHOES FROM THE PAST
Back in 2003, this story made the headlines. It showed the world selfish behavior gone evil — a gruesome testimony to our society's decline. That was 4 years ago. How many other headline horrors have we seen since then?
|Teenager charged with murder, spiking friend's soda with cyanide.
ELLICOTT CITY, Maryland - 1/9/03 (AP)
A teenager was charged Thursday with first-degree murder for allegedly killing a romantic rival by spiking his soda with cyanide. Police said Ryan Furlough, 18, laced his friend's drink with the poison as they played video games in Furlough's basement in Ellicot City in suburban Baltimore.
||If you need to, you can read the details. It will open in a new browser window:
The Washington Post
CBS News online
Admittedly, "Shocking news" has been around as long as there has been news, but this one really reaches the outer limits.
Be glad you are not a selfish person.
More clearly: Make sure you are not a selfish person.
Even more clearly stated: Please, dear reader, please begin to do things in your daily life that moves you away from selfishness, and towards kindness.
THE PROBLEM DEFINED
The battle we all face is to curb our lower animal nature, and use our educated mind to behave like adults. That's what God wants from the world community — that's what God demands from the Jews. But, without humility in front of God, the notion of world peace, brotherhood and civilized society is really a fantasy.
- "Selfishness" is where the problem begins
- "Insensitivity" then numbs the heart
- "Greed and Desire" follow, validating most any behavior
THE DEPTH OF THE PROBLEM
As the world's professionals & experts study global problems and work to solve them, they don't consider God's providence, and won't admit to His complete and absolute authority over the very world He created and sustains at every moment. They're missing His message completely. God sends problems and suffering to teach humility — to make us admit we need Him.
It's an admission few people will make, because the implications are major. If God is real then the Torah is truth. If the Torah is truth it means people have to live accordingly. It means people have to adjust their perspectives, behaviors, lifestyle and life goals to accomodate God's desire for humanity, based on His higher knowledge of what has true value and what will bring lasting excellence to mankind.
The concept of God having expectations of mankind — of the Jews — isn't popular in many circles; many find it annoying. But God is isn't like "the guest who won't leave you alone." God owns the house, owns the city, owns the Earth, and created this all for His own purpose.
YOU are the guest, yet He sees fit to keep you around, waiting patiently for you to acknowledge Him, create a relationship with Him [prayer, sometimes with tears], work with Him [follow the Torah precepts that add holiness to the world], and live with humility, realizing your ultimate destiny is in God's hands, not yours.
I GET IT -- NOW LEAVE ME ALONE
Most people just want to be left alone to enjoy themselves. And God leaves selfish people alone. The Jewish mystical tradition teaches us that if a person is self-serving and thinks he decides his own fate, God leaves him to navigate the world without His higher guidance and help. That's a rough road.
It is only by virtue of God's meta-physical guidance and protection that the Jews have outlasted every great nation that has tried to eliminate us. For a selfish person lacking humility, some days seem pleasant, other days are maddening — and he sees no rhyme or reason to it all. He is more alone than he knows.
THE SUMMARY AND A SOLUTION
We all know civilized society is important.
So why are wrong-thinking people disrupting global life with shootings, beatings, crime and terrorism? We'd have to say their lower, animal nature has taken control. They act to satisfy their desires instantly.
Where else can we see the desire for instant results? All over the world.
Email is instant, fax machines are instant, scratch-and-win lottery tickets are instant, product rebates can be instant, microwaves heat in an instant, video games let you kill characters and they come back to life in an instant, Internet is instant, online messaging is instant, fast-food fills your tummy in an instant.
SELFISHNESS IS INSTANT -- YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL NOW
- You can have a parking space right by the front door of the supermarket even though you should leave it for the handicapped.
- You can play your stereo as loud as you want, even though it annoys your neighbors.
- You can wear any kind of clothing you want, even though more modest attire is appropriate.
- You can get angry when you want, use foul language when you want, gossip and talk about anyone you want.
- YOU CAN HAVE YOUR FRIEND DEAD NOW BY SLIPPING HIM SOME CYANIDE if he gets in your way (link to news articles on this above). Impossible to fathom.
Going on the understanding that God made this world and therefore knows exactly what is going on in this world, what do you think God thinks of selfish people?
What do you think?