We want to feel proud and better than other people, that they will envy us.
Our egoistic human nature prioritizes self-benefit over benefiting others, making us want to see ourselves in a better position than others. We thus want to show others that we are special and worthy of respect, and we see what lengths we go to for respect.
When our desires developed beyond mere survival necessities for food, sex and family, we then started comparing ourselves to each other, sizing up what we have compared to what others have. Then, our social desires for money, respect, control and knowledge developed.
The desire for respect becomes a major problem as it is behind much conflict in the world. Whether it is a person’s own pride or the pride of one group or nation pitted against others—where that person, group or nation wants more on their side and less or even nothing for the other side—then it becomes clear how our desire for respect, honor and pride brings about so much conflict.
While we can identify the problems that come with this desire, what we need is not to try and make it smaller or eliminate it in any way, but to redirect it, i.e. to change what we respect. When society values people solely according to their contribution to society, we will then necessarily strive to think and to act in favor of society. If we get rid of the awards that we give for individual excellence, and instead respect each other for our concern that we express toward society, then we will want to win the respect of society by wanting to do good to each other.
We will then gradually come to feel that expressing altruism or unselfishness toward one another is a special and sublime value in and of itself, regardless of the respect that we receive from such an inclination. In doing so, we will find that altruism is a source of perfect and unbounded fulfillment. Moreover, we will find that such an attitude is nature’s comprehensive law, which controls and sustains us.
Based on the videos “Why Do People Pretend Their Lives Are Perfect on Social Media?” and “The Needed Shift in Human Consciousness” with Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. Written/edited by students of Kabbalist Dr. Michael Laitman. Photo by Josh Rose on Unsplash.
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