Ahimsa - The Science Of Peace: SELFISHNESS

Published: 14.01.2009


Taking a step further towards understanding violence and finding ways to avoid it, we find that when human sentiments evolve into mutual relationships, social rules are born. The primary rules are based on sentiments. These sentiments then evolve into rules that benefit the whole society. With the increasing complexity of society, new dimensions are added to these rules. With this increase of complexity comes a greater probability of confrontation or struggle. But at the root of all struggles is the selfishness and ego of the individual. Once again, as it evolves from the basic survival instinct, no one is free of this selfishness, not even religious leaders, social workers, or activists. When individual selfishness arises within a group in any manner, it gives birth to struggle between the individuals comprising the group, and the group’s functioning as a cohesive unit gets disturbed. Also, when outside conditions start influencing inner sentiments, contradictions are born, but it is difficult to avoid such interference and influence.

What is the method of completely avoiding such struggle? This is an almost impossible goal. Still, it is certainly possible to reduce struggle. One solution is to suppress selfishness, but this is obviously more easily said than done.  It is easier, comparatively, simply to compromise with selfishness. But this, too, carries the risk of going wrong, because the process of compromise is itself adulterated by selfishness. We tend to seek compromises that benefit only us. It is a natural sentiment and cannot be just wished away.

In social life, the most effective solution to the problem of struggle is to find ways of ameliorating or redirecting selfishness. We should develop the attitude that it is difficult to satisfy those selfish goals that collide with the goals of others. Therefore, we should pursue those goals that are common and have little or no chance of conflicting with the goals of others. Competitive opposition should be tempered. However, for this to happen, the established definition and vision of development have to be changed drastically. In the prevailing vision of development, competition is an essential tool, and tempering competitiveness is unthinkable. Persistent and sincere efforts will have to be made to shift the orientation of development from materialism to beatitude. The blind race for wealth and power originating from the materialistic orientation of development creates whirlpools and black holes of terrorism. People need to select benign fields in which to compete. The desire to compete should be associated with emulation and not envy or jealousy.


Prakrit Bharati Academy
D.R. MEHTA, Founder & Chief Patron

First edition: 1987
Second enlarged Edition May: 2004
Third Edition July: 2008

© All rights reserved with the author

Printed at:
Raj Printers & Associates, Jaipur, India

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