First I smiled. Then I panicked. What if my plumber, dentist, bank manager, underwear sales assistant, even (though this would never happen!) my library assistant, took this stance? Where would that leave me?
At a time (in Christchurch in particular) when we are daily urged to look out for one another, and random acts of kindness make living worthwhile, where does this proverb fit?
- Give, but give until it hurts said Mother Teresa. Can’t say better than that now, can you.
- In his 2014 book The Good Life, Graham Music takes us on a research trip to uncover what tips us towards selfish or altruistic behaviour. He strikes a near fatal blow at the Selfish Gene hypothesis. This is a very compelling read.
- Recognising the importance of connection for those on the Autism spectrum, John Elder Robison has written Be Different, a book that stresses every individual’s ability to create strong loving bonds and that, essentially, we do this by caring for one another’s monkeys.
- Readings that encourage selfishness for survival maintain that we are genetically hard-wired to look after number one first. Check out the Team Selfish readings here, headed by Richard Dawkins’ controversial The Selfish Gene.
Truth is, I’ve grown to love your circuses and your monkeys. This to the extent that I may (on occasion) have neglected some of my own show ponies. Head-messing thought here: Could it be that I am caring, but for selfish reasons? And where is the book on that?