‘Selfness’ is the understanding of a person’s essential individuality. Most of my essays are focussed on the idea if we become central to our life, we are more capable as human beings. I highjacked the word for my ‘Philosophy of Selfness’. Closed minded thinkers often resist the philosophy. They confuse the word selfness with selfish, and the association cannot be separated. I have no concern; there is no reason to explain the difference, it is a waste of my life hours attempting to reason with a stubborn mind. In fact, I like the stubborn individual; they make me laugh inside. They are the salesman’s favourite target. All he needs to do is find the weakness; for examples; food, football, family, car and he can prey on the obsession, building rapport and making a sale. Of course the stubborn know all would never accept they had been manipulated into the purchase.
I see quotes about ‘determination’, and I wonder if people realise determination can be a restrictive attitude. People become determined to follow their plan, method or principals. Their faith can prevent them from finding a better way. The determination blinds them from the possibility of being wrong or the plan is flawed. I know a determined individual who sees the objective and does not spend enough time working out how to achieve the goal. He never listens; his way is always the right way, and he never seems to make progress.
Abe Lincoln said ‘If you are to cut down a tree, spend an hour sharpening the axe’
I delete his number; lines have to be drawn. The reason? The life and make of a battery. Rolf and I share a common interest, recording social documentary. My first decent field recorder was a Zoom H4n; it had a tough life being used to record over 600 interviews. This information would suggest I know the limits of the instrument. I use a condenser microphone for my work; the ‘condenser’ requires ‘phantom power.’ Don’t worry it’s not a ghost in the machine; it’s a small voltage supplied to the microphone. Some have a battery in the handle other’s take power from the recorder. Rolf asked me if I’d used ‘phantom power’ with my old H4n recorder as he’d just purchased one.
‘Use IKEA Alkalisk batteries; you’ll get two hours minimum recording time.’
‘No way, the forums say an hour at the most.’
‘The IKEA batteries are the best you can buy one-fifty for ten, and they will give you two hours’
‘I don’t believe it. IKEA batteries cannot be any good at fifteen pence each.’
‘Well Rolf, I can assure you the information is accurate.’
The conversation soon spiralled downward. Not from my side; from Rolf’s, his perception overwhelmed the fact. Some people will criticise me for breaking ties to an acquaintance over a battery. That’s fine; everyone is free to think as they choose, opinion is free and affects our personality. Personality is assessed by others from our words, attitude, actions, and opinions. Rolf demonstrated a stubborn attitude, and if we look deeper into the conversation, he mistrusted the facts. Why would I need to waste life hours talking about batteries, with a man who questions accurate information? Information doubted, Rolf deleted. Rolf is not sharpening the axe, he’s ensuring it’s blunt.
One of the precepts of ‘selfness’ is to think carefully about limitations. For example; how far are we prepared to go before closing a relationship. (This is possibly the hardest meditation of all) Never the less, working with the most difficult areas of thought sharpens the axe. I spend an hour each week thinking about the people have taken advantage of my generosity. From books borrowed and never returned, to help with a serious legal issue; time is given freely; and when a small favour is asked for, well you know the rest of the story. Years ago I accepted let downs, today? Again you will know the answer. The hour is sufficient to remind me of the importance of keeping my word. Around eight years ago I began to realise why my life had been so damn difficult. I was unreliable and inconsistent, and the people who I knew were of the same ilk. And this is why I was let down so often; people treated me as I lived. What? You thought I reflected on let down’s to remind me of unreliable people? No, my friend, the meditation reminds me of my faults and weakness. It is easy to take advantage of a fool, take it from me I’m the biggest ‘Jack in the Box.’
I’m no longer determined to do anything; I take my time, patience is a Sunday morning stroll. If the objective seems too great, I will not begin the journey. I wait for the right opportunity, and when it comes along, everything about the idea is reviewed before the go button is pushed. I see relationships as reciprocal, and I am aware at all times of the rule ‘do unto others as you would do unto yourself. ’Stubbornness is a sign of greed and closed minded thinking; Rolf demonstrated the way of the know all. I guess he desired to prove a point; I cannot be certain. I can be sure millions of people will not accept certain facts and believe the ‘sheep’ who write nonsense and talk about illusionary wisdom. Today I call them Rolf, they are not required in my personal environment.
Clearly defined social parameters are fundamental to ‘The Philosophy of Selfness’