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For Kush



Kush:

> The solution is in balancing the reality of self-seeking and at the
> same time knowing that selfishness when taken to the extreme destroys.

I want to discuss this in some detail. Please elaborate clearly a) your
definition of self-seeking and b) instances which show that it destroys. 
Maybe we differ in our understanding of the meaning of this word. In
that case we have been debating different things.

> However, it will be
> pathetic if we do not teach our children that they do not live alone. 
> That society is much bigger than the self, 

You don't have to teach that. Everyone knows it from the day they get
socialized that they live and benefit from a continuous series of
interactions with others, the society. Second, the concept that "society
is much bigger than the self" is only factually correct. In numbers, only.
Not in content. You and I and everyone are always individuals and will see
things given our limitations or capabilities. Knowing that others exist,
does not mean that they are "bigger than my self."

> I hope my children will learn the value of volunteerism
> -- to learn to set themselves aside, once in a while, and go out and
> do something for others.

Volunteerism is a very self-interested act. If I care for wild life, I
will contribute to wild life groups. If I care to keep my streets free of
beggars, I will contribute to homeless shelters, either money or labor (by
the way, the money also represents labor). I donate blood so that when I
need it, someone would have donated it, for me to use. And so on. 
"Altruism" is an equilibrium solution to many of man's interactions and
dependencies. That is what social capital is all about, and I think social
capital built out of pure altruism will never survive, but that built out
of deep understanding of what is in the individual's interest, will. That
is why professional guilds and associations survive for a long time.
All participants gain. 
 
> Lastly, you were rebuking us that we all talk where as you have
> already done. 

I do not rebuke. Tut tut!! Who am I to do that? I pointed out that many
find it sufficient to exhort altruism in others. That is what I am
against. Do not TEACH me to be altruistic. If it is in my interest, I will
give money to CRY or WWF or whatever, or my labor. And actually, it IS in
my interest to spend time for the weaker and underprivileged. That is why
I do it or want to do it. That is a rational solution for all of us, in
many ways. 

I offer the example of my only Indian hero, who has passed all tests of
integrity and personal consistency, so far. Dr. V. Kurien. His whole life
was spent in rural development. But he is clear on fundamentals: This is
his chosen JOB.  Not his altruistic wish to improve the lot of the people. 
He is a true professional. An expert. An organizer. An entrepreneur. He
travels only in the most modern imported car, gets paid well, and lives in
an air-conditioned spotless environment. His contribution for India
exceeds that of M.Teresa by a few billion times, at least. He has made
millions of farmers self-sufficient, and has made India the largest milk
producer in the world. I would like us to idolize that kind of
self-interested go-gooder, for a change.

> tell us what are people like me getting from this effort.  

You tell me that. Think deep inside yourself and tell me. I want to know
if you want to do good to help out the Indians you left behind in India,
or you want to do good because it is in your self-interest to have a rich,
clean, powerful and victorious India. 

Cheers!

SS


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