“Albert Pine said, ‘What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, remains and is immortal.’”
That quote is from the end of the “Riding the Lightning” episode of Criminal Minds – one of the most intensely thought provoking episodes from the show’s very first season. Here’s a summary from the Criminal Minds Wiki:
“The team is sent to the Florida State Penitentiary to interview husband and wife serial killers set to be executed. After the initial interview, Gideon suspects that the wife may not be guilty of the crimes committed.”
And here is how the episode ends:
That story was, of course, fictional. A “false reality” if you will. But I’d like you to consider, just for a moment, the false dichotomy presented, in the quote, between doing for ourselves and doing for others – the old selfish versus selfless false choice.
Ayn Rand once said, “Words do have exact meanings.” Whether it’s through ignorance, or malice, I believe the confusion surrounding the “S” word to be truly one of man’s most significant challenges.
“The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word ‘selfishness’ is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual ‘package-deal,’ which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
In popular usage, the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word ‘selfishness’ is: concern with one’s own interests.
This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.”
“To redeem both man and morality, it is the concept of ‘selfishness’ that one has to redeem.
The first step is to assert man’s right to a moral existence—that is: to recognize his need of a moral code to guide the course and the fulfillment of his own life . . . .
The reasons why man needs a moral code will tell you that the purpose of morality is to define man’s proper values and interests, that concern with his own interests is the essence of a moral existence, and that man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions.”
To me, Sarah Jean Mason’s act was one of “selfishness” – in the truest and most proper sense of the word. I really wish that we could all remember that – before we start tossing around terms like selfish and selfless so casually – sacrificing what we should value the most in the process.
We’re all living in a “false reality” my friends.
I want ice water.
More of my Random Ravings