This is the normal way of thinking for most of us, most of the time. Tensions occur, though, when an effort is made to consider one’s own interests and desires. Am I being selfish? How much should I take other people’s interests and concerns into account? Is it possible to thing self-interestedly and still be thinking of (or for) others?
There is much literature and many theories about self-help and satisfaction: Philosophical and quasi-philosophical texts, self-improvement books and study programmes, life-coaching and psychoanalysis/psychotherapy are the most common examples, outside the informal realm of introspection. Sadly, many of these are founded on very basic misunderstandings about people and the world and, whilst they may appear attractive at certain times, to certain people, often avoid the deep nature of reflection and the deep causes of dissatisfaction, or need.
There are times, however, when some of these approaches can be of help in our search for happiness or goodness. Most often, this is in the relatively short-term. As such, a self-help book, for example, might answer our immediately felt unhappiness with practical action to encourage a re-structuring of our thought processes or our lives. This is, possibly, good as far as it goes, but unless the introspection goes to the roots – the fundamental analysis of one’s state of being-in-the-world – then, ultimately it can be futile.
It is important to distinguish between the dissatisfaction which stems from an awareness of an immediate ‘wrongness’ in our everyday lives, and the dissatisfaction which originates in an awareness that one has no sense of meaning, of purpose, or of direction as a human being.
An important idea of this blog is to face this deeper uncertainty, this existential hollowness, and find, for you, an understanding of what you are and what your life in the world can be.
As always, be loved.