Altruism / Egoism

We are at a pivotal moment in society where the future of humanity will ultimately be determined. One school of thought believes that all individuals are selfish and there is nothing that will ever change that. These individuals abide by the philosophy of Egoism, and their actions are generally motivated by self-interest. In contrast to this mentality, the philosophy of altruism believes in the good that exists within each individual. These individuals are often philanthropists and idealists who would give you the shirt off of their back.

Unfortunately, humans are often creatures of imitation. Throughout the development of civilization the Egoists have ruthlessly held power, leading to a society of micro-Egoists. These people are needlessly selfish with the hopes that it will further them in life or enhance their social status. The Altruists still exist, too, but they are seldom the ones with money and power and thus their altruistic acts go unnoticed…we only hear about the selfish Wall Street CEO’s and the latest phone company merger.

Looking toward the future, we will probably always have Altruists and Egoists in some concentration. If things do not change, the Altruists will slowly become an artifact of the past while the Egoists will prevail. This may seem like the best outcome to an Egoist, but is it? Would a world composed strictly of selfish and greedy people and extreme social inequality really be a world worth living in?

Lets consider the alternative – a world filled with Altruistic philanthropists. Social inequality is much less exaggerated because of philanthropic acts. To be clear, I’m not talking about Communism or any scenario where the government regulates wealth distribution. I’m talking about people uniting to do the right thing for our planet and all of its present and future inhabitants. The system only works when the tipping point is reached. Letting the Egoists run wild will only serve to encourage wasteful consumerism and destroy the environment.

I consider myself strongly altruistic at my core, although I do not have much that I can physically give. For now, I dedicate my time and my thoughts to finding solutions for the issues we are currently facing. I see Altruism as a fail-safe way to ensure that the quality of life worldwide continues to increase. This is not to be confused with the standard of living – the two terms are not the same. I believe the former should always increase while the latter has already increased too much…but this is a discussion for another day.

What do you think about Altruism/Egoism? We will always have both, but pretty soon the bucket is going to tip one way or another. What would you like to see more of?

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The Line of Slack

One of the most reasonable conclusions that a philosophy such as IGITY leads to is that of balance. To simultaneously accept the beliefs of atheists and theists requires a view from multiple perspectives and an inherent sense of moderation. This practice is also useful when confronted with stressful, upsetting, or intense situations. Resisting the urge to act in an extreme and emotional way is usually the path of least conflict. While this does not necessarily come naturally, I believe it is possible to achieve a more balanced state of mind by acting on the body’s physical balance.

I’ve always enjoyed balancing long objects on my hands, feet, nose, and chin, and have taken much satisfaction in taming gravity. A couple of years ago I purchased my first slackline and took my ability to balance to a higher level. Now it is not just a straight object that I keep vertical by shifting its base, but rather I am the dynamic object of balance and my sources of correction are my arms and legs. Unlike the three-dimensional space that I used to master the balance of inanimate objects, my forward movement is restricted to a one-dimensional line that ebbs and flexes with each and every step.

The body is thus forced into a synchronous harmony with the balance center in the brain, and you begin to develop instinctual responses to counter a loss of balance. The initial difficulty of learning these skills is so intense that it is hard to think about anything other than flexing your muscles in the right way and maintaining your place on the slackline. Instantly, the troubling thoughts that were subconsciously haunting you are lost to the demand of acquiring a new skill set and learning to move naturally and fluently. A sort of forced-meditation is induced just through the act of standing on the line. The linear movement mimics a swinging pendulum while the slackline itself is parallel and at a right-angle to the human bilateral axis of symmetry. As the limbs dangle off the left or right side of the slackline, the left and right sides of the brain are forced to work together toward a common goal of keeping the being upright.

I have also found that the more time I spend on a slackline, the better my physical and mental health tend to be. I become more motivated to write and work and build and accomplish, and I am inspired with new ideas. There is definitely something good that happens in the mind when you subject yourself to an intense physical workout coupled with the intense focus and concentration required to balance on a slackline. I encourage everyone to develop some sort of balance routine in their life, whether it be yoga, bicycling, dancing, slacklining, or something else. Enhancing the mind-body relationship and increasing ambidexterity will lead to a happier life!

Trading all Jacks

No longer just the change that I wish to see in the world, this philosophy has become a part of who I am. Through years of development, consideration, and refinement, I have whittled away at the ambiguous form and started to carve out the shape beneath. The periods of accelerated interest wax and wane like the cycles of the moon, but as the moon persists, so does this idea. Like most trades that I approach in life, I have limited desire to master this much farther than the realm of the Jack. If I spend too much time on any particular concept or skill, I cannot help but feel that my time is being wasted. Once the law of diminishing returns kicks in, I quickly lose interest and desire to master the notion. This works well for me in my life, but it also has the consequence of often leaving things unfinished.

For an idea such as IGITY, the same threshold of diminishing returns will eventually apply and I will feel like I have exhausted my capability to elaborate any further. This, however, does not mean that the thoughts and ideas that I express are the limit of reach that IGITY could have. I have always encouraged these ideas to be a collaborative effort and I wish for anyone, regardless of their background, to contribute to these thoughts and help to expand IGITY into a philosophy of peace and altruism. My words will only go so far and will only touch so many people. The true power of IGITY will be the way in which it slowly begins to spread as collective thought starts to take hold. Once the tipping point is reached, or once the idea becomes “viral”, there is no stopping it.

I need your help for this to happen. I need your ideas, your critiques, your encouragement, and for you to be a messenger. If you read this and have any reaction to the concepts, I would love to hear about them. The more people that are discussing and progressing this line of thought, the faster that it will spread and gain interest. The sooner that the concepts spread, the sooner that the world will begin to make changes for the better. It is a pipe dream, and one that I may never live to see fully realized. But as I am alive today, I will continue to work towards developing these ideas with the hope that someday they might have an impact. You can help make this a reality, and I hope that you do. We can direct the change that we want to see in the world…no longer do we have to be passive observers acting out the will of corrupt politicians and greedy lobbyists. We have the power to make things different, so why not put it to good use?

My motivation

There is one question at the root of my motivation for sharing IGITY with the world. Without this motivation, these ideas may have never been conceived and my life would (most likely) significantly lack substance. These ideas have changed not only the way that I think, but also the way that I act. The fateful question which continues to drive the development of this philosophy in my life is simply this: Why?

I have known the answer since before I first coined the concept back in 2006. At that time I was 22, fresh out of college with a BS in Geology, and coming on 10 years as a self-proclaimed atheist. I had not always thought this way; in fact, I was ‘saved’ at a church lock-in during 7th grade, right as my uncertainty was culminating. But at this time I respected the people in my life who did believe in God, and while I was skeptical I knew that there had to be some truth to an idea that the majority of the world accepts.

And so, I have sought to relate the two fundamental systems of belief, atheism and theism, rather than call attention to their discrepancies. While they arrive at two completely different conclusions about the world around us, I find that the paths each side takes to get to these conclusions do not necessarily need to stray from each other.

There is an inherent sense of goodness within humans that can get distorted by life experiences and influence of the people that you interact with the most. Being selfish, disrespectful, and bigoted is all too often rewarded in today’s society, in lieu of loving and helping one another and working towards a collective state of understanding. Most of the atheists that I know aren’t heathens, and most of the deists that I know are likewise good people, too. Ultimately it is not a person’s belief system which dictates the way that they behave, but rather their nature and their nurture.

Based on these thoughts, it is no wonder that humanity continues down a spiraling path of destruction as more and more people emulate the behaviors that they are inundated with. The sad state of reality is that the people with all of the power and wealth are often the worst offenders and serve as terrible role models. They are manipulative with their power and attempt to divide politics into two neat boxes that can then be controlled. As a society, we do not have to emulate these behaviors and follow in the same footsteps. This is a pivotal point in time and collectively we have strength to impose direction on the way things progress.

A person’s religion and beliefs are an important part of who they are and I am not out to change that. I only wish to unite all faiths (or lack thereof) under a common goal: to respect our planet and all that inhabit it. By doing this, we can start to navigate a better future for the world. It cannot be done without making a conscious effort to live a more altruistic life. Are you up for the challenge?

I suppose this story begins where all stories begin – in the beginning. But is there anything that began before God or Time? And of the two, does one necessarily precede the other? When questioning concepts of a cosmic scale, we must never lose sight of the fact that any speculated answers to these questions will probably never be proven, and ultimately each individual can rightfully believe whatever they choose to without fear of ridicule from me. In discussing topics that are at the base of human experience, I aim to respect the beliefs of others and am cognizant of the fact that most people don’t want to change their worldview. The philosophy of IGITY is meant to find commonality between all world views rather than disrupting them. By uniting society with a collective sense of acceptance, the world will become a better place. The revolution has already started – are you ready to join?

http://www.igity.com

Beginnings

“In many cultures it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But this is mere temporizing. If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from. And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and decide that the origin of the universe is an unanswerable question? Or, if we say that God has always existed, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos

God and Time