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The Egocentric Instinct

The brain (and the mind, which is an effect of the brain) is an organ dedicated to the preservation of the life of the individual. It therefore is naturally predisposed to thinking mainly of how to make that individual ("myself") safe, and to make a situation as advantageous as possible for that individual. These goals are pursued both consciously and unconsciously.

A side effect of the mind is the ability to change one's behaviour through conscious effort (thinking). We are irrational, selfish, egocentric creatures by nature, with the ability (when we want it) to be rational, altruistic, and community-minded. This is a superior way to live, in my opinion. To be able to control one's thoughts, goals, and actions; to plan for a better future for all, to see things as they really are, not as we imagine or hope them to be, and make rational decisions in accordance with reality, is wonderful.

Most of us, even those who consider themselves to be very realistic and rational, constantly fall back into our natural, egocentric ways of thinking. Like losing weight and keeping it off, it requires constant effort and concentration.

We may conquer irrationality in one aspect of our thinking, while being completely irrational in others. The goal, in becoming fully human, is to make ourselves completely rational. It is a lifetime process.


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