The Self-Centered, Centered Self; Part 1


Welcome back to my lonely little blog where I lay out ideas that may get me in trouble and hope that no one reads them.

If you dropped by last week, you may have checked out my horror story that just published, The Visitor. If not, check it out here! It’s a short read, I promise.

You may have read some or all of the series completed prior to last week, “Grok Death to Grasp Life”. Today’s blog is Part 1 (of 2) of an addendum to the ideas presented there.

Much of the Grok blog series speaks about the way that values are based on and centered about individual people, as well as limited by the purview of each person. Though I use this concept to make the point that one should look to the range of their own life to inform the scope of their goals, there are many other applications for it. In fact, completely accepting such an idea (if such a thing is possible) will profoundly change a person’s entire context for living.

And this is not a bad thing. In fact, rather than imposing limits on the importance or efficacy of a person’s influence on their own lives and the wider world, it underscores the importance and significance of it. To illustrate that, here’s an example that we’ll finish next week:

Let’s say that you undertake a difficult task that requires your best. You inherit your father’s restaurant, and it has been running very poorly the last five years leading up to his death. The place is a total mess, the finances are in ruin, and the clientele have all but abandoned it. You work tirelessly for years bringing the place back, making it a clean, slick operation providing excellent meals and service, and you gradually win back much of the old clientele and are set to earn many more.

When asked why you did this, why you took it upon yourself to labor as hard as you could to accomplish this goal, how do you respond?

1. “I loved my father, and it’s what he would have wanted.”
2. “It was a great restaurant and the place deserved to be great again.”
3. “It seemed like a worthwhile cause and I was motivated to work hard.”
4. “I needed the money, had the opportunity, and knew how to do it.”
5. “I have a lot of love for the place and wanted to see it shine again.”

Which of these do you think is best and why? Which do you suppose I think is the best? Have any ideas about the moral implications of each of these?

Chime in! I’ll give you my full interpretation next time. Let’s see where we agree/disagree?

3 thoughts on “The Self-Centered, Centered Self; Part 1

  1. A subjective topic that has many possible answers. One could seemingly pick one or more of the available options and have the answer be correct based on the opinions and perceptions of the talker and the talkee. To some, the reasoning is irrelevant and it is only the end result that truly matters. To others, the motivation for achieving this goal is the only worthwhile reason. A third person may cite a combination of the two. Ultimately, a person’s true motivations are intangible, unpredictable and unknowable.

    This was an interesting read.

    1. Thanks, Stuart. Excellent comment.

      I think that one of the biggest reasons I get into rants like these is that I tend to lean away from subjective or pragmatic evaluations of moral choices, and this puts me at odds with a great many people.

      I’m also attached to the idea that one’s most core values are tied directly to even the most evident, everyday expressions of the self. Next week I’ll make an argument based on the premise that each of these simple, off-the-cuff responses indicates a deeper value, and pose my opinion of those values.

      1. We are who we are when we’re not contemplating who we are and amending our choices based on our limited self evaluation. I look forward to your follow up.

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