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Selfishness vs Self Love

Café-Salon Philosophique #39

June 19, 1999

No. of Participants: 15

Evening's Topic: "Selfishness versus Self Love"

Samuel asked, "What is selfishness?

Is it good or is it bad? Is altruisim valued? Are philanthropists valued? If you like your self, is that selfish?" Mable thinks "selfishness is negative and self love is positive." But, she asked, "how does one distinguish what is truth versus what is a lie?"

Aziza believes "one has to look at the notion of internal values versus external values."

Samuel then asked Scott, "When you meet a selfish person, what do you think? Would you date that person, why or why not?" Scott answered by saying, "I wouldn't want to date a selfish girl because if she acts selfishly in the world, then that would take away my possibilities for being able to express my self freely as a human being. Samuel asked Scott, "why he thought he wouldn't be able to fully express him self?"

Mable popped up and said, "Sometimes it is hard to fully express your self in a relationship because you have to "go along" with where the other person is coming from in order to have a harmonious relationship." "The way I see it, most women whether they are in a marriage, a family or a relationship have to be subordinate to people in their life," said Stephanie. "But, I try to maintain a little selfishness and balance in my own life."

Scott thinks that "selfishness is okay as long as you are interacting with life in the world."

Next question, "How do you think selfishness started in the world?" One way was through the church. Selfish behavior has occurred throughout history some times out of necessity and some times from greed, and the "need to compete in the world." Dennis believes we are playing a "sub zero game" in this world. "One is either rich or one is poor. There are the haves and the have nots."

Aziza sees a selfish person as being like a "parasite in the world who takes, takes, takes." She likes to describe her self as "self full," not selfish. "I'm a person who wants to grow, expand in the environment and in life, and ultimately give back to other people. Selfishness is when you take away from others."

"And, as far as the dating thing goes, when one is not considerate of the other person and is only concerned about the I, I, I, and the me, me me, then I consider that selfish. There should be equal participation in a relationship."

Samuel commented, "Selfishness can be good when one asserts their self in the world." Nobody can take away from you mentally or physically what you don't want them to, unless you let them.

Mable said, "Actually, it requires alot of energy and effort to keep a relationship harmonious when a person is selfish." Samuel countered with, "The more selfish you are (assertive and honest), the more you will be able to relate in all kinds of relationships. Some people didn't know what to make of this concept.

The group then bounced back to defining selfishness. Mable thinks selfishness is, "taking the time to be with the self and do things." "One has to take responsibility for making time to discover ways that lead toward happiness."

But when you are in a relationship she continued, "changes occur." "There are different degrees to which one can be selfish depending upon if one is restricted by time, is relating to a man, woman or child." "But, I feel like what we are saying tonight is a bunch of generalizations about selfishness, anyway."

To Dan, selfishness is "doing what he loves to do, which is sculpturing." He defines self love as "contributing something to the world" like a írt work. "I do house painting for a living but, I don't really find any joy in doing it.

When I can bring joy to others by giving, that makes me feel good."

"I think a person can be selfish if they are able to balance their interests," Wayne said. Dan continued, "You know, I see people with "lots of toys in their sandbox," but most of these people were utterly miseable because they didn't know how to enjoy or appreciate what life is really all about."

Dennis disagreed saying, "I've seen lots of people with lots of toys who were perfectly happy." Mable agreed. Aziza responded with, "The trouble starts when one becomes attached to the toys, that's when the trouble begins." "Life satisfaction should come from giving," Dan remarked.

The next question Samuel asked was, "Do you like your self? Do you value your self? Wayne answered, "selfishness can lead to happiness, unselfishness can Klead to unhappiness." "It's a paradox!" Stephanie added. Mable says, "extremes can lead to happiness." Dennis say he thinks he likes himself because he "goes out and does things on his own that his wife might not like to do with him." "If I don't go and do things for my self, then I'm not happy," he said.

One should have to be accountable to themselves, and take care of their own needs. "In a relationship, you have to give the space to let the other one do what they like." Samuel added, "It's good to encourage people to do what they really love to do." There is no compromise for original beings.

Aziza thinks it is "hard to do for the self without being selfish. One needs to learn to balance their independence with their dependency upon other people."

Dan wondered why he doesn't see many happy marriages. "Couples don't seem to give and take equally." Tony quipped, "Marriage is show business!" Mable thinks "values have to be assigned to the concepts in order for people to explore together."

Stephanie agreed and said, "Selfish, taking women detract from a relationship."

Dennis thinks we need to "recognize each other, quit playing the subzero game, be friends, and quit destroying and tearing down what another one is trying to build."

Mable says, "Maybe if we would meet more in the middle, this would make for better personal relationships." Aziza added, "We do need each other in this world. Learning to give more and take less would be good."

The group then came to an endpoint in this discussion on selfishness versus self-love.

Dennis then suggested that we "bounce" to a new subject. The group chose the topic, "labeling people." Mabel described this as "how we choose to define our selves." For example, by our name, profession, etc. When she is asked in various settings to introduce her self, she doesn't go for the labels, she tells others what her interests are in life.

Jeff thinks that it is necessary to define our selves by who we are by our names and professions. And if we are lucky, we might be able to share where we are in our metaphysical growth. "This is a workaholic society where we've been trained to learn who the other is by small talk only."

Samuel commented on the fact that, "people in this world want attention. They want to be known for what they have achieved, what they do, what they possess." "The Café gatherings provide such a platform for attention. People are given the opportunity to speak their minds one at a time."

Mable remarked, "We don't have to label each other. We are more than labels." Behind the labels is nakedness. What is nakedness? Clothes are a mask, dishonesty and lying are a mask. All the roles and images that we portray are masks. Nakedness is honesty. Nakedness is "baring" the whole truth. This honesty and truth must be carried over into the physical act of doing in life.

Samuel asked the group to think about how they would feel sitting around in the group naked? Would everyone feel comfortable and be able to carry on a conversation without difficulty? Most people definitely felt that they would be uncomfortable with "strange" people. Stephanie shared how just recently she had to share in a group setting, naked. She was attending a workshop on radical honesty where they were learning about honesty and had to share the truth about their past sexual experiences in "the buff."

Jeff said that "people can lie even while naked." "Take for example, a couple that is lying in bed and the man after making love with a woman tells her, "he's not married, I'll call you in the morning, I love you," etc, when maybe none of these are true."

Mable agreed and said, "We do lie by presenting false images of our selves. Society portray the "muscle men," and the "tone and fit" people who take steroids, and work out as fit and healthy."

The group then engaged in a twenty-five minute conversation, reflecting upon "interruptions and chaos" which have been occurring lately at the meetings. Café participants noted how people were interrupting conversations without allowing for full expression of ideas and thoughts. Many found this very distracting, and Aziza mentioned "how difficul it is to try and listen to the conversation when there is "cross talking," (two or three conversations) going on at the same time."

Samuel announced that The Café Guidelines would be reinstated as an active part of the meeting. We hope this will provide the structure the group needs in order to maintain "peace and order." Dennis said he realizes that "we need a moderator, and Wayne likes when Samuel "goes around the circle," because it allows "everyone the opportunity to speak."

Our next Café-Salon meeting will be held July 10, 1999 at the Troubadour Bookstore located at 1638 Pearl St. in Boulder, CO. Start time is 6:30 p.m. Join us then! Bring your friends!

Reported by Alessandra

"Samuel brings awareness to the soul of people and gives the artists who work under his direction the need, dedication, and love for the world of silence and the beautiful art of movement."


- Marcel Marceau, BIP 1961

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LCDS is an independent school for self-discovery through the human Arts.  The school offers seminars and workshops teaching the concepts of Theater, Mime, and Movement.