Your Better Self > Primal Injunctions > What is a «Better Self»? > Care About Others: RH"L4

Care About Others: RH"L4

Quest → Injunction

Derivation of the Primal Injunction to "Care About Others" (L"4)  from the Salvation Primal Quest (L'4)

The Salvation Quest is about giving selfless aid to those in danger and clearly in need of immediate assistance. Providing direct assistance to the needy in urgent and often life-threatening situations is clearly not for everyone. However, we all need others, in good times and in bad. At any particular moment we may have a need for company, for approval, for encouragement, for respect, for sympathy, for a loan, for practical advice, for silence and so on.

Exactly what you should do to aid another person is often obscure. But everyone should cultivate a willingness and capacity to relate to any fellow human being as a human being—not as an instrument or a faceless statistic. Treating someone as a number or as a piece of meat can creep up on anyone, especially when under pressure in a transactional society. So the Primal Injunction is simply to «care about others».

You are enjoined to maintain human contact and to care about all others with whom you deal or whom you affect directly and indirectly.

Adam Smith captured the sentiment:  Closed"How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.''

How caring is shown will vary according to your personal situation, social values, and the nature of the relationship. For family, caring may be intense, with intimacy, targeted kindness and overt affection. For a customer, it may be a better service or relevant accurate advice or a fair arrangement. For a stranger in the street, it may mean showing civility and good manners. For a malaria sufferer or victim of torture on the other side of the world, caring will necessarily be rather limited and unfocused (e.g. signing a petition, donating to an aid agency).

Potential Misconceptions

Why is it So Hard?

Caring is hard because genuinely relating to another, transiently, briefly or over many years, may be hard. Instead of caring, it can be much easier and less troublesome to substitute relationships based on habit, convention, superficiality, self-satisfying charm, or passive tolerance.

When it comes to the needs of others, it is rather easy to put your own needs first and to over-estimate your own importance. The end result of that way of thinking is to convert relating into transacting, and eventually to stop noticing that others have needs or are human beings with feelings.

Caring about others can feel and seem genuine, when in fact the caring is narcissistic. A person projects a needy aspect of themselves into another (or others, often sequentially) and then attempts to care for themselves through caring for the other. This is a game because the other can never get better: if they did then they would no longer be a suitable vehicle for the projection of neediness. Another willing victim would be sought.

Originally posted:16-Nov-2012

All posted material is part of a scientific project and should be regarded as provisional. Visitors are encouraged to think through the topics and propositions for themselves. Copyright © Warren Kinston 2009-2016.
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