The idea that a rich person is obliged to help the poor – not because it is a good thing, but because he is obliged – runs in public conscience as long as the society itself exists. For some mysterious reason people tend to believe that the rich are rich because they somehow robbed the poor. It may have been true – and only after a fashion – in the antiquity and the Middle Ages, when wealth has been considered as something static, that can be inherited or conquered, but not created and earned, when people whom we now call businessmen were considered to be maybe necessary, but still inferior members of the society, when production has been mainly based on slavery and serfdom. But why this idea is so popular now, when it is least true?
Egoism and altruism are almost always considered to be the two opposing ideologies or, at least, two opposing outlooks on life. But is it really so?
If we look at the definition of word “egoism”, we will see that it means an attitude towards life, the bearer of which always puts his interests before the interests of all the other people. But is it said that his interests are automatically concerned with doing everything that pleases him sensually, while torturing all the other people on the way – just for fun? Yet, it is the way most people tend to perceive egoists.
Ask any European of whether they find eating with chopsticks convenient and the answer is certain to be negative. And I am not an exception. I will eagerly agree it is true, but despite this fact I love eating with chopsticks and take them everywhere with me, using them for everything from sushi to French pate. Why? The matter is that convenience is not the only factor that can influence your attitude to something: chopsticks have so many advantages that you soon stop thinking about the drawbacks.
When I was little and spent summers at my grandparents’, I often used to put up a tent at the backyard, take a sleeping bag and spend warm summer nights there enjoying chirming of crickets, singing of birds, light delicate wind and whispers of the old trees. When the nights were clear, my Grandpa joined me and we used to lie on the warm and slightly wet grass, looking into the starry sky and talking about his past and my future.
When I met him, I was in the middle of an extremely traumatic relationship and balancing a very thin borderline between common sense and insanity, love to my boyfriend and equally strong hatred. I was tired, confused, physically ill and emotionally devastated. But for some strange reason he liked me. As for me, not only did I like him, but I was mesmerized by the idea of strength and stability, the tempting vision of the safe harbor. But for some strange reason, instead of choosing the road that would lead me to a stable mature relationship, I turned the other way and one day simply disappeared from his life.
When I think about the difficulties that I have had to overcome recently, the achievement which I am most proud of may seem like a trifle to other people. However, for me, who lives mostly on tea and coffee, the challenge of spending three days without an electric kettle was a dramatic battle with my habits.
Oh, how very nice! My car broke down in the middle of nowhere. I switched on the hazard warning lights and got out. A dark, empty highway without even a trace of presence of a human being: no gas stations, no road cafes, no little towns… Nothing! I started feeling a bit panicky. I reached my mobile only to get to know that the connection was currently unavailable. I felt sick. What should I do? Where should I go?
I have always hated being normal. The word “normal” was synonymous to boring, commonplace and irritating for me. I loved everything strange, slightly crazy and eccentric. When I was three, I enjoyed going to my nursery play group, wearing socks of different colors belonging to different pairs and the sunglasses which only had one glass. It seemed so natural to me that I did not even consider if it was right or wrong. And luckily, people around me took it for granted.
Until that day when my mobile phone woke me up with its alarm clock, gave me a farewell blink and shut down forever, I could not even imagine how much I depended on that little piece of technology. Immediately a feeling of restlessness overwhelmed my soul. I felt helpless and uneasy as if something important was missing. But I looked bravely into the future… I was determined to survive without it… At least, I was sure I would survive two weekend days until I buy a new one.
Red, tired eyes? Vague look? Strange behavior? Sounds like the symptoms of some severe addiction. And if a person whom you know suddenly starts being like this, he or she is definitely addicted, but what is worse, harm and danger of their addiction is not known. They are very likely to have been caught by the web, contaminated with the social networking virus and addicted to the Internet.