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How Can One Be Good To Himself? - Marvin the Robot talks politics [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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How Can One Be Good To Himself? [Oct. 25th, 2012|06:30 pm]
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[mood |melancholymelancholy]
[music |Harry Chapin, "Taxi"]

I am many.
There is a part of me which probes myself for praise. It is strange to think of it in this way, but it is so. My image of myself is something sculpted and refined from metrics inaccessible to my conscious mind except by mulling over that image, a model of my whole self, and tasting it.
I fear pride. Pride makes fools of us.
It is rational to do good if you believe in a positive-sum scenario (apologies for abusing terminology above my pay grade) as one shouldn't shit where he eats, and we eat almost everywhere in this meaning. (It may help to think of this as an argument for certain approaches in the inevitable struggle against local entropy.)
It sucks to do good but feel inherently bad, though. Yet how do I do good consistently without holding myself harshly accountable?
How does one acquiesce to the demand from one's logical side and actually like oneself at all? And if one can, how does one not use that emotion to justify wrongdoing?

[User Picture]From: ninjakitten
2012-10-27 01:27 pm (UTC)

If I understand what you're asking, then I might have a bit of advice that could be helpful: forgive yourself what you would forgive in others. Easier said than done, but I find it helps me, at least. It also works pretty well in degree -- it doesn't justify actual wrongdoing, but it helps avoid being too harsh on oneself about accidents or other minor shortfalls. People can be good without having to manage perfect.

From what I'm told, those who are inherently bad rarely worry about whether they're good people.
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[User Picture]From: mookraker
2012-11-11 10:25 pm (UTC)
Is that as perilous a balancing act as it sounds, or do I worry overmuch?
Let me reframe that. I definitely worry overmuch, or my blag wouldn't be called Marvin The Robot Talks Politics. Worrying overmuch is sort of a staple, and I don't know who I'd be if I didn't. (Illness identity? See, there I go again, worrying...)
Even so, I'm worried about slopes here. Is there a risk in allowing yourself to err?

I suppose I'll be chatting about some of this with my shrink anyway.
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[User Picture]From: ninjakitten
2012-11-11 10:59 pm (UTC)
I really do find the 'friend' test works pretty well. If it were a friend in my position, doing what I'm doing or want to do, what would I think of it, in my heart of hearts? Frequently it makes it suddenly quite obvious that I'm holding myself to an unreasonable standard. Sometimes, it makes it clear that yes, I may be trying to rationalize a choice that I want to make but oughtn't. I haven't yet found myself tumbling down a slippery slope from it.

I'd counter that of course there's a risk in allowing yourself to err, but there's a much greater risk in forbidding it. We WILL err, whether we "allow" it or not. It's part of being a human being. Once we accept that, errors become things we can accept, learn from, right as best we can, and move on from. If we don't, it becomes a major issue out of all proportion to our actual error. The problem stops being our actual mistake, and becomes the fact that we made a mistake at all. We can't learn from that, and we can't prevent that -- making a mistake of some kind -- happening again. It will. We're not perfect, and we never will or can be. We can only do our best, and that will always involve some failures and mistakes along the way.

It really isn't all or nothing. Most slopes seem to be a lot less slippery than we imagine they are. :)
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