People hate the idea that we are animals, and evolution and biology apply to us.
This is an inconvenient truth for people who believe there is a human right to social justice, fair and just relations between the individual and society. I am not sure where this idea has ever came from, and I don’t think this utopia has ever existed. Every society is tyrannical in some way and to some individuals, indeed the nature of countries is necessarily anti-Utopian. The German sociologist Max Weber theorized that the state is that “human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence within a given territory.”
Personally, I have never seen a society successfully organized around social justice. This is an ideal that is difficult in theory because societies can never have empathy, only individuals can. In reality the challenges are even larger, organizations large enough to theoretically provide lofty social justice goals will suffer from Kafkaesque bureaucracy. If you expect the government to effectively provide for those in need, please read Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. This is the story of a Ukrainian Jewish family in 1942-1943 during Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. The book will shock you into realism, we can dream and fantasize about an ideal world, but to expect to see it in the real world is naive. An understanding of history will lead to a realization that narcissists and psychopaths often end up in power. When this happens, it is best to not be over-reliant on the government, ideally you should have zero reliance on the government. It is Stoicism 101 to focus your energy on the things that are under your control.
A Life Affirming Idea
A healthy dose of realty will show you that most people in life are failures. Most people have no ambition or goals, and if they do they will easily give up on them and rationalize away this failure. They deny the reality of their situation and their individualism, and instead accept an arbitrary role that is “socially valued”.
If you understand the reality of the world you can achieve your goals in life and live a life you dream of. People often fail to acknowledge that survival of the fittest is not a negative idea, it is a life affirming idea. Once you accept the politically incorrect idea that evolution applies to humans you can effectively move forward with your life. If you have internet, you have so much instant access to unlimited knowledge. You also have the ability to start a website and make money online. The possibilities of the life you can live in the modern world are limitless. The next step you should take is to accept yourself for what you are at present and improve yourself.
Self-improvement involves acceptance of the self at present and then a focused improvement from this level. It’s pretty simple and the important thing to remember is to focus on the long-term, do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still. Self-improvement is simply about improving your life, by definition, anything you do to improve your life is self-improvement. In the West we live in an atomized, individualistic world so self-improvement involved developing self-reliance. Self-reliance (aka self-sufficiency) is the process of developing true independence and the freedom to follow one’s true self. Society and the individual are always at odds, so your focus needs to be on making individual rather than societal progress. This is true independence and self-sufficiency.
The Individual And Society
You need to form a strong identity and do the things you want to do rather than what society tells you to do. People who follow a “path” in life are inevitably following someone else’s path. This is all jolly good if you are entirely focused on other people’s opinion of you. You can get a prestigious job, buy a fancy watch and car, but that will not change your character or who you are as a person. People who focus on living the life other people tell them to (implicitly or explicitly) always know in the back of their head they aren’t living the life they want. This is why the idea of the midlife crisis is such a powerful concept. A 50 year old man realizes he has been living the life his father wanted him to live so he buys an expensive sports car and gets a mistress. He does this because he realizes his increasing age, impending mortality, and lack of genuine accomplishments in life. Not surprisingly the red sports car and mistress don’t make him feel younger.
To live a full life you need to make your own path in life. Be selfish and put yourself first. You do this because it allow you to ignore distractions and achieve the life you want. You might want to be a solo dolo individualist, be selfish about it. You might want to have a big family and spend a lot of time with them like the Amish, be selfish about it. The way you exercise your selfishness will depend on your personality, culture, and personal experience. If you have intelligence and empathy your selfishness will inevitably involve other people (to some degree), no man is an island. Good relationships with other people are one of the most important things in life.
Different Types of Selfishness
Selfishness has a negative association that I believe is absolutely not merited. What people see negative things around them in their life and consider this caused by selfishness, it is usually just caused ignorant short-term thinking. The difference between the “selfishness” of the average person, the “selfishness” of the ignorant person, and the “selfishness” of the intelligent person is absolutely massive.
Average selfishness – People with average selfishness strives towards society’s ideal for the individual (this is covert selfishness, these people are often very uncomfortable with the word selfish). They attempt to look out for their own self interest by disguising it as doing what is valued by society.
Ignorant selfishness – This is people confusing pleasure and happiness. People engage in hedonism, thinking their short-term pleasure will make their life better; it rarely does.
Intelligent selfishness – This involves thinking of the long-term thinking and delaying gratification. You do what you need to do to ensure you have a good life.
People create a dichotomy of generous and selfish that is extremely short-sighted. Consider this, why do people get plaques and recognition when they donate funds towards a museum, concert hall, art gallery, or a building on a university campus? Could it be because that they selfishly want recognition for their philanthropy and charity work in their community. Even people who donate money for these projects still gets a plaque that says “anonymous”. The donations committee put anonymous because they know this person still wants recognition, but they are more introverted or covert about their need for admiration from the community. I bet you have never thought of philanthropy as a selfish.
This is an incredibly overt form of selfishness, putting your name on a building. However it’s not seen as selfishness because it doesn’t fit into the cultural narrative.
Sometimes up is down and black is white.
Survival Of The Fittest In The True Sense
I prefer the term survival of the fittest to natural selection because the latter term personifies nature. It takes the power from the individual (internal locus of control) and places it in the hands of nature (external locus of control). This makes it too easy to blame the world for any shortcomings you have rather than being proactive and adapting yourself to the environment. Since fitness is how well you function in an immediate, local environment. Survival of the fittest is adapting your behavior in a way that allows you to live and reproduce in your environment.
This does not mean do all the things people who seem successful are doing. There is an interesting signalling medium called “social” media, where a lot of people seem successful but are simply showing their best sides. Some social media platforms are great for arguing violently about ideas, others are better for for creating a fake lifestyle. I don’t condone either use and have my own social media recipe, because of the negative effects of social media use.
In the survival of the fittest, the most important thing is adaptation. I have started to realize some of my decisions are at odds with the inevitable future. I will revisit this issue in the future.