This article is about selfishness and being selfish–an art that few people master. But if we look at two different types (physical vs. emotional), is there a difference?
In this post I am going to discuss two concepts: physical selfishness and emotional selfishness.
The reason that I have “divided” the term “selfishness” into two areas (physical vs. emotional) is because I think that they are used in slightly different ways.
Therefore, one of the questions that I will be talking about here is whether physical selfishness is more natural than emotional selfishness.
And in the course of this article I also will bring up an example from the “real world”, with the philosopher Simone Weil, which I will use to illustrate some of my ideas about the no-go situation of “resisting” being selfish.
Finally, I also want to try to sketch out how students of the Law of Attraction should think and act, in order for them to succeed with their manifestations. For being selfish, and especially emotionally selfish, is not entirely easy, if one cares about what other people (friends, family, and co-workers, etc.) think.
Physical Selfishness is Natural
Being selfish is completely natural. By definition we, as souls (or spirits), are born into individual bodies, where we live our lives.
However, these bodies must be maintained, and we cannot do that unless we are selfish. We must be selfish enough to “protect” our lives at least on a physical (biological) level, and thereby always making sure that we have enough food, drink and shelter.
Thus, “physical selfishness” seems like such a no-brainer: I mean, who would ever want to suppress their innate instincts and refuse food, drink, or shelter (for a longer time)?
Simone Weil: Against Physical Selfishness
But in the name of “politics” and “protest”, many people do, in fact, voluntarily abstain from food (and other things). A well-known example is the French philosopher and political activist Simone Weil (1909-1943), who “lived a life of stringent deprivation” (Breé 2006, p. 736).
And in her later years, that mood of “stringent deprivation” took the form of some type of “solidarity” eating, where she, while living in London, refused to eat more than what she thought was the current level of rationing in her home country France (at that time being occupied by the Germans).
And during the last period of her life, her resistance increased (Williams 1998, p. 698):
“In hospital, she refused food and resisted medical help, and, because of this, her death in August 1943 was recorded as suicide.”
So this is an example of physical non-selfishness, where she voluntarily was “abandoning” (or “overriding”) her own survival instincts.
This example is, of course, extreme compared to the lives that most people lead. But it shows what happens to a person who is “struggling against” the natural stream of life: not only did she die prematurely, but she did so at a very young age, only being 34 years of age.
In other words, physical non-selfishness, in general, does not lead to a long and happy life, but to suffering and (thus) a shorter life.
As Abraham-Hicks say in their Money, and the Law of Attraction (p. 85; my square brackets):
“You cannot find a happy ending to an unhappy journey. That defies Law [of Attraction].”
Emotional Selfishness is Also Natural
Just as physical selfishness is completely natural, so is emotional selfishness. For emotions are a part of our naturally supplied Emotional Guidance System.
This is confirmed by Abraham-Hicks in their Ask and It Is Given, where they say (p. 44):
“Your emotions–simply, purely, and only–are about your relationship with Source. And since your emotions tell you everything that you would ever want or need to know about your relationship with your Source, we often refer to your emotions as your Emotional Guidance System.”
And how should we use our emotional guidance system? We should use it to “steer ourselves” into more and more positive emotional territory.
So if we feel like we are “in the ditch”, we should simply steer ourselves back up on the main road again, as fast as we can, with no delay.
Therefore, the “task” (for students of the Law of Attraction) is to deliberately think and feel their way to happiness and a wonderful life.
In their Ask and It Is Given, Abraham-Hicks presents the “sculptor” analogy (p. 45):
“Like the sculptors who, with time and practice, learn to mold the clay into the precise desired creation, you can learn to mold the Energy that creates worlds through the focus of your own mind. And, like the sculptors who, with their hands, feel their way as they recreate their vision–you will use your emotions to feel your way to Well-Being.”
Simone Weil: A Law of Psychology
An interesting observation in this context is that Simone Weil seems to have been of the opinion that (Blum 2001, p. 1795):
“It seems to be a law of psychology that we turn away from the afflicted;”
So if we consider that to be a correct paraphrasing of Weil’s stance, then we can say that Weil’s observation is correct, if we are comparing it with our touchstone, the Abraham-Hicks’s material.
The idea of Abraham-Hicks is that we have an inbuilt emotional guidance system that, at every second of our day, tells us about our emotional whereabouts: If we are feeling bad, we should refocus; if we are feeling good, we should just continue feeling more good.
So the reason we “turn away from the afflicted” is because we are not feeling good when we observe them. And that is the correct behavior for persons who want to live a happy life.
For we cannot observe affliction without becoming afflicted ourselves. Thus, in order to avoid becoming afflicted we must also avoid observation of (and talking about, and thinking about, and writing about, and discussing) affliction.
Simone Weil: Against Emotional Selfishness
Now back to Weil. Even if her first observation was correct, she also “revolted” against it (as she did with many other ideas and concepts), thus continuing saying (Blum 2001, p. 1795; my square brackets):
“to turn toward them [the afflicted ones] with loving attention, we must counteract this natural force.”
Thus, Weil’s idea is that we must “counteract” our inbuilt emotional guidance system, so that we can give them “loving attention”.
That is, of course, a very empathetic and politically correct statement. It sounds “caring” and it sounds like it is coming from a “decent” person.
But the problem is that neglecting to be emotionally selfish, i.e. to continue offering such “loving attention” towards the afflicted ones, will, according to the Law of Attraction, make us afflicted ourselves.
Abraham-Hicks on Emotional Selfishness
Abraham-Hicks are often accused of promoting emotional selfishness. But that does not stop them. Instead, they agree that they are teaching selfishness.
And the reason they so willingly admit that, is explained in their The Law of Attraction (p. 64):
“…we always agree that we certainly do teach selfishness, for you cannot perceive life from any perspective other than from that of yourself. Selfishness is the sense of self.”
In other words, since each of us are individual perceivers, each with a unique perspective, we are, by design, selfish, and cannot be anything else.
And if we try to “override” our naturally endowed emotional selfishness, we cannot be happy. Thus Abraham-Hicks continue saying (p. 65):
“Unless you are selfish enough to care about how you feel, and therefore direct your thoughts in such a way that you are allowing a true connection to your Inner Being, you have nothing to give another anyway. Everyone is selfish. It is not possible to be otherwise.”
So one of the things we have to “work” on, when learning how to effectively apply the Law of Attraction in our own lives, is our empathy and sympathy (see my post Not Empathy, Not Sympathy: A Strategy for Allowing Positive Momentum).
According to the account of Abraham-Hicks, both physical selfishness and emotional selfishness are equally natural. Both our physical guidance system (hunger, thirst, need for shelter) and our “emotional” guidance system (sadness, happiness, etc.) are signalling to us, and are indicating exactly where we should go.
The “problem” is just that being “physically” selfish is more or less politically and socially correct, while being “emotionally” selfish is mostly considered being a “no-no”.
The “trouble”, then, for a student of the Law of Attraction is that it is hard to really embrace emotional selfishness. For if he or she is emotionally selfish, then they won’t “fit in” in society very well.
For most families, friends, and fellow workers seldom appreciate people who are emotionally selfish. Most people take for granted that friends should, for example, be very interested when they are in trouble, or when they are complaining about various injustices, or are otherwise suffering from various “unfortunate” conditions.
But emotionally selfish people should be virtually uninterested in such affairs. For they know that such “problems” do not lead to their own happiness, nor does it lead to the happiness of the other person.
Therefore, students should typically not put friends and family before being emotionally selfish. For if they do that, then they will most probably not be able to maximize their feeling good most of the time. And then they will rarely get anywhere in terms of progress with their desired manifestations. For it’s the Law of Attraction.
So the challenge is to put your feelings first; for others feelings are less important. It may sound harsh to some, but it’s just the Law of Attraction. Your life is all about your feelings, not their feelings. Mind your own business, get happy, and enjoy a wonderful, creative life.
Blum, Lawrence (2001), “Weil, Simone (1909-1943)” in Lawrence C. Becker and Charlotte B. Becker, eds., Encyclopedia of Ethics. Volume 3: P-W, indexes. Second edition. New York and London: Routledge. [Link to book]
Breé, Germaine (2006), “Weil, Simone” in Donald M. Borchert, ed., Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume 9: Shaftesbury – Zubiri. Second edition. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale (Macmillan Reference USA). [Link to book]
Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2004), Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2006), The Law of Attraction: The Basis of the Teachings of Abraham. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
Hicks, Esther and Jerry Hicks (2008), Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness. Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, Inc. [Link to book]
Williams, R. (1998), “Weil, Simone” in Edward Craig, ed., Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Volume 9: Sociology of knowledge – Zoroastrianism. London and New York: Routledge. [Link to book]
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