Self. We have been living in the age of the self since the 1970s. More passing years? More self.
Now the advice people all give us self-advice. For self-care. Self-forgiveness. Self-love. Self-acceptance. We are meant to build the self. Curate the self. Express the self. Promote the self. Self, self, self.
There is another word for this. That word is “narcissism.”
No, just no.
You should not “care” for yourself or “forgive” yourself or “love” yourself or “accept” yourself or any of these things. That does not mean that you should refuse to care for yourself or refuse to forgive yourself or refuse to accept yourself, either.
It’s not about whether or not you are positive or negative about yourself. It’s about the fact that people are thinking about “selves” in the first place.
The disease isn’t refusing to forgive yourself or refusing to love yourself or refusing to accept yourself. The disease is in considering these things in the first place—in all this damned thinking about and justice-seeking for the “self.”
That’s the narcissism.
Forgive or hold a grudge, love or hate, if you’re doing these things with regard to the self, it is still all about you. Hating yourself is just another way of loving yourself and vice-versa.
Caring, forgiving, loving—these are things that a well-adjusted person does for others, not for themselves.
You take responsibility for yourself. That is all.
You care about others.
You forgive others.
You love others.
You sacrifice for others.
You believe in others.
If you are doing these things for yourself, then you are not helping the world.
This bizarre belief that the best thing that you can do for the world is to do something nice for yourself—that the best way to do right by others is to let yourself off the hook…
It’s all a rationalization. A selfish rationalization by a selfish society in which each person doesn’t want anything to accrue to anyone other than themselves. A society in which every person is asking not “Who is here and what do they need?” But rather “I am here, and I have needs—so how can I have them met?”
This is why everyone is so fucking miserable.
Because they are living in the center of the very defintion of loneliness. They are alone. They are alone atop their shining hill in the halls of justice-for-the-self.
Q: But how can you live if you don’t care for yourself, and other similar objections?
A: The greatest tragedy in an individual’s life—and the greatest loss of meaning—is precisely the loss of the chance to die for the cause—to be stuck with oneself and nothing larger, rather than to lose oneself for one’s commitments to others.