Philosophical Timbits: Why Being Selfish Isn’t Wrong

Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution is a lecture from 1959 (it’s really cool though, keep reading please!) by chemist and writer C.P. Snow, about the world’s two sides: the “literary intellectuals,” (art and literature) and the “physical scientists” (science). In the following quote, he explains how different people deal with “the tragic condition” or believing each of us essentially lives and dies alone.

“Some scientists I have known have had faith in revealed religion. Perhaps with them the sense of the tragic condition is not so strong. I don’t know. With most people of deep feeling, however high-spirited and happy they are, sometimes most with those who are happiest and most high-spirited, it seems to be right in the fibres, part of the weight of life. ”

Now, I don’t know if I really think this is what he meant, or if I’m just being self-indulgent here, but this gave me something to say.

Of course. The people of deep feeling, the people that fall hard, love often, breathe deeper, and feel MORE are the happiest and most high-spirited, of course, because they feel everything until they can’t feel any more. They dive into life head first and take advantage of everything it can offer. These people are the hipsters, the wallflowers, the antisocial weirdos, the street performers, the company executives. They’re nobody you know and everyone you haven’t met yet. They take life as it comes, take chances, and fit no boundaries. There is no criteria to fit, no checklist for what to look for to spot a person of deep feeling. They might end up Prom Queen, or they might end up President. They may drop out of university, get tattoos they regret, have bad hair days, bad dye jobs, or ‘bad’ decades, but it doesn’t matter. Follow one rule. This rule will allow you to enjoy yourself, and truly (without sounding cliché) get to know yourself.

Do what you want.

Do what YOU want. It’s that simple. If people stopped concerning themselves with others, and based decisions solely on themselves, the world would know itself a little better. There’s no blame to throw around, there are no uncontrollable variables; make decisions by legitimately considering “what do I actually WANT.” Even something as simple as eating what you’re craving (no matter what it is!) for lunch, instead of depriving yourself because of something you think you should do. Maybe your want to not gain weight before summer starts is greater than your want to NOT go to the gym! And if its not, then hey, it’s still YOUR decision, and it’s who you are. If you do what you want, you’ll become who you are.

-Sydney

P.S. This is what I did today while ‘studying’ for the philosophy midterm I have tomorrow morning. I think it counts ;).

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