“We are self-centred human beings. Our activities are centred in ourselves, and we act from there”.
Public Talk 6 in Madras (Chennai), 6 January 1980
We don’t deny the truth of this because our behavior is an ongoing demonstration of it. One may take comfort in knowing that others are more self-absorbed than oneself, but that’s cold comfort when the fact is face that being self-centered is putting yourself first and foremost, above all, including whatever you solemnly believe in and swear by. Your good deeds and humble service are all about you, regardless of who or what God or Principle you are devoted to. Whether you chose your purpose in life or it seemed to have chosen you, it defines and identifies you because it is our conditioning is be someone, for better or for worse.
This is how we evolved. Our capacity for complex thought is the advantage we have had over other forms of life, but it has also made us vulnerable to confusion and delusion, and the effect of this vulnerability is to have made victims of every living thing on our planet…including us. Does this mean that egocentricity has reached the peak of its power to delude and derange human minds? One can only hope so.
But in the meantime, what can one do to address this human condition? Are we too deeply conditioned to question our inclinations and tendencies, not to mention our actual behavior? Do we justify and rationalize what we do, or do we submit it to scrutiny? How confident are we? Why are we confident at all considering how mistaken we have been and will continue to be? Who do we think we are? Why does one need to be someone?