What's in it for me? It's time to shelve selfishness for selflessness
By: Bernard J. Rabik (The Times)
It's hard to think about selflessness when we are struggling.
Selflessness is the surest route to inner peace and a meaningful life.
Selflessness heals the self.
The pandemic is far stronger than any one of us.
We can win together , or we can lose.
Justin Turner, third baseman of the World Series-winning Dodgers , was abruptly removed in Game 6 because he tested positive for the coronavirus. There is something strange and disquieting about trying to parse just how hard his employers tried to restrict an infectious 35-year-old man from going where he wanted on the day that his team won the World Series. But no more strange and disquieting than the more expansive, serious reality of a country besieged by a pandemic that has killed nearly a quarter of a million people.
Bernard J. Rabik For The Times
The real reason the celebratory scene in Arlington, Texas, after the Dodgers won the World Series was so surreal and upsetting was because Justin Turner, a real person, chose to knowingly expose other real people — his teammates, coaches, their families and support staff — to a potentially deadly virus. He knew the stakes and the toll and the situation clearly. Doing the right thing would have been a bummer, an eternal source of wistfulness for Turner, who certainly deserved to celebrate with the team he helped lead to a championship.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus cares not for what you deserve.
Time and time again, however, we're reminded that human society is so much worse than we ever imagine. People don't care about each other. At least not more than they care about someone else's salary and healthcare more than they care about their own growing expendable income. It's not just corporations that can be callous. People will endanger others to their face.
The New York Times opinion columnist Paul Krugman has written: "The cult of selfishness is killing America." There's a deeper explanation of the profoundly self-destructive behavior of President Trump and his allies: They are all members of America's cult of selfishness. But the point is that Trump has normalized selfishness.
As a nation, we've lost our sense of altruistic and moral purpose, a collective will to do what is decent and right — "other-regarding."
We as Americans have a fundamental right to disagree. We do not have the right to trample on others' property, health, thought processes or social well-being.
It's true. It's hard to think about selflessness when we are struggling. Selflessness is the surest route to inner peace and a meaningful life. Selflessness heals the self.
We must seek to leave a place cleaner than we found it, people happier than we found them, the world better than we find it. We have come not to take but to receive.
The vices and virtues of the people at large matter enormously; for leadership is the art of the possible, and possibility is determined by whether generosity can triumph over selfishness in the American soul.
Nicole Weiss and David Rhoades' wedding plans took an abrupt turn on July 31 when Weiss was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Weiss is battling Stage 4 glioma, a rare mutation of a cancerous tumor. Though it isn't curable, doctors hope to slow its progression. Weiss is undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. High school sweethearts, Weiss, 28, and Rhoades, 29, had been planning to marry in spring 2021.
"When we found out about my diagnosis, I thought, 'Why have we waited so long? Let's just get married.' We been together 11 years," Weiss said.
The first night she was hospitalized after Rhoades won his fight with hospital staff to let him stay in Weiss' room amid COVID restrictions, they hatched a plan to marry sooner.
"We're more in love than we are scared," he said. "We said, 'Let's do it.'"
Although Weiss has switched to a Keto diet based on nutritionists' recommendations, she splurged on her Oct. 18 wedding day. They picked a menu of beer-braised beef with garlic mashed potatoes and rice pilaf and seasonal salad. She said, "During this cancer treatment I've cut out all carbs and sugar, but I said, 'It's my wedding day. I'm going to eat whatever I want. I'm going to eat the cake!'"
No selfishness between them. They both have come not to take but to give.
Selfishness is everywhere. The elite progressives, right-wing conservatives and everyone else in the mix are selfish. It is damaging to people and our democracy. Let's all take time to think about how to change our own selfish behavior before attacking others.
Bernard J. Rabik, a Hopewell Township attorney, is an opinion columnist for The Times.