I’d like to be a pastor of sorts. Not of the sort that calls any kind of religion his own. I want to be the kind that spreads wisdom and good, impactful words. I want to be the kind that can listen to others’ moral crises and size up their struggles and offer the kind of support they need–quickly, efficiently. I only have so much time and I only want to spare so much of it to the alleviation of others’ sufferings, and so why wouldn’t I want to go about that efficiently? I can solve more crises and help more fools per unit time that way! Capitalistic compassion. Built capacity to produce is built value. Maybe that’s not what the fools think they want, but objectively, it is better to spend little time suffering and wallowing than a lot of it. You can be inspired by your suffering and empowered by overcoming it or you can focus on how shitty it’s making your life now until time’s up! I always set out toward the former and jump ship if someone’s unreachable. I didn’t jump ship with myself, but treating oneself with utmost respect, heroic efforts, is a no brainer. No matter how compassionate you are, you understand this, and to fight it is only to have been conditioned poorly, to have been conditioned against survival; any tension over whether to save yourself before the next guy is an evolutionary failure, a developmental catastrophe. All I can do is spread this word of self-reliance and some degree of self-exaltation. Thinking of yourself as Jesus isn’t hubristic; it’s limiting. He was his own man, you should be yours! Knowing you’re the only one who’ll fully look out for yourself comes with pain and learning–the school of hard knocks isn’t just some tounge-in-cheekery my parents told me to justify my mom’s lack of a college degree when I was a little, narcissistic, school-obsessed shit. No justification necessary. I know that now that I’ve had some brushes with real learning, learning through relationships, unstructured, superprobabilistic human enterprises.
I know people. I know how most people will behave in a given situation. That’s selfishly–assuming there’s no check on it. If someone has a choice of whether to help a stranded motorist or not, they’ll consider whether they’ve got to be somewhere, and many will stretch the scope of this question hours beyond relevance. Granted, you don’t know what someone will demand of you, but you can find out at a pretty low cost. Most people, however, don’t have their own lives in order and think they can only get that done in isolation from others’ problems. Not so! Helping other people solve novel problems helps you learn–and ain’t this a surprise–transferrable coping mechanisms. Most people think some small possibility of adversity warrants inaction when the potential direct benefit will be enjoyed externally. Depends, but usually not so. If people would take some time to learn how to listen and how to counsel, the world could be a better place. There will be some risk, no doubt, of not being able to do all your personal projects immediately if you take up this critical learning, but it will save people down the road and save the overall amount of time it takes for them to get past their shit. Think about it–don’t people need each other? Wouldn’t you want a good chance of finding some quick and dirty but genuine and constructive understanding if your sail won’t hoist? Would your ideal treatment plan look more like a healthy social network or an 80-dollar-per-hour, once-weekly debriefing of all the shit that’s bugging you and some shit you make up or bellyache about just to get your money’s worth? I vote for the former, the first. I vote for hobbies that allow you to either laugh about how dumb you’ve been or forget about your hardships altogether. I vote for writing that’s mostly shitty but sometimes yields something in the neighborhood of insightful or original. I vote for getting out those 750 words per day, uninspired as they’re likely to be if you’re going for a certain length. However, you will have days where you can fill those 750 pages just because you want to, and all of it will be much satisfactory and you’ll feel empowered to help someone out. Competence and quiet-headedness lead to confidence, which leads to leadership ability, which facilitates any efforts to heal sick minds.
If you can influence people, you can influence their behavior, and influence the consequences of their behavior and therefore the mental consequences of the consequences of their behavior. They’ll learn things, and so will you!