Altruism, ARTICLE 3 (Warriors' Journeys)

Author: Theun Mares. Link to original: (English).
Tags: Altruism, Toltec Teachings Submitted by Warriorskeep 06.02.2017. Public material.

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Альтруизм, статья 3 (Путешествия Воинов). Translated in draft, editing and proof-reading required.
Submitted for translation by Warriorskeep 06.02.2017


Altruism and the State

"First of all you must think about your Motherland"

(from the Soviet song)

In the Soviet Union the encouragement of altruism was a kind of state policy for a long time. Prisons and fear are good things for controlling people, but you need something else to prove that everything is OK for the people, and that it is in the name of the people, and that the people are really glad and enthusiastic in doing what the Communist Party and the Soviet government want them to do.

And wow, there are people who have a natural disposition to become enthusiastic when they are told that it is necessary to "save" somebody or something - the world, the state or just the annual crops. All you need is to tell them where their "help" is needed. They don't ask many questions; they are just glad to be manipulated and gladly live in their own illusion.

At the beginning of my journalistic career, in the early 90's I wrote some articles on what had become of the former Soviet "heroes," who were known as the first workers on virgin lands. (The "virgin lands" are the regions to the south of Siberia and the north of Kazakhstan that were the boundless steppe, with feather-grass, and virtually unpopulated till the end of the 60's. "Conquering the virgin lands" was a well-known "heroic" trade movement in the Soviet Union.)

My impressions in going to Kazakhstan were very sad. The typical story was that the "hero" was no longer needed, and had become "useless," all the authorities had forgotten about them, their personal lives had been ruinedтАж Old age was near, and there was nobody who could help to repair the roof of their poor houseтАж It was typical for Russian journalism in the 90's to blame the Soviet state for all these types of stories. But is it really the "bad state" that is the whole issue?

During my trip to Kazakhstan I also met some rare "heroes" of the other sort. They were there just for themselves. You know, there are some crazy people whose heart is truly in living in the steppe. Usually they also had a poor house, a lot of problems and no help from officials, but they looked rather happy and satisfied, irrespective of the fact that they had every "right" to see themselves as victims of the Soviet state. And usually there was a loving wife by such a "hero," and everything was going according to the "... and they lived happily ever after" scenarioтАж

When I was a child I was taught that "it is necessary to help people." I really wanted to help. When I became more grown-up it had become a habit to make myself busy with everyone's business except my own. I tried to help people and to do what was "necessary." It seemed that "to be helpful to society" was more interesting and important than doing something that was important just for me.

There was one trouble with all of this though. My own unresolved issues were becoming more and more unresolved, and they were claiming my attention and distracting me from the "what is necessary for the people" activity. I was more and more busy, but it didn't help to do all the "necessary" things, and so I felt more and more guiltyтАж

Then it became even worse, because it appeared that some people had opposing views on "what is necessary for the people," and "how to save the country." And with some horror I realized that what was true at the "saving the country" level was also true for personal relationships. What a hopeless situation! I couldn't help everybody!!!

It took many years before I could grasp that "it is necessary for the people" is just an illusion that is very well described in an old Russian joke of the Soviet time: "Everything in our country is for the people, everything is in the name of the people, I even know the names of these people."

Many people cannot grasp why altruism is a shortcoming. Usually altruists want to make life better. What is wrong with this? Once when trying to explain what was going on with reforms in Russia Victor Ghernomyrdin, a prime-minister, spoke a phrase that became proverbial in our country: "We wanted to make it better but the results turned out to be as usualтАж" It is always so with altruists. They want to make it better butтАж there are always some problems with the results.

Usually altruists are so sincerely sure that someone else can know better what is "good" for other people, and they are so sure that they can "make it better" for others, even better than the others themselves! Living in this illusion, altruists just don't see that they try to take away from others their responsibility, their chance to learn, their strength. And they miss their opportunities to claim their own chances to learn and gain their own strength, because they are always fighting other people's battles.

Who is the winner here? Usually people who are good at manipulating know perfectly well that the altruists are their chance in their efforts to take from people their strength and responsibility. Surely, "to help the people." Most of us know who are those "people."