Yesterday, we saw that both religion and science reject the Myth of Independence, and that the very existence of society itself is evidence that humans are not independent, but are interdependent.
Today we will discuss how the beliefs of the Mythers, especially the Myth of Independence, make them unjust and ungrateful, and consequently unfit to live in society.
Extreme Mythers are unjust and ungrateful
Because humans are interdependent, the totally self-interested person—one who accepts an unqualified form of the Myth of Independence—is therefore a hypocrite. Unless he is a hermit (and Mythers never are), such a person lives in society. That is to say, he is part of a collective of interrelated individuals that originally joined together for mutual aid and support. Despite this, such a person tries to maximize his own benefits and minimize his contributions to the society that continues to protect him. This is certainly ungrateful, and also unjust in the highest degree. What could be more unjust than trying to get something valuable for nothing, or for as little as possible?
Of course, a certain amount of concern for oneself is appropriate, especially when it involves keeping yourself healthy and in good shape in order to meet your obligations to family, friends, and society. But self-interested independence that focuses exclusively on personal profit, that tries to avoid the obligation of supporting society while simultaneously enjoying its benefits—that degree of independence is indistinguishable from rank selfishness.
And to deny the obvious fact of interdependence in order to be able to justify not contributing is morally despicable.
The Myth of Independence combines with the Myth of Self-interest to corrode society
Since society is a collection of interrelated individuals, society will begin to suffer when reasonable self-interest passes over into selfishness—which is precisely what happens when many people start to accept the Myth of Self-interest. The Myth of Self-interest, reinforced by the Myth of Independence, hardens the hearts and minds of Mythers, so that they actually believe they don’t owe anything to the society that provides them with the benefits they enjoy.
When people believe such things, they try to limit their obligations in every way possible. They try to minimize continually the contributions they have to make to the general welfare. They insist on the right to pursue activities that damage or destroy society’s common resources. They demand that others respect their selfishness while simultaneously refusing to respect those who understand that selfishness corrodes the benefits that were supposed to come from banding together.
The Myth of Self-interest reinforced by the Myth of Independence generates a severe egoism that is the root of all evil in the social sphere. Left to pursue their selfish aims, egoistic Mythers would dissolve the fabric of society rather than admit the debt they owe to their fellow citizens. The more people there are who believe the Myths, the closer society is to dissolution.
On Monday we will continue our consideration of the Myth of Independence by looking at the way belief in this Myth corrodes the structure of justice in society.
Until Monday, then.
Posted on 30 November 2012
by Alfred George filed under