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Selfish likeable
December 14th, 2014

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

Selfish likeable

« So how do you make a selfish [toy] character likeable? (…) you can make him kind, generous, funny, considerate, as long as one condition is met for him, is that he stays the top toy.
   And that's what it really is, is that we all live life conditionally. We're all willing to play by the rules and follow things along, as long as certain conditions are met. After that, all bets are off. »
— Andrew Stanton

   The path of cultivation aims to go beyond this "we're all willing… as long as…",  by developing generosity, discipline, patience, perseverance, focus and wisdom to the point where we can embody these even when our anticipations, our desires, our expectations are frustrated.
   We can do so, once we realised these qualities create a better world for all, including us… hence that we are not the appropriate conditioning (assuming any  conditioning might be appropriate).
   We can do so, once we realised that conditioning these qualities at our small, individual scale is unlikely to solve our frustration: only seeing things as they are (instead of some phantasmagorical "as they should be" or "as I wish them to be") can relieve us from unsatisfactoriness, from the discomfort of a mismatch between conceptions and reality.
   Only seeing things as they are can empower us to engage and to improve the situation at hand, without endlessly waiting for a 'better' opportunity, and without confusing actual possibilities (within the scope of causal influence) with mere childish dreams (out of causality).

   Nirvana is the unconditioned. The perfected qualities (paramitas) or the immeasurables (brahmaviharas) are dharma gates only as far as one really develops them towards unconditional forms.

Reading of the day: « Feeling "Holier Than Thou": Are Self-Serving Assessments Produced by Errors in Self- or Social Prediction? » by Nicholas Epley and David Dunning
« people generally think they are more likely than their peers to rebel in the Milgram obedience studies, cooperate in a prisoner's dilemma game, distribute collective funds equitably, and give up their seat on a crowded bus to a pregnant woman. In addition, people tend to believe they will resolve moral dilemmas by selecting the saintly course of action but that others will behave more selfishly. (…) In fact, people seem to chronically [and erroneously] feel "holier than thou." »