I’m going to ask you a question.
Have you ever been hiking with someone, and whilst walking along the dusty, twig-ridden trail, the person you’re with picks up a branch from the ground, and proceeds to use it as a hiking/walking stick?
I’m sure this has happened to all of us.
And so, almost as a reply to that person’s actions, you pick a branch up from the ground, so that you may, too, have a walking aid at hand.
But after a while of walking behind this person you start to realize just how superior their stick is compared to yours, and you get a nagging voice in the back of your mind that can’t be suppressed or stifled. You realize there is nothing that will make you happier at this moment, than if you were the one to be using that stick.
If only there was a way.
So when the two of you stop to take a break, and both sticks are set aside for a short time, you time-out to drink some water- or energade, or red bull, or whatever; but all the time your eyes steer back to that stick that is leaning against the tree stump… calling out to you.
So, very unsuspicious, you waddle over to the stump where the ever-elusive stick lies and you slowly pick it up, shifting your old, and lesser stick into the empty spot, so as to make it seem as if it was your friend’s original stick.
You now hold the stick in your hands. It’s warm and has a perfect grip, your fingers tighten around it and you feel a whole lot better.
Break time ends.
Your friend wanders back to the stump to retrieve his prized walking-stick. He picks your old one up without question, but falters when he notices its differences. To not make it blatantly obvious that he suspects he has been robbed, he steals a look behind his shoulder towards your hand clasping the sought-after stick.
At this moment in time lots of things are going on. In your mind, you are feeling guilt, because you know that he realizes you have taken his stick, but you also feel as if he may suspect you’ve done it by accident, which leaves you thinking he may ask for it back at any moment. So you look around and pretend to be busy. In the meantime, the friend is wondering whether you took it intentionally, because he knows that you are fully aware that he had the better stick, but he is also too shy and proud to ask you for it back. So he surrenders.
You have won. You now have the stick. So long have you waited to be able to hike up this trail with the aid of – only the best walking stick around.
And suddenly your friend bends down and picks up a new stick.
Could it be possible?
His new walking-stick is better than the one you have in your hand. You try not to notice, but all of a sudden your “best” stick is chafing the inside of your hand, leaving raw blisters; riddled with splinters that will always be too small to extract, even with the help of tweezers.
And the same scenario ensues.
So what am I trying to say here?
Am I rambling on about some farcical story, none of which has any relevance to anything? Or am I delving into the nitty-gritty of one of the most noticeable human behavioral patterns in psychology?
I’m talking about human-beings natural tendency towards selfishness. Selfishness is everywhere, and with elections looming, you can see it now more than ever. Everywhere you look.
Almost everything is based in some way on selfishness; to be truly selfless, is a real gift.
Love, itself, is based on selfishness. The need to be needed, the want to be wanted. The need to possess.
Even the game of catch, is based purely on selfishness. Observe:
BILL – Hmmm, a ball. Cool! (picks ball up)
BOB – Hey, Bill’s got a ball, I want that ball. Bill, give me that ball!
BILL – Okay I’m bored of the ball. (throws the ball to Bob)
BOB – Yes! (catches ball)
BILL – Hmmm, wait, I want the ball back now; if not for a while, then only to feel it in my hands again. Bob, give me back the ball!
BOB – Yeah, I’m bored of it now. (throws the ball back to Bill)
And so the cycle continues.
The similarity between both of these scenarios, in fact, even the love scenario, is that when a person finally has what they want, they grow tired of it almost instantaneously. They grow detached ungrateful.
And only when they’ve no longer got that thing, do they realize exactly what they had.
But by then it’s usually too late.
Except if you’re playing catch.