Living in a Selfish World (2011)

Rev. Abby Jo By Rev. Abby Jo, 16th Dec 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Film & TV>Documentary

Are humans naturally cooperative and altruistic? Are we conditioned by a competitive society to learn distrust? This film shows toddlers cooperating with adults without talking: the adult begins a task, the toddler helps complete the task.

Evolution of Cooperation: Who Benefits?

51:46 minutes, this documentary film directed by: Kurt Langbein, Gottfried Derka is available on gaia at

The teeter-totter balancing of competition v. cooperation rests on the pretext that there are limited resources. We perpetuate this mass delusion in our collective faith it is true when it is not true. This pretext is founded on the premise that common sense, that human ethics, based in part with the personal experience of pain, can be turned off and on at the whim of the dominant sector of society. It is based on the idea that the "masters" will dictate to the "slaves" their reality, any reality they would like to invent, for their own selfish need such as an endless thirst for power and dominance.

"Money is like cocaine" says one of the scientists. And whilst not addressed by this film, BigPharma plays a key role here in sedating pain, convincing humans that pain is abnormal instead of teaching one to follow the message of each form of pain to see where it leads. This film follows the psychological process of how one can perhaps turn around in a maze of confusing expectations until concluding at some point that all pain is shared pain. Is selfishness learned? Or is altruism learned?

Eventually we all come to the conclusion that Su dolor es mi dolor, but why? Are we, as the film suggests, wired to share physical sensations as well as emotions? How does that benefit us? Is pain in fact a cry from the collective human soul, that something big is out of balance? Is individual pain really not isolated or abnormal at all? What if subjective pain is the individual perception of the collective human nerve screaming?

Perhaps, if you let others take control of you "they" will decide if and when you will feel pain. So don't be a spiritual slave. Nobody can enslave a spirit, only the body can be enslaved and it tends to follow its beliefs. When we do more than point out unfairness, when we emote instead of move to make it fair, we feed the parasites that need this chaos to exist. By over-reacting, emoting or focusing on what's wrong with the oppressor, we inadvertently empower that oppressor. The blame game makes the bully stronger.

What I do to you is done to me as well. If I am unfair to you, we both experience unfairness, and vice verse. In order to get balance and harmony for myself, I have to practice it first and in spite of any and all bullies endeavoring to create obstacles to that balance and harmony. It's a hard lesson. Buddha did say if the disciple spits on you, thank him for balancing your karma. Perhaps when one can receive minor insults graciously, one does not require major insults in order to learn the same lessons.

So make your tools of conflict and I will make my tools of peace.

The rest of the film provides three concrete examples, all senior citizens, who are putting their faith into action, one provides homeless with up to 48 beds; another renovated a boat and teaches teenagers, a third visits shut-ins, providing a chance to go out and smell fresh air, see a river, look at the sky. Why? Because it makes them feel good. That's what the last woman said, who donated a kidney because she could. What was the benefit? Only she really knows the benefit to her, but watching the film all the way through one sees a struggle to return to a state of innocence, to before the distrust. Perhaps we can reach a new critical mass of trust if we all give altruistically "because it feels good." And perhaps Gan Eden is more of a state of mind, a pure state, of innocent cooperation "just because."


Competition, Cooperation, Selfishness

Meet the author

author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
I am an ordained minister in my 50s. My ministry is online. I practice meaningful written dialogue, truth in all things. Ascending beyond past. I will be here regardless of pay.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
16th Dec 2015 (#)

Thanks for this thought provoking post, Rev. Abby Jo.

We come with an inner knowing to cooperate for common good but are led like sheep by few to our confusion and doom.

Sadly, the majority gives much leverage to a tiny minority to impose their will thus creating disharmony.

I feel the next level of human consciousness will enable us to rise to a higher level of coexistence - hopefully before it is too late.

Personally I believe our Creator has given us a long rope to climb higher or to hang ourselves collectively and take down other species too - that will be a terrible karma for us. Looks like God was micromanaging earlier, holding our hands when needed.

Sadly, many have a resigned take that we cannot coexist; that cynicism has to be overcome - siva

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author avatar Rev. Abby Jo
19th Dec 2015 (#)


Climb that rope yourself with focus on the goal not on the naysayers and cynics around you.

Each successful climber becomes a beacon for the "sheep."

Many blessings from Aloha, Oregon USA

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