The Selfishness of Being

I thought myself humble after proclaiming to the world that my biggest ambition in life is to have children.

It took no less than a day for my brain to switch on and force me to think about this ambition of mine. Someone finally posed the “why?”, and I replied with a “to see my life reflected in my child’s eyes, like an extension of my life, like I’d never die…”. The frankness of the words that came from my mouth shocked me.

After visualizing these words I came to realize that this was perhaps one of, if not the, most arrogant and selfish statement I’ve ever made. I want to be a mother because I don’t want to die.

The other day, I caught myself thinking about humanity’s quest for immortality, and how, in subtle ways, we ensure that the memory of our existence does not die. We bury our dead, we take pictures, capture every moment, start large, impactful businesses, write our stories, ideas, theories, publish them, share our art, our poetry… it’s as if our existence after death is dependent on other people’s acknowledgement of it.

If I were to make Art and keep it to myself, I’d be considered selfish. Yet, if I make Art and share it so that I can get acknowledged, so that I can become a “renowned artist” and forever mentioned everywhere, would that not be a tiny little selfish as well? Sure, I may not want to be intentionally selfish by sharing what I do, but I can’t deny the fact that I do want to be known for my art. Da Vinci is not dead – he will never be. Not as long as we have La Gioconda to keep him alive. Good job, Mr. Da.

The right thing to do would be to have a good conclusion to this post, but since it’s my blog, and I’m coming to grits with the sudden epiphany of my own selfishness, I decided I will conclude with a quote, rather:

“Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness.
Listen to it carefully.”  – Richard Bach


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