“..and the truth will set you free”(John 8:31-32)
“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”(David Foster Wallace)
Italian version at the link : "Lo faccio per te"
If nothing else, these sad and sinister times have amply unmasked, to those who are able to see, one of the most powerful (self) deceptions of the human being: the 'altruistic' theatre of 'I do it for you/for society/for the good of humanity'. Now, let's be clear that this attitude is often at least partly driven by a noble desire to see the other person happy, by a genuine sense of civic duty or simply by an innate benevolence.
However, these days, unless I'm standing in front of Jesus Christ, every time someone makes such statements either in private relationships or on social media, I get an immediate bout of hives. To begin with, let's pause for a moment and listen to how phrases like 'I'm doing it because it pleases them', 'I'm doing it for her, poor thing, who cares so much', 'I'm doing it because I am a good citizen' ooze with arrogance and 'kind' sense of concession. We also observe how this devoting ourselves to another is rarely completely free: there is a return in appreciation, valorisation... they make us feel important, competent, indispensable.
Finally, if we are honest enough, we might even realise that it is much easier to do something for a generic 'community' or for people with whom we are not very emotionally involved, than for our partner, mother or brother. If they have shyly expressed a wish, we just happen to burden them with it, making them feel dependent, annoyed or too needy.
Yes, because behind the ‘I'm doing it to please you' there is the control of other people's pleasure, granted at our discretion and pleasure; there is the will to never give ourselves totally and the fear of letting ourselves be penetrated by a feeling that could bring intimacy and involvement.
At the end of the day, the average human being loves his cage very much and has every right to stay in it; a right which, as far as I can see, he/she tends to exercise to the full. He/she enjoys the distorted pleasure of power games more than following up on a sweet emotion, an impulse of the heart or the intoxicating vertigo of letting himself/herself go.
As Massimo Rodolfi says, not only is man not yet able to love, but above all he is not able to let himself be loved. This would imply starting to love ourselves first of all, listening to ourselves and resolving ourselves, trying to find joy in our heart. At that point we will be able to give happiness and pleasure to others too, genuinely and without bragging about it, because the armour that separates us from them and from Life has softened.
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