- By Lt. Tim McMillan
My Selfish Pursuit For Equality
At times I have been accused of having selfish motivations for my very vocal criticisms of prejudice. Some have even gone as far as to call me a self-loathing “race baiter,” on the basis that my intentions are to profit from dissension.
Ultimately, I would be more than happy to share with anyone that the truth is there is no real financial opportunity in the advocacy of unity amongst people. At least, none I’ve ever seen or had proposed to me.
In reality, the real financial gain comes from selling polarization in society or the division of people. Maybe this is what people are suggesting. That I am selling polarization by speaking out against racism. In this sense, one would be accurate in saying that I believe prejudice or racism should be divided out of any society that wishes to be successful and flourish.
Now, in light of what I just said, there are two significant reasons for my advocacy against prejudice, and fundamentally, both of these reasons could be considered selfish.
First, I believe racism or prejudice is synonymous with cowardice.
To varying degrees people who harbor prejudices are afraid of competing in life on an even playing field. They believe that if the stakes were equal they may not be able to have the positions of privilege they have been afford or presently enjoy.
Selfishly I have no desire to live my life as a coward and more importantly, I realize that if I do not compete in life against all that life has to offer, this means my successes and achievements will always have an asterisk beside them.
A life where inequality exists means that one will never have the opportunity to be the best because one never gets to fairly compete against all life’s diverse competition. As an implicit side effect, when you know you can never truly be the best, one ends up never pushing themselves to be better.
Ultimately, you could say that I promote equality for everyone because I selfishly desire a life where I can legitimately be the best.
Secondly, I strive to be able to experience life to the fullest. I seek to be a good person and ironically I choose to be selfless because selfishly I feel happier and more fulfilled in life when I am able to help others.
I spend very little time contemplating what will happen or where I may go the day my life comes to an end. Therefore, my motivation for trying to do good in life is about my experience while living and not based on the expectation of reward in death.
In my pursuit of experiencing life to the fullest, I accept that I am inherently representative of merely a small fraction of what humanity has to offer. In order to truly experience life to the fullest, I seek out to absorb and learn from all of the diverse attributes of that encompass humanity in totality.
Essentially, one could suggest I am selfishly motivated in my pursuit of equality, in that I want to ensure that everyone who is not like me has equal opportunity and voice so that I get a chance to absorb and learn about everything in life I am not.
Assuredly, there are aspects about humanity’s diverseness that I may not like. However, in my experience of surrounding myself with diverse people, I have found no matter what group or classification of individuals you can think of, there are overwhelmingly more good people than there are bad.
Ultimately, this means that to have a negative view of any group of people would be limiting myself from being able to experience the tremendous number of good people that are within it.
So in the end, people could indeed be correct if they suggest that my advocacy for equality is a shellfish endeavor. However, it is selfish in that I want to gain more from life and that I hold it to be a self-evident truth that with any one person, there is far more about them than meets the eye.
This eventually causes me to ask some people, "What exactly are you allowing your eyes to see?"
With every person, there are actually multiple complex layers that represent exactly "who" someone is.
There is the inherent sense of self. This represents the defined characteristics people are born with. Regardless of what these inborn attributes are they have a significant effect on us throughout our entire lifetime. Both for good and bad.
Additionally, there is a person's conscious sense-of-self. This is the image of who we knowingly and willfully desire to display to others. These are attributes are changeable and the majority of us go through many different conscious changes in what we outwardly represent throughout our lifetime.
Ultimately, because our conscious sense-of-self represents what we want others to view as, it is largely influenced by social and cultural norms.
Next, there is a deeper conscious sense-of-self within us all. This represents our personal desires on a deeper, almost spiritual level. Often this since-of-self is masked by our conscious sense-of-self because on an intimate level we may find that our desires are in conflict with society’s image of who we are supposed to be.
For example, on a deeper conscious level, I enjoy painting and creating art. However, outwardly I am defined by my appearance as a police officer. As a result, my deeper conscious sense-of-self is hidden from public view and my intimate enjoyment and desires remain something that becomes an engagement of personnel thoughtfulness.
In a way, our deeper conscious sense-of-self is the part of us that likes dancing and singing along to our favorite song in our car. It is something that we enjoy for ourselves, however, it is not something we would enjoy for others to see us do. Not by any means because it is bad or immoral. Rather, because we are embarrassed to show this side of ourselves.
The last portrait of ourselves relates to a far more meaningful, yet enigmatic understanding of who we really are. This is a metaphysical sense of who we are, and our ability to understand it is largely personally elusive.
In fact, the majority of the time it is only others that have an opportunity to see this side of who we are. Very few of us truly have an understanding of ourselves at this deep of a level.
At this level, who we are cannot be defined by any of the preceding images of oneself and frankly, it is indefinable by conventional or scientific paradigms.
This is who we really are.
Who you really are is seemingly the easiest question in the world to answer yet it is a mystery that you will not be able to solve. Because every answer that you try to give to define this level of "who you are" will only relate to a characteristic that is not unique to everyone else.
Eventually, when you get frustrated you will then simply accept that "who you are" at this level must represent the person who has emerged through all of your personal life experiences.
However, even this will be incorrect because the moment you were born you had no true influential experiences, yet you were already unique to every other living creature on the planet. No one like you has ever existed before you, which ultimately represents a uniqueness that cannot be defined by your given name or any other universal classification.
It is this deeper sense of self that defines who you are in terms of your path in life and the entire reason for existence.
Now in light of the fact that every one of us is comprised of multiple deep and rich layers of existence, the majority of us choose to only examine ourselves from our inherent and conscious image of ourselves. This is compounded by the fact that we rarely choose to see others beyond the first two layers of who they are.
If we don’t care to look at others on a deeper level, then why should we care to look at ourselves any further?
Eventually, this begs the question how can any of us ever be really happy if we aren’t true or even aware of who we really are?
Essentially, we are prejudiced toward others because we are prejudiced towards ourselves.
Just as my advocacy for equality; my willingness to learn and gain value from life from others, is indeed based on the selfish pursuit of trying to learn and gain an understanding of myself.
Now, assuredly most people have some image of who I am in relation to my profession. Clearly, my professional imagery is very obvious.
However, most people may not realize that I don’t consider myself “a police officer.” Rather, a police officer is a title that defines my occupation. In truth, this provides very little understanding of who actually am, and is merely a demonstration of something I choose to do for a career.
Beyond the distinction of being a police officer, what is often overlooked by most is that I am constantly and conscious of how I outwardly portray my inner sense of who I am or who I want to be. Essentially, the essence of how I go about life on a deeper level.
Remarkably, most do not realize it, but these deeper characteristics of myself are hidden in plain sight.
For example, a lot of people may not know this, but when you manage a public Facebook page you can schedule when a post is published. Major companies and marketing firms use the scheduling of their social media post to target peak times for the most potential reach.
I too extensively use Facebook’s scheduling for publishing my post. Additionally, the times I set for posts to appear are very specifically selected. However, unlike a marketing firm, the times I publish post are completely contradictory to the “best times” for viewership in terms of fiscal motivation or public reach.
I'm sure that no one has ever noticed it, but for over a year, 99% of my post are published at specific and identical times: 7:04, 9:04, 8:04, 11:11, 11:45, 1:11, 3:33, 7:11.
All of these selected times are all related to ancient Jewish numerology, and the pre-Biblical book of Hebrew mysticism called Sefer Yetzirah.
In English, the title of the text translates to “Book of Creation.” According to legend, Sefer Yetzirah was the book given by God to Adam and Eve. Until the mid-to-late 20th century it wasn’t published and was only be shared orally by a Rabbi trained in Kabbalah to two people over the age of 40.
All the times I schedule are represent of a complex and calculated collision of words, numbers, and times. Essentially, the three basic fundamentals of existence.
Moreover they all representative of themes associated with peace on earth, expanding love amongst people, or opening one's eyes to the beauty of existence.
Now, I don’t specifically set my post using mystical Hebrew numerology because I believe that it is somehow casting a magical spell. Rather, it is a conscious effort on my part to express my desired sense-of-self to even the most minute details.
Another good example would be the picture I shared yesterday of myself holding a globe in my hand.
Clearly, I used photoshop to artistically manipulate the image. However, some of the seemingly innocuous details weren’t actually arbitrarily added.
Granted this one was a little more concealed because my body was concealing three of the seven, however, the image in the background is actually of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades constellation.
In Greek mythology, the Pleiades sisters were the nursemaids and teachers of Dionysos, the god of religious enlightenment and the appearance of God on earth.
In essence, the Pleiades sisters represented the wisdom of conscious enlightenment, where Dionysos represented knowledge and understanding of this wisdom.
Unbeknownst to most, the image of Pleiades can be found in a lot of the things I share. Again, this is all purposefully done to represent the inner sense of “who” I am.
Now, these are just two of many examples that encompass the more complex side of "who" I am, however, my intention for bringing this up is not to inspire a “Da Vinci code” quest to find all of the hidden symbols and images in the things that I do. Rather, I point out these examples to remind everyone that inside each and everyone one of us, exist layers that represent very complex and interesting individuals.
When we choose to generalize or view others superficially, we not only reduce our ability to appreciate the most interesting sides of people, we also inherently reduce our own ability to see ourselves on a deeper level.
Conversely, when we choose to view others, not just by their outward inherent or conscious appearance, and instead try to see others on a deeper level, we begin to pay attention to our own inner sense-of-self that we rarely realize exist.
We rarely realize it, but at the end of the day, choosing to live free of bias represents the pursuit of a perfect harmony between selflessness and selfishness.
Eventually, freeing oneself of prejudice is more important than simply relating to one’s moral compass. Rather it is the fundamental basis for how you experience life and your ability for true happiness.
In closing, I'll repeat the same thing I said yesterday:
The world is either a cruel place, where something bad lurks around every corner; or the world is a mysterious place filled with the potential for great good. Both of these distinctly different worlds are the same. However, which world you live in is a choice that you as an individual has to make.
When you choose to view the life and the world as something good, you might be surprised at just how much good you'll see.