What can we learn from the laws of nature? Nature by its very nature is ruthlessly selfish. But is this a bad model for us to learn from? Each species does what it does in order to survive. There is no hidden agenda or perceived need to win the hearts and minds of others. No species in the natural food chain says ‘don’t worry you can stamp on me because I care more about you than I do about myself.’ People on the other hand, do this all the time and call it being ‘selfless’ and yet we feel resentful when it is not reciprocated or even worse, the other person appears to be ungrateful. Our justification to continue doing so is: some people are just selfish whilst I am not. We try to prove to ourselves and the world at large that we are not selfish.
People are selfish but also have the unique ability to act selflessly. Does this mean we should judge others when they only think in terms of their best interests? Or should we simply take responsibility for our own actions?
The great oak tree makes no apology as it dominates its environment soaking up as many nutrients from the soil as it can and spreading its roots far and wide. And yet rather than complain about the injustice of it all, other life forms simply adapt and try to work the new conditions to their advantage, for their survival. Nature’s entrepreneurs you might say. They play the long game and take responsibility for themselves.
There is something inspiring about watching a fast flowing river. It is so clear and single-minded about the direction in which it flows. There is never any doubt it will reach its destination even with boulders in its path. It easily passes around such obstacles and over time even wears them away. Unstoppable river has a lot to teach us as does all of nature. I wonder what the world would look like if we all embraced our selfish ways?