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Preserving Oneself: Living Within the Constructs

Updated: Sep 8, 2021

Some Eastern and Western philosophers believed that to preserve oneself is a collective effort that involves being able to know how to help or love others. The way I see it these philosophers really had no other point of reference to frame this understanding from. These philosophers based their theories off the observations and personal insight of communal living. Living within a society, a government, and host of other constructs that imply a sense of duty to thy fellow man in order for all to thrive.

These communal structures for living were developed very early on once humans abandoned nomadic living for settlements. These settlements became cities and these cities established rules for existence within the city. Through these settlements grew a hierarchy of the people leading to social castes. These castes creating a dichotomy of personal values, beliefs, and understanding amongst the people of the same city. Once you find yourself living within a “society” to preserve oneself does require a collective effort, being able to “play nice with others” is how one survives in a social hierarchy.

However, if one were to live outside of societal rules or a family structure, if one were to live alone, then one would not have to “play well with others” in order to self-preserve. In this instance one would have to rely on oneself in order to preserve. Now, you can take this a bit deeper and say even alone one must respect the laws of nature and live in harmony with the world around him. If that is the case, then yes, I agree that one must learn to help, love, and respect others and the world outside of himself in order to preserve oneself. To preserve oneself requires one to hold alliances, kinships with members of their society and or the world around them. Existence does not happen in a vacuum.

So, leave it to the West to have a firm foothold in the adage “teamwork makes the dream work when it comes to preserving oneself. There is a deep belief that you can only preserve oneself through co-exitance with those around you. That through education and understanding that those in a society would rise up for the common good and be kept from the selfish nature the humans often demonstrate when interventions are not taken. However, when we look to the Eastern beliefs of turning inward and allowing our intuitive knowledge to guide us to preserve oneself, we find that preservation is more instinctual and innate. It comes as an understanding of existence and a guiding principle of thought and reasoning. One is able to preserve oneself through understanding one’s own place in this world in one’s mind rather than one’s social standing in the community.

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