Myth and Metaphor
10 December 2012
Selfishness = Suffering
In our world today there are many reasons for one to become self-centered. Money, a job position, and material wants are just a few of those reasons. These things might bring joy and happiness in the beginning, but they can often lead to suffering of all kinds, from mental to physical. The four major figures of religion, Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad would all agree that self centeredness equals the cause of human suffering.
The great philosopher and thinker, Confucius, once said, “I do not see how a man can be acceptable who is untrustworthy in word? When a pin is missing in the yoke-bar of a large cart or in the collar-bar of a small cart, how can the cart be expected to go (Analects 66)?” from this simple metaphor it is easy to see how Confucius felt about self-centeredness. The quote first mentions trust. He says that a person should not be accepted if they cannot keep their word. The second part uses the metaphor of the cart pin to show that all parts must be accounted for and working together for things to go smoothly.
The reason the first part is significant is because if someone can not keep their word, the reason for not being able to do so is usually one of a self-centered nature What ever the case, this selfishness can lead to suffering for all involved. The person who did not keep their word will more than likely feel poorly for not doing so. At the same time the others will suffer from not having the help they thought they were going to.
The second part is significant because it states through the metaphor of a cart and pin that we are all in the world together, and must work together if we expect things to work at all. The pin of the cart may just be one small and at first glance seemingly unimportant piece, but without it nothing would work. The same goes for people, for instance someone might think a janitor is unimportant because they take them...
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