Of selfishness and selflessness

ByNiña Sung

Claims of an Indian prophet named Sadhu Sundar accurately predicting the supposed end of our days are making their rounds through social media at a speed faster than light. I mean, who is this guy? “#PrayforPangasinan” is, as of the moment this article is being written, a national trending topic on Twitter some weeks ago. Tell that to the CBCP. And oh, we are also recently commemorated the EDSA Revolution. Ho-hum. Of course, there is the matter of the sudden rise in extrajudicial and drug-related killings in our city; that one’s a little interesting, I guess. On my Facebook newsfeed, there is a fuss about the battle between Smurfs and Ninja Turtles, one that I assure you is not about a new animated blockbuster.

Intriguing, whatever.

I was attending a wake, sitting between “the adults” who were talking about recent events, and in the midst of it all, I was devotedly consumed in a bleak struggle of choosing the right Instagram filter for a shamelessly self-promoting photo.
On the ride home, I thought about all these things that were going on around me; all those things they talked about. I thought about how it came to be that these things, which are pressing the nation and my community, seemed so distant to me, like television noise fading out when you start falling asleep. And then I suddenly realized that what I felt was apathy.

The Selfie Generation—that’s what they call us because we think about ourselves too much, yet at the same time, we don’t think about ourselves enough, or at least let me explain further.

We do think about ourselves a lot. We think about the way we look or dress, or the next status we plan to post, or the next party we want to attend. But sometimes, we are so absorbed in our individual lives that we forget we are part of something that is larger than us and who we are, and that is society and our community.

Almost everything that each of us does is always about how this will affect each of our selves or each of our selves’ futures, or how this will change each of our lives. It is always something about our own selves.
We have developed indifference for society—society will not pay for my tuition, society won’t give me load or buy me booze, our society is dysfunctional. The thing is we forget that we are, in fact, the society.

Thus society is a reflection of our individual selves.

We forget that we are part of a community, and that one essence of being a person—of being human, actually—is being able to share our lives and experiences with others.
And I don’t mean your friends and family as those others, because that’s already a given. The others I meant are those people around you who you may or may not personally know: your BC25 seatmate, the boy who just parked your motorcycle, the waitress who just served you coffee. Even if you don’t really give much care about them, these people are part of your life more than you think.

These others make up the community we live in. They are the people who fill up those empty faces we imagine when we think about how we manage to get through our day.

So think about it: what can we do for our community—our society—today? Because maybe doing something for them does more good to us than doing ourselves a favor.

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