Society Magazine

"My Default Setting Has Become a Kind of Prideful Self-centeredness"

Posted on the 17 March 2015 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

A profoundly meaningful post put up by Hunter Sharpless at Ethika Politika:

In the beginning we ate the fruit because we wanted to be God. We wanted to be the center of things. “You,” the serpent said, “will be like God!” And we ate the fruit. The Fall was the confluence of pride, Monasteryidolatry, and selfishness. But it was also something else. The Fall resulted from warped vision. No longer was God, the true center of the universe, on the throne. We tried to displace him.

I like the way David Foster Wallace put it in his 2005 commencement address to Kenyon College:

Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of you or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV or your monitor.

If this is true, that my default setting has become a kind of prideful self-centeredness, and if it is also true that I am not actually the center of the universe, then the question I must ask myself is, “How can I remove myself from the center of my own little universe?” Or, “How can I be removed from the center of my own little universe?”

I think it has to do with vision. I must see correctly in order to move correctly. My awareness of reality must align with God’s creative order. If I believe, for example, that I exist on this earth to survive, propagate, and derive as much pleasure from material goods and other people as possible, then I will fill my heart with new gadgets, rich feasts, and unending sexual experiences. (Or power, or authority, or whatever else suits my appetites.) If, however, I believe that I am not in fact the center of the universe, that I am not in fact my own creation, that I in fact do not dictate the terms of reality, then I will live entirely differently.

But to see correctly I must be aware of the truth. The key is awareness.

Do read it all.

Very recently, I added the following personal request to my list of intentions:

That I might be more humble, less prideful, less worried about what others might think of me, more aware of how much You love me.

Mr. Sharpless has helped me better understand why I'm praying that prayer.

Love the way God works.

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