I sit here at 11 in the night and waiting for my approval to trip back to India. I sent request for the approval on Thursday and have been waiting for three working days. I know the approval will come but I am waiting for the date that will come back in the approval – can be 15 or 22 july. I was supposed to go back in early July but has been pushed already. My anxiety to meet my family is increasing.
As I sit here and wait for the email to come, I can not reach out the person who has to approve the request. Only person I can reach out to is my manager and he is three levels down the person who has to approve. This makes me think – are they leaders? Why can I not reach out to anyone above my immediate manager? Why do we even have a hierarchy in place? Can we not do work in a horizontal leadership model? Why does pyramid has to exist?
The reason I know I can’t reach beyond Harsha (my direct manager) is because I have been asked so, I have been told rather instructed to go via Harsha for any details I need from people above him in hierarchy. I have been told by Krishna (Harsha’s manager – our Director) that he will meet his direct reports for any details he needs and there is no need for us to meet regularly. I feel he has shut the door on us and it will only open when we have any issues or escalations.
Why can’t he have the door open for all of 150 people who report into him? Why not? Why can’t he just be a leader? Or are they just managers?
A few weeks earlier when I was having a conversation with my nephew this topic came up. He said there is ni deed as selfless deed. We all see people around us praisung selflessness and any selfish acts are seen with disgust. The big question is do people know of an act is selfish or not? And is there a deed that can truly be defined as selfless?
Selfish deed can be defined as a deed that has been done for self interest or happiness. Ones selfishness leads one to do things that are directed for their own benefit. Any selfish deed will only mean their own benefit.
A selfless deed can be defined as a deed that has been dine without any self interest and only for the benefit of the others. A true selfless deed should not bring any benefit to the one who is performing the deed.
Now that we have the definitions out of the way, lets think abiyt his would you judge a deed to be selfish or selfless. Okay, did the definition not cover it? I think it did, but lets see that I be again. A deed that has been acted upon without any self interest will be considered as selfless only if there are alternatives that exist and are more profitable for the person acting upon it. However, a true or an absolute selfless deed would mean that the action has absolutely no benefits irrespective of the options available. I. Other words, if there are more profitable options availabe, the deed performed should bit have any benefits even if they are lesser. Anything else is selfish (phew that was easy).
The next big question is – how are the benefits quantified? The can be material or emotional. Lets say, if I was to do charity for an organization run by a friend or a colleague, and in return I expect to bb benefited in a contract or job than that is material benefit. But, if I do charity for an independent organization where I know no one and I don’t expect any returns, I am doing it for my internal peace and happiness. So now, if we take this argument and apply it all deeds and say that every deed is for self-hapiness then it implies that big deed cna be selfless. Everything that is done is don’t for an emotional or internal benefit. Every person has some interior motive to do it.
The last part may be philosiphical, but it is interesting and eventually leaves no room for any other discussions. I do nit know if I have an answer for it yet, but I do feel it very intriguing. Why? Simply because if thus is true, then all the praise that goes in for selfless deeds is nothing but a hypocritical, the praise itself would imply that the person who has done a deed with openness had an interior motive of getting praise out of it and hence getting benefit in the society of being a “better person”.
Now, having said all that, I think of Saint Mother Teresa and all the good she has done, and it breaks my heart to call her selfish. However, if I apply the same rule to her then she was very selfish. Now that simply can’t be true. But, the logic takes me there.
And makes me sad to think that it is these so called “selfless and great” people who get the most out of it and other who have motives of salvation and happiness are left behind. Ever heard of “neki kar kuain main daal” (do good and forget about it, don’t tell it). That is something which is a rare commodity today.
Thinking all this, I have come to a conclusion that it don’t matter if a deed is categorized as selfless or selfish, as long it is a good deed. If the society can go past the selfless act and praise all good deeds, the world would be a better place to live in.
My nephew (Sushant) has started his new blog and he started off with a great topic – Being Slave. However, as the comments started up and we picked up the debate it left me with this thought – “Be a Slave or Be Selfish”. In one of his comments, Sushant mentioned that there is nothing called “Selfless deed” and argument being – if a person chooses to be selfless and take up pain, that is for their self-satisfaction and hence it is not self-less.
I see things a little differently. Let me first explain now I perceive these 2 scenarios:
– Slave: Is a person who does not have a choice and are asked to do something against their wish.
– Selfish: Is a person who performs a deed for their own happiness.
Every person will fall in either of the two categories.
In my comment here, I have explained the point where people are given the option of being able to choose or not. What is unquantifiable, is the fact if someone has chosen. It is easy to spot bondage and slavery when it is physical and people are chained and beaten when they don’t do as asked for. However, when someone is chaining their thoughts and taking away their free-will it is simply not quantifiable.
To set the semantics right, it is not one’s choice to be a slave and in relations one would not even know that they are slaved because they are brain-washed by the master. A Slave in relation would not even know what hit them, and they are driven by a feeling within them that leads them to believe and do what their “master” says.
It is only when you have a choice is when you can be selfish or not, but a topic for another day. And, I re-phrase a few things I said earlier in the post:
Every person will fall in either of the two categories. Do they? Or is there a 3rd category – Non-slave and non-selfish?
Being a Slave is not a choice, it is thrust upon; so you cant be selfish. You just don’t choose