Self-preservation is indeed one half of the basic human instinct, the other being species propagation (another blog altogether). Self-preservation for ancient man involves nutritional sustenance, protection from the elements and prevention of harm. In fact if we look closely, we begin to discover that even propagation of the species fall under self-preservation because the sense of self is passed on to the progeny.
Yet nowadays in modern society, man is faced not much of the elements, not much of predatory harm nor self-sustenance (although in some third world countries this is still true). What faces man is the threat in preservation of the sense of self. A battle between ones self and the ever conforming society that attempts to box us all from every corner.
More and more self is lost for the benefit of oneness. I am not against unity. All I am saying is that why should we be made to sacrifice our self in order to be part of something bigger. I think if that something bigger is truly big enough then it should be able to accommodate one self that may seem different.
Yet this is the reason behind pusillanimity. We would rather have good things said of ourselves than giving it to others. To us this serves two purposes. First, to seemingly increase our personal value to others, which brings about the notion of “being needed”. The axiom, he who is needed is always heeded, rings true to most – but not always the case.The second and more devious reason for pusillanimity is to not give the notion of being needed to others.
So pusillanimity is both a weapon on the offensive such as in the previous but also defensive such as in the latter. This means we want to receive compliments to make us feel needed by others and not to give compliments so that others won’t feel needed by us.
I mean, come on! All this for just the assimilation into a popular culture that gives us dictates of rank and file.
Yet, I draw back a bit at this point. I still don’t agree to this mentality but I do understand the reason behind it – self-preservation (albeit a very distorted sense of self). People feel that since assimilation is the key, sticking out like a sore thumb would lead to demise. This is true, if you are fish, bird or game, which I hope is not anyone reading this.
Yet the strongest way to survive is to forge an alliance. The only way to do this is truth. Give credit where credit is due, give heed to the advice of the wise and give rebuke when deserved.
In the end, the parody of self-preservation is not the generosity of pusillanimity but rather the pusillanimity of generosity.