What is personal interest?
Personal-interest does not take into account the context and consequences for others: “I first, after me the flood.” It can only come from identity, from an identity mechanism. Whatever this identity mechanism is, it will act to maintain itself.
Personal-interest is not always obvious to unmask, it can hide under beautiful actions (charity for example), as impersonal actions can have the appearance of hardness and non-love.
Personal-interest is when I put myself before the context, when I choose to act to protect myself, not to feel the necessary suffering of a situation. I am in the personal interest when I procrastinate in favor of my comfort without worrying about the repercussions on myself and others. I distinguish between two kinds of personal-interest, the legitimate: ensuring my survival, having an environment comfortable enough to feel good and be operational, taking care of myself and my environment, etc. and the illegitimate: putting my personal comfort before what life requires me to do.
Self-interest is the pursuit of what identity believes it needs to become whole, to try to solidify itself, to make the person a whole. Since identity is based on the illusory belief of separation, efforts to pursue personal interests will always fail. Even when there is the outward appearance of success, subjectively, it is only a moment of fleeting happiness. Personal interest seeks to acquire everything necessary for identity to live without separation. The illusion that something can be acquired to bring happiness is, for almost everyone, an indisputable truth. In short, self-interest is the way identity is nurtured. It is the hunter-gatherer aspect of a psychological structure.
Self-interest is how to take advantage of a situation, a relationship, living conditions, for the sole purpose of satisfying one’s desires, staying in one’s comfort, obtaining a personal benefit. It is the opposite of letting yourself be carried away by the flow of life and what it offers us to evolve. When I am in personal interest, it is a bit like being possessed by the “dark side of force”: if I realize it, it is simply unbearable and I can enter at that moment into a deep disgust with myself. It then becomes a lever to get out of it IMMEDIATELY and without hesitation, regardless of the consequences on me or my living environment. If I didn’t do it, it seems to me that I would feel it as an existential suicide. But we must also be aware of this.
I see personal interest as a very active and sensitive instrument (the image that comes to me is that of a GPS). It acts in two steps: first, it immediately analyses all the elements of a situation, and prioritizes them according to the pleasure or suffering they may bring. Then, it gives the impulse to choose the most pleasant, and pushes aside, avoids, or if this is not possible, erases, denies all that is unpleasant. Turning on the instrument produces a slight inner sensation, like an audible signal…. If I have not been able to disconnect the unit early enough, I can use it in the wrong direction. For example, if person interest yells at me to go right, I can choose to go left, and experience the freedom that it gives me. If I go right, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!
It is the benefit I can obtain from a decision, an action, a situation, a person. The gain for my ego, what it brings me personally (consideration, recognition, comfort, avoiding the necessary suffering, avoiding assuming my responsibility, avoiding taking a risk, getting what I want at the expense of the other: power, domination, money, sex…), by lying to myself, by making the other feel guilty, by using pressure, intimidation, emotional blackmail, manipulation… Before making a decision, I must make sure to ask myself one of these questions: what does it bring me? What is the secondary benefit? What can I get out of it?
Personal interest is the motivation that fosters behaviors that benefit oneself. By behavior I mean here: thoughts, words or actions. The notion of benefit implies that personal interest is established in a relationship with the world and most often to the detriment of others. Alone on a deserted island, self-interest has little opportunity to express itself. Finally, “oneself” refers to identity, the ego, i.e. the illusion of being separated. If I kill an animal to eat, is it personal interest? No, since it is an act that belongs to “natural” life and has nothing to do with the idea of myself. On the other hand, personal interest often operates at a subtle level, seeking secondary benefits. For example, a very helpful person might be helpful just to get recognition.
It is extremely complex for an observer to know whether a person’s behavior occurs out of personal interest or not. The only reliable method I have been able to use when someone is seeking something from me, is to pay attention for any subtle internal contractions on the level of body consciousness. That contraction means to me that they are dealing with me from their personal interest.
Personal interest begins from the moment when one no longer puts oneself at the service of life. And that we decree that we have the right to serve ourselves in life. It is an absence of gratitude and a more or less visible form of arrogance: I no longer settle for what life offers me, so I take it. I take according to the strength or power I have. I seize from life, from others, from the world what I covet. For my personal pleasure, my comfort, my need for security, my desire for recognition, my greed… to fill the void created by the separation that takes place just as we leave the service. It’s a desperate attempt to feel alive. Desperate and vain. Fleeing service, life stops irrigating us and all that remains is mechanistic: an inner life without taste, without color, bland, that we believe we can revive through the satisfaction of our desires. We’re no longer alive, we are envious. There is no longer humility but greed. We don’t give ourselves anymore, we take. Personal interest is hidden in the least visible acts, as well as in the most grandiose achievements. It is endless, because it does not satisfy; the inner emptiness felt engulfs everything without ever being filled. Only when we submit to life that decides and participates in its deployment according to the inner directions it breathes into us, then life reflects in our being that feels alive and fulfilled, independently of the external conditions.
Personal interest is for me the insatiable expression of illusory life. The egotistical food of the false in me who seeks to survive his miserable life. Personal interest is manifested through desires for possession, false security, futile pleasures that interfere with the expression from nothingness, through the temptation to turn away from the true. To access it would then be to renounce life itself. A blasphemy.
For me, personal interest is when I try to divert or slow down the flow of life in order to serve identity mechanisms, it creates duality. On the other hand, I would define “impersonal interest” as the expression of the essential value.
Self-interest is when my actions, my words betray what I believe (but do not always live it): that I am connected to the whole of life in what it puts in my path. Everything I acquired as I grew up and that made up my personality has made me forget “my essence or our common essence”; self-knowledge gradually opens me to this understanding. As long as I am one-sided in my vision of my environment, I will be in the personal interest. Body consciousness, external consideration and vigilance, among others, are the means to be less involved.
The interest of the ego is to confirm to itself its existence. Self-interest is an emanation of identity that serves as proof of its existence (non-existent). It is the fuel of its existence, produced by itself. Self-interest, identification, etc. are related and they are the same kind of thing. At the logical level, however, there are differences, for example, between identification and self-interest. Identification plays at the existential level, i.e. the (imagined) existence of identity, while personal interest plays more of a role in the actions of identity in the (its) world. But these are only different points of view when we look at identity and its various aspects. Identity considers itself to be the owner of things, skills, etc. Self-interest serves identity in relationships with others, with things, ideas etc. Through self-interest, identity seeks to gain benefits.
I link self-interest to an unbalanced balance of focal length: oneself vs. P.A.T.I.L. / external consideration. I cannot be detached from the risk of self-interest as long as I feel a body tension or mental agitation that restricts external consideration. I therefore see self-interest as uncooked seeds that are activated when conditions favorable to their development appear through a life situation (which is the very principle of the seed); they are then expressed in the form of “negative” emotions.
Self-interest is the expectation of a result that does not disturb a certain personal comfort, it is the fear of losing control, the fear of emptiness of oneself. It separates from others, from real life, and it is a real betrayal not to be aware of it, it is a personal lie. Realizing this can only lead to remorse.