I have sometimes been criticised for being “a bit too full of myself”. By which I suppose people mean that I seem over confident and opinionated. Or perhaps they mean that I am vain and conceited. I will concede that all of those things can be true although I hope I don’t get the balance wrong too often. I suppose I do think that I am important and that my opinions matter; if that were not the case I wouldn’t waste my time sharing my opinions on the internet. Yet there is a pervasive attitude in society which makes us believe it is somehow wrong to place ourselves first and that being too full of ourselves inevitably leads to extreme selfishness and other nasty character traits.
So for me there was always a dilemma. I do genuinely care very much about other people and the good of society as a whole, but I can’t deny that I also care very much about myself. Perhaps that is why I was drawn to a so called Left Hand spiritual path; indeed Satanism may well be the most well known Left Hand Path of all.
I am not going to describe in depth all the differences between left and right hand spiritual paths (a quick google search or visit to my other blog may help clarify if you want further information) but it is fair to say that emphasis on the self is one of the main distinguishing features of the Left Hand Path, whereas the Right Hand Path tends to be more outward looking. I did not choose to follow a Left Hand Path just as an excuse to be selfish however; I chose this path as a way to be better balanced and make “being full of myself” a more positive and productive aspect of my personality.
As time has gone by I have come to believe that the differences between LHP and RHP are not as great as might first appear.
Some of the main criticisms often levelled against followers of the left hand path is that it’s focus on the self can lead to extreme selfishness, narcissism, amoral and anti-social behaviour. All of these things can occur if focus and balance are lost. And it is fair to say that those who have a tendency to anti-social behaviour of various types might be drawn to left hand paths under the mistaken belief that such paths somehow justify their unpleasant characteristics.
On the other hand it could be said that right hand paths don’t emphasise the self enough and can encourage unworldly dreamers who cannot cope with everyday reality into meaningless activities which have no real benefits for themselves or anybody else. In short they can become like opiates which lead to nothing but waste and entropy.
There are dangers in the extremes and misunderstandings of both paths. I think however there is a point of balance where both paths have a lot in common and where genuine progression both for the individual and wider society is possible. For those on the LHP I think that point comes with the realisation that the good of the self depends to a large degree on the nature and health of the wider community. For those on the RHP I think that point comes when you realise the individual is ineffective in helping the wider community unless the individual is strong and balanced in his/herself.
Once that point of balance is realised, both pathways can be equally beneficial both to the individual and to society as a whole. In fact there maybe far more similarities than differences from that point on.
In conclusion, I hope I am full of myself in a positive and balanced way. Of course I am not perfect; there are times when I might well be vain or conceited. Hopefully however it will increasingly mean that I am a “whole” person who is well equipped to be happy and successful in my own life and play a positive and constructive role in the wider community.