Excerpt About Otherness

Seeing Self and Others as Islands

There are as many islands as there are people in the world, and you believe that your self, your island is separate and distinct, not just from other islands, but from the rest of the universe. If you examine what you do, won’t you see that you are continually involved in this island, modifying it, rearranging it, reorganizing it? How aware are you of other islands? Not very. Your awareness of other islands is colored, even determined, by your concerns about how to protect and enhance your island. There is no true interest in the other islands for themselves. When you think of another island, it’s how to get something from it, or how those other islands are blocking your view. The reference point is always the self. Every feeling, thought, every action, every decision, every plan, every complaint is related to that self. This point of view is so common that most people don’t think about it—what else could it be? That’s how life is. Life is all these islands trying to be the best or the worst, depending on what plans you have for that island. Sometimes there are wars between the islands. Sometimes there are friendships. But both wars and friendships happen from the perspective of the island, with reference to you—what you’ll get from it and what you won’t get, what you like or dislike about it, how it makes you feel and your opinions about it.

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