Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Most moralistic, psychological, and pious sermons fail at least some people

This is on how most moralizing, psychological, religious, and secular lecturing fail at least some people and what should be added to them.

Let’s voice support for generous, responsible, idealistic, humble people!

(Under the age of 60, for many people it’s hard to figure out if they are generous, responsible, and idealistic or the opposite. The person who finally takes a chance and asks something for herself, typically feels so guilty that she tells herself for the rest of the year how selfish she is. While the person who finally takes a chance and is generous for once, typically feels such a saint he tells himself for the rest of the year to be less of a fool from now on. So, if you’re not sure, ask your spouse, child, or best friend. That will only work if they are honest and not intimidated by you.)

Be More Selfish

Most preachers believe that most people are selfish. So they call upon all people to be more charitable.

This call will be applauded by generous people (among them: most women and most parents) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: It’s important to receive. And preferably not by taking.

If your only option is to take because there is no one to request from, your life needs an upgrade.

They need to prioritize receiving. Not because you can only give well when you receive. That principle would say: basically, you’re here to give.

No, receiving should be part of the deal. You would not want anyone to go without. That’s why you’re so generous. Well, you are part of the ‘not anyone.’ The world is more just when you receive. The whole world is a better place if you receive too. To Hell with guilt feelings.

And if it’s hard to receive, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to believe that they are not born to serve if they see this giant person around (you) who’s constantly milked dry and never gets what s/he needs, with your apparent consent?

And since generosity starts at home, to spouses I will say: Please stop trying to get. It will never be enough. Please start giving all you have.

If your partner does not respond in kind, gently remind her or him. If s/he still doesn’t, it’s time to find a spouse who will nourish you too.

Be More Irresponsible

Most preachers believe that most people are irresponsible, try to avoid taking responsibility all the time. And maybe they are. So they call upon all people to be more conscientious.

This call will be applauded by dependable people (among them: many parents) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: It’s important to prioritize yourself.

Being a workaholic, never spending any money on yourself, and not wanting to disappoint anyone can be treated like any addiction. These behaviors can be dumped and made fun of. They are not you.

The great secret is that responsible people are not extra responsible. They take extra responsibility towards the needs of others and the world as a whole but, at the expense of themselves. They starve themselves and are praised for it.

They need to prioritize themselves. Not because only they are important. But if they’re not for themselves, who should be? Charity really starts at home! They should also not prioritize others because they pity them. Rather, they should fight injustice because they don’t want it in their world. Never do anything for anyone. Do it for you.

No, taking care of yourself and your most personal needs should be part of the deal. No one can do for you the most important things for you as well as you. The world is more just when you take care of you first. The whole world is a better place when you prioritize you. To Hell with guilt feelings.

The other great secret is that you don’t need to feel obligated. You will live the best moral life when you stop running for obligation and expectation.

When you begin cutting out the should, you may become lazy. But soon you’ll realize that you don’t want to live in a run-down world. But then you can start doing things because you want to, not because you should.

If your religion tells you a million shoulds, adopt them as wants. As soon as you whole-heartedly do what they wanted to lay on you, you’re free to do as you like. You can’t be more free than always doing as you please.

To do what you want, energizes. To do what you should, depletes you of your energy and tells others: try to not do like me. You advocate laziness.

And if it’s hard to prioritize yourself and do what you want, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to believe they are not born to just give and be used if they see this giant person around (you) who never gets what s/he needs and never does what s/he really wants?

And if you’re exhausted constantly, is that because you work so hard or because you have no one in your life who truly loves you and cares about you, and tells you: cut it down a bit. Let me give you a massage?

You’re not here to serve the world. You may build up your own house too.

Be More Vain

Most preachers believe that most people are mostly chasing vanities all their lives. And maybe they are. So they call upon all people to be happy with what they have and stop amassing money, status, importance, power, recognition, honor, fat, body bulks (beauty), entertainment, and comfort.

This call will be applauded by idealistic people (among them: all activists and most teachers) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: When you feel burned-out, you’re doing something wrong (not delegating enough, drinking too much alcohol?). Change that so that being a leader and an idealist gets fun again.

You’re not here to save the world. You may build up your own life too.

Just that you’re happy and satisfied doesn’t mean that you must surround yourself with needy and displeased people. Seeking fellow happy campers.

And if it’s hard to have a life, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to build their own lives if they see this giant person around (you) whose lives for others and ask nothing?

Have More Pride

Most preachers believe that most people are too ego-centric and arrogant. And maybe they are. So they call upon all people to be more humble.

This call will be applauded by unassuming people (among them: many poor people) but really is worse than a waste of time for them. They may feel vindicated but they should be told: No one’s more important than you.

No, everyone should regain their natural humility and stop being snobs but you still (or again) have that. You must add some pride. It is your birthright to say ‘no’ when needed. The world will be a better place every time you don’t succumb but reject if that’s what you think is called for. To Hell with guilt feelings. If needed, you can learn to say no generously, as if you hand them the moon–because it’s a great gift you give them.

And if it’s hard to say no, do it for the young ones. How is the next generation supposed to demand respect and set boundaries if they see this giant person around (you) whose personality constantly gets violated and who doesn’t seem to mind?

***

Sometimes it’s hard to see where over-generosity stops and where over-responsibility starts, where too holy still differs from too humble. All these distortions are friends of each other. But so can our corrections be!

When we try to be a bit less generous, we automatically make it easier to be less responsible, holy, and humble. Let others, who still believe in slavery (either as slaves or as slave owners), frown upon it. You know you’re on the right path. May you go from strength to strength!

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500th blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * NEW: To see other blog posts by him, his overspill blog you can reach by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture at the head of every post. There you may find precursors to later TOI blog posts, addition or corrections of published TOI blog posts, blog posts the TOI will not carry, and some thoughts that are too short to be a TOI blog post. Also, the TOI only allows for one blog post per blogger per 24 hours. Sometimes, he has more to say than that. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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