"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Monday, November 28, 2011

The key to objectivity

When it comes to some issues, Hashem spells out how we should act in the Torah, which comes from the word hora'ah, instruction, for it was given in order to guide us in our daily lives.

But often we face sitations in which the desired course of action is not spelled out.

How can we transcend our self-interest and make decisions that are truly beneficial for ourselves, the community, and the world at large?

The key to reaching this objectivity is bittul, self-effacement or humility.

When a person is filled with concern for promoting his own self-interest and freely indulging his personal preferences, desires, and lusts, then no matter how intelligent he is, and how much of an effort he makes to set aside his personal interests and be objective, he is simply incapable of attaining objectivity (although he may convince himself and others that he has). And so the intellectual conclusions that he reaches will inevitably be hopelessly biased, and hence most likely incorrect.

How does one transcend personal bias, enabling one to attain the truth? It starts with fostering an attitude of humility before Hashem and one’s fellow man. This underlying philosophy then becomes manifest in one’s approach to worldly matters. The humble person will eschew hedonism and embrace a lifestyle of moderation and restraint, in which fulfilling his responsibilities is primary and pleasure is secondary. All this opens the person up to realize and connect with a higher truth, even if doing so necessitates sacrifice and hardship. Since pleasure and personal comfort are not the goals of life, the person is willing to forgo it when a higher cause requires that he do so.

Then, when it comes to issues and dilemmas that crop up in one’s personal life, one will make the proper, ethical choice, fully ready to truly set aside his self-interest when the circumstances demand it.

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