The journey of life is not often simple and leisurely. Occasionally, one faces unexpected obstacles and other times go through complex changes. In this journey, one tends to focus on their own goals. Their actions and thoughts reflect what they believe will be beneficial to them. Even those who are selfless and constantly consider others still have moments when they focus on what will benefit them. History reveals a trend where the monumental events and notable people and groups become so widely known because of their self-interested actions. Disagreements, wars, and even the aftermath of natural disasters can be looked at and explained by the actions of the self-interested. While pursuing our own interests can be beneficial to ourselves and society, it can construct a sort of barrier that prevents one from understanding others. When our view of the world and our life centers on ourselves, we can become oblivious to what surrounds us and ignore our impact on others. We may look at how other objects have influenced our lives without regard for how we influence these objects. By looking inwards and being selfish, we become blinded of the many results caused by each and every action. In order to break away from this and be able to understand the other sides to every decision, we must look beyond ourselves and analyze our actions. By doing this, perhaps the many struggles of humanity can be minimized.
Before diving into this issue, we must address the ambiguous parts of this claim. Many would argue that it is necessary to focus on ourselves and our goals. This will allow us to advance in our own life and even make contributions to society. While this is true, it does not take away the necessity to analyze our actions to see its effects. Our actions could possibly benefit society as a whole, but it is still harmful if there are others, even if it is a minority, that are hurt. What we must realize here is that we should not forsake our own goals, but work to make the achievement of our own goals painless to others.
Patricia Nelson Limerick's “Empire of Innocence” describes the explorers of the American West. Through her descriptions, she discusses how the whites felt about their objectives and how they viewed the reactions of the environment and human forces. She clearly shows that by not completely analyzing their own actions, the whites falsely believed that they were innocent to the disasters they experienced. But, why were the whites so inclined to maintain their innocence and claim that they were victimized despite their actions?
Limerick provides a multitude of examples. “Squatters defied the boundaries of Indian territory and then were aggrieved to find themselves harassed and attacked by Indians” (6; par. 2) is one such example. According to Limerick, “Western immigrants understood not just that they were taking risks but also that risk lead to rewards” (6; par. 3). This means that the squatters invading Indian territory expected rewards for...