I get a bit cranky when driving in certain parts of the greater Grand Rapids area. A road upon which I frequently travel has several places where it widens from two lanes to five or six, and then back to two. This is fine, except for the idiots who pull into the outside lanes and try to speed ahead of the sane drivers. I don’t let them merge; in fact, sometimes I’ll floor it just so they can’t get past me. Petty? Perhaps. I’m probably not teaching them anything, yet it is satisfying.
But self-centeredness is not limited to public thoroughfares.
Some interesting dynamics have been playing out among some friends and family. Nothing specific worth mentioning in a public entry, but I’ve noticed that one theme seems to pervade a lot of the interpersonal challenges recently swirling around me lately — that people get so focused on their own needs and wants that they don’t recognize how much they’re imposing on others. It’s as if they cannot — or will not — look beyond their own preferences and sensibilities to understand that their behaviors are causing problems for others.
A healthy sense of self will, of course, entail some degree of protection for personal proclivities. And no person can be perfectly empathetic all of the time. Nevertheless, it is both astonishing and frustrating that so many otherwise intelligent people seem incapable of stepping outside of their own worldview.