Tuesday, May 09, 2006

An Example of Self-Delusion

I came across this story today, and for some reason, it stuck out as an example of something that bothers me in our culture today. Specifically, that instead of actually helping and loving our neighbors, our self-love and image improvement in some way accomplishes the same thing. Like for instance this man:

Steve Vaught, 40, of San Diego, trekked through 12 states, suffered two kidney stones and was struck by a Big Gulp drink thrown by an angry passerby during his adventure, which began last April 10 when he strolled out of his house, The New York Post reported.

He still weighs in at about 305 pounds — not thin by any stretch of the imagination but a definite improvement over his starting mass of 410.

"I am a changed man. I can't believe I could walk across the country when before I couldn't walk across Target," Vaught told the Post. "It has taught me so much about me and my life, and I think I have helped others."

One year and one month ago, Vaught was depressed, unemployed and obese. He decided to walk in the hopes of losing weight and regaining his life. The journey meant leaving his wife, April, and two children behind, and now the couple plans to divorce. Vaught is not walking for any specific cause and has no support system helping him on his super-hike.

Now don't get me wrong, I applaud the man for this effort and for his weight loss. I too, have lost over 100 pounds in weight, and I know how difficult this is and how rewarding it can be. I in no way wish to diminish his accomplishment, but I take issue with his viewpoint on specifically what it is that he accomplished.
(1) He believes that his personal self-betterment has caused other people to be helped
(2) His personal self-betterment has caused him to leave his wife and now trigger a divorce

I'm sorry, but if there is one thing that this effort did NOT do, it dod not help other people - especially his two children. If I ever do need help from others, it may be great if they "saved a ton of money on their car insurance", but I still am in need. For the record, even though I am a conservative politically, let it be known that helping myself categorically does NOT equal helping others, unless it in turn frees me to help others and I actually do so.

That is not very eloquent, but I hope you get my point.