I'd say many people look to be better selfishly. Better in defense to not be criticized. Many's incentives to be better is not for societal contribution. Not to be a better partner, friend, relative, leader, follower, etc. To add to the world, but for them to feel immunity. Vices. What are yours? Is it working out? Reading? Money? Many strive for material items to show betterment to the outside world and negate the intangibles. To have character, integrity, reliability. Traits that not only receive respect but are contributors that can create ease to the world. Many people represent solely their name. Ego. They will defend to the death who they are; which is defined by what they have. Representing themselves with clothes, titles, physique, intelligence, socio-status, to speak against these is a direct attack and hit through their armor. I can't say we lost the emphasize because I've never witnessed such, we lack an emphasis on betterment for society. Culture. Team. Words that are seldom expressed by individuals. Effort, Lost and/or negated. So much so individuals are encouraged by counselors, therapist, and coaches to be better for self. Encouraging and emphasizing the second level of needs (referring to Maslow's hierarchy of needs) over self-actualization. I question and stand on the side if and that the average individual was never taught "how" to advance in these needs. Is this to be faulted to authority? Did they themselves understand what improvement meant? The requirements of? The levels of? Have they themselves made conscious efforts to be better children, parents, employees, leaders, friends, family? Improvement is a day-to-day, in-and-out effort. A thought that sits consciously on the mind aware of "how". Applicable to every aspect of life. To treat properly from discernment. Even with such efforts, judgment is casted by the great majority of those who do not make effort to intangibles for improvement. Unless developed to a point of immunity, this is naturally discouraging to the Indvidual. I again finish with the question, when and if, has the average Indvidual been taught improvement? Is understanding of improvement the answer to socio betterment?
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