Is there any real benefit to helping other people? Isn’t it a lot smarter to make sure we have everything we need first? Shouldn’t everyone just deal with their own shit?
I mean, as long as you don’t actively make their situation worse (like by working at a debt collection agency), you’re a good guy, right? Why should you bother to care about anything else?
Different people always have different answers to these kinds of questions. And their answers will define their entire reality. So let’s list the 3 most common mindsets people have in regards to these answers and discuss them. Just for shits and giggles and matters of life and death.
The "Dog Eat Dog'' Mindset
On one extreme we have the dog-eat-dog-dudes who believe the world is full of sharks and it’s up to you to eat the others before you get eaten. They see everyone and everything as a means to an end. In some cases, the means even become the end. And we end up with people exploiting others for money even though they have nothing left to spend it on. These people take the “no pain, no gain” adagio and outsource the pain to others. They beat little kids to sew their clothes in the darkness. They burn huge parts of rainforest just to get cheaper vegetable oil for their cookies. Then get you addicted to their cookies so that your diabetes medicine can pay for their hookers.
This is an extreme example of course. Lots of people just like you and I have this mindset on a smaller scale. They think the only way to get a promotion is by competing with others, even if that means they have to lie or bend the rules a little (the horrible movie “Showgirls” is a great example of this).
When you possess this mindset, you may sometimes withhold helpful information from your competitors because you want to stay on top. You may find it important that you stay a particular person’s “best friend” and discredit other suitors. You get possessive in relationships because you see the other person as something that belongs to you now, not the relationship as something you both share. When there is only one pair of Louboutin’s left in the store, you race with the other woman and elbow her in the uterus to make sure you’re the one who gets them. Fuck the other dog. It’s kill or be killed on this rotten planet. And it’s her own damn fault for being such a weak dog.
But the truth is that we do not live in a world like that. You’re just turning it into one with your toxic mindset. Of course no one will ever come to help you if you fuck everyone you know over, abuse them or ditch them when they’ve served their short-sighted purpose in your life. But in nature human beings are social animals. We evolved in small tribes of <150 people. Most of our survival strategies depend on that tribe as well. We hunt in packs, we divide different tasks and responsibilities among different members of the tribe (society) and we feel best when we’re loved and accepted by others.
The ironic thing is that these very people who preach “survival of the fittest” would be the first to die if we still lived in an environment where Darwin’s law was absolute (in our current environment, “survival of the richest” is more accurate). Because in nature, the people who behaved antisocial towards the tribe and only cared for personal gain would be abandoned or banished. And if they wouldn’t be, they’d have a very hard time filling their days with hunting, cooking, building houses and not having any food when they had a bad day. Because none of the more lucky huntsmen would give any food to the guy that never helps them because he believe it’s a dog eat dog world. For humans, being “the fittest” means having the tribe with the strongest, most trustful bonds.
Sadly, we currently live in a system that doesn’t punish (and sometimes even rewards) dog eat dog behavior. So for some people, it may seem like an appropriate lifestyle. Especially when their mindset becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and they start to see it reflected back at them in their reality.
Imagine for minute, that like in that animated kids series from the 90’s (with a name I can’t remember for the life of me), every cell in your body was a little human being with their own task to fulfill. They all work together to make you, the person they are part of, survive and perform as good as possible. This doesn’t make them slaves. It’s a smart move. Because if you die, they die too.
Now what if one of those little human cells started to say: “You know what? Fudge you all! Fudge this body. Imma do my own thing.” And the only thing the cell started to care about was personal gain. Even if that meant others, or the larger body, had to suffer for it.
That actually happens. They’re called cancer cells. Most people hate them. And they make dumb decisions. Because when they start becoming to greedy they just keep on growing until the whole body they live on is destroyed and they die too.
People with the dog eat dog mindset are the cancer cells in the larger body of humanity. We have Trumps and Putins and Kim-Jong’s and pissed off religious dudes killing innocent people because someone drew a picture of their prophet. We have Monsanto, Chiquita and the Army. We have banks, pharma and blood diamonds. One by one these are groups of people who think that destroying large parts of the body of humanity doesn’t matter as long as it helps them make more money. Until the world is dead and they realize the money didn’t save them (I doubt Elon Musk will sell tickets to Mars to the very guys that caused us to leave this planet).
But on a much smaller note we have lots of low-level people with cancerous behavior as well. People who hate on everything. People who always blame the other guy. Or their ex. And her dog. People who would rather hide the chocolate bar and eat it around the corner than having to share half of it with their friend.
One of the most helpful questions I ever asked myself is: “What would happen if the entire world behaved like me?”
If the answer is:
“Eventually we would all end up with out food, destroy each other or drown in the big puddle of waste we left behind from all the careless years of debauchery.”
That means you are currently a cancer cell and should do something about it.
I used to be a cancer cell myself. My days were filled with debauchery and, well. More debauchery. All I did was drink, take drugs, and leave a path of destruction wherever I came. And I glorified it. I have no idea why I had such an abundance of friends. I mean really. I was so addicted to exercising my own freedom that I was like a big tank rolling over everyone’s property, shooting middle fingers from my turret and hoping some of them would land in your butt. I understand cancer cells. Because when I was one, I felt totally justified. Why would I want to care about the larger group of humans when for the first 15 years of my life society had treated me like shit and shown me how dumb it was? "Fudge the world. Imma just do my own thing and enjoy it." I thought.
And I’m sure if you’ve been behaving like a cancer cell thus far, you may have reached for similar justifications. And I’m not saying they’re wrong. Society is seriously fucked up. But if we behave in such an antisocial manner, we’re part of the disease. Not the problem. So the larger body will also consider us a disease and treat us that way. That means we’ll “magically” attract more run-ins with the law, or people abusing their power trying to change us. We won’t attract too many deep, loving connections though. Because people with a healthy mindset will feel that we’re toxic. And other toxic cells will come to join us in indulging in our own misery and desperately trying to fuck the world but not even making it into the world’s friendzone. Your life is an endless struggle when you’re a cancer cell, you’ll never feel true love. Because love is all about multiplying. And you’re all about subtracting.
Healthy people will always reject you if you have this mindset, and you’ll blame them. You may find some like-minded friends that make you feel like you’ve found a place you belong. But in reality all that accomplishes is that you stop being a small individual disease cell and become part of a larger infection. You might as well, join a gang, trade on wall street, or start working for monsanto.
Just like your own body wouldn’t want cancer cells to succeed, you can expect a life filled with many challenges, obstacles and setbacks if you are one. These may all seem unfair, but they are just the result of your dog eat dog mindset. You will also get the feeling that you always have to do everything yourself. The other cells who love to help the poor cells in Africa or their neighbor cells, or anyone in need. Will never help you, because you are no longer a working part of the larger body of humanity. Instead, you threaten it. At a certain point you will even have to fight good people to succeed in life. But you will rationalize it. Kill or be killed. This is when cells turn full evil. This is when you get a president who actively fights environmentalists because they threaten his gain. Even though he’s already one of the most powerful people in the world. The stronger you get as a cancer cell, the more the world will reject you. (And then you end up with a president who keeps wondering why everyone finds him a piece of shit and has to try to make people like them through censorship because he can't think of another way.)
In the end, you’ll end up so disconnected from humanity that you disconnect from your own. You cannot survive with this mindset unless you stop caring about other people. To make such deeds possible, you have to disconnect from your own humanity as well and become a cold, dark, loveless being. Because even the most strong apex predators in the animal kingdom don’t destroy and pollute for fun. They too realize they are part of something larger. It’s never been "kill or be killed" for them. It’s only been “kill or starve”. After that, they stop. Because they realize the ecosystem they live in is what allows them to live.
It is foolish to deny our interconnectedness to each other and to this planet (or beyond). Because if we do. We’ll only end up destroying it and dying too. We need this larger body to survive and thrive, and for the body to survive, all the cells must on some level be aware that they are part of it and need to keep it healthy.
And whether you like it or not, dear mr. President, mr. Snakeoil salesman and mr. Industrial meat factory owner, there is still a flicker of that knowledge in your heart left, waiting to be lit. Somewhere deep down underneath all that darkness, you are still 90% human. You can disacknowledge that fact and refuse to listen to it, but you can never take it away.
The ''Live and Let Live" Mindset
A very common mindset among self-respecting adults is the “live and let live” mindset. They will try to do no harm, but will not make a big effort to do intentional good either. They will generally treat people in a friendly manner. They will have a job working for a company that doesn’t do a lot of unethical things. But they won’t change their diet or buy different clothes when they know the people who sell those things do terrible things, because that’s not their responsibility. When they witness someone get beaten they will do their best to ignore it. When it's rape, they will call the cops and decide that they’ve done the best they can. It’s now up to the coppers to arrive in time and help the poor girl.
This feels like a very wise and grown up attitude. I’m often tempted to adopt it completely and it’s one of the things I find most confusing about growing up. Because the more you learn about the world, the more you start realizing there are some things you can't change. So you start to think maybe it’s best to keep out of it and focus your attention elsewhere. Maybe your young ideals where foolish. Maybe you cared too much. And you decide that if you just find a way to take care of your needs without harming your neighbors, you’re already doing much better than most. “That’s a B+ for attitude. Good enough for me.”
Lately I’ve been considering this mindset a lot. It seems like a very smart one when it comes to being happy. But there’s always that little voice of consciousness in the back of my head that keeps saying I can’t just turn a blind eye to all the evil that gets done in the world and how living a fairly normal lifestyle supports that indirectly. On one hand it seems like ignorance is bliss and I sometimes wish I had taken the oh-so popular blue pill. On the other hand, well. You know who I hated most when I was abused as a kid? All the “innocent bystanders” that did nothing about it.
And that is essentially what the “live and let live” mindset is. It is neutral. You don’t live as a cancer cell (thank god), but you’re not helping the larger body either. You simply do what you need to do to survive. Sometimes you may help some other cells but only when they ask you to. You don’t actively consider society at large in your decision-making process. But if someone would stop at your door to collect money for the refugees, you’ll say yes.
You’re basically a cell with very powerful, positive potential that lays dormant. And there’s nothing wrong with that. This mindset is the territory of all the grey mice and people with identical tombstones that bear identical quotes. When you have it, you can expect the larger body of humanity to treat you with indifference. You are not essential, so in theory you are expendable, but tolerable. The world will not make a tremendous effort to help you, but it will treat you fairly and friendly most of the time. You may or may not start altering your behavior or wearing different clothes to appear more special and stand out, in an ironic effort to get noticed so that you finally feel like you matter. On the other hand, if the only way for humanity to survive was to take only 1.000 people and send them off to space, we’d not be part of that selection. But that’s not likely to happen soon, so for the moment, you are just fine.
A big downside I hinted at before, is that like with every high school bully, everyone who has a neutral attitude towards them contributes to the problem. You’ll still eat foods that destroy the planet and your body, you’ll still buy clothes from companies that abuse kids and poor people, and when you walk past someone who suffers you’ll turn a blind eye. You might even think “I wish someone would help those poor people” while you’re munching down some Doritos and continue to the next segment of the news.
If everyone lived like this, humanity would still be destroying itself, but very slowly. Like a body that ages naturally. If that body had cancer however, the process would accelerate quickly because not a lot of cells would be rushing off to fight the cancer. This is what’s happening to humanity right now. Lots of people have a “live and let live” mindset so they unknowingly become pawns in the cancer’s game. They buy products created by cancer cells. They work jobs for bosses that are cancer cells without ever questioning what the mission of the company they work for on this planet is.
Because the larger body of humanity also doesn’t really reward people with this mindset (the cancer cells abused them, the larger body has no use for them so doesn’t feed them extra), it’s very easy to fall back into a dog eat dog mindset from here. If you get knocked down enough times to experience a lack of money, time or emotional resilience, it’s easy to focus on personal gain from that point.
The problem with being so neutral is that you are totally not in control. You live in a world that’s controlled by the endless fights between good and evil. And you just have to accept whatever happens with you and say it’s the grown up thing to do. If you had a dog eat dog mindset instead, you’d probably gain a little, and get into a lot of drama that trained you to become better at manipulating situations for more gain. If you focused on doing good for others, you could get rewarded for it. But when you stay neutral, you just have to ensure your own survival in an ethical way. Which can be really hard sometimes.
The ''Oneness" Mindset
I started discovering the oneness mindset by accident. This may sound like a big load of horseshit, but one day I was at the gym and suddenly from one second to the next, everything felt different. I felt connected to everyone and everything. I could literally see colored lines connecting my heart with the hearts of other people. And for the next few months this illusion, or visualization or whatever it was, stayed. During this period, my life was the most pleasant thing I ever experienced. Every interaction went smoothly. I intuitively knew where to go. I attracted exactly the people I desired into my life. I was often in the right place at the right time. One time I missed my train and approached the girl next to me, right in time to talk her out of suicide in just as much time it took for me to take the next one. Another time I interrupted someone who was reading a book. She said she was reading the bible and had just prayed for someone to accompany her and make her feel less lonely. People started messaging me online to help me with whatever I was doing. It freaked me out. I thought I was going crazy and I tried not to talk about it with most of my friends.
I talked to someone online about it (who later become one of my best friends) and he had experienced something similar before, calling it the “oneness mindset”. He sent me some obscure links about it and it indeed described what I was feeling. Over the next year I slowly stopped seeing these lines, but I could still feel that interconnectedness with all other humans, animals and the planet. It was like a huge web covering everything. On one hand it sounds to me like a serious bout of mental illness, but later I came across more and more books from respectable scientists that actually agree there actually exists such a web that connects everyone and everything, and I discovered some major religions describe it as well. Which was a total mindfuck.
During these months, all my goals and decisions shifted completely. Instead of thinking “What do I want to do with my life?” ,I started basing my decisions on “How can I serve the larger whole of humanity in the best way possible with the skills I possess?” and “How can I make a living off of something that not only avoids a destructive impact, but actually has a positive one?”
This blog is an example of such a decision. People kept saying me I should start one because they found my thoughts helpful when applied to their lives, or found I had to spread my ideas for a better world. But every time someone asked me I simply used to say “I don’t want to. I only want to spend my days making music and nothing else.”. But once I had adopted this oneness mindset I just accepted that I needed to do it. And as it turns out, lots of people have told me how this blog had helped them so far. And I enjoy doing it at least 80% of the time, even though I had never tried writing before.
When you have a oneness mindset, you recognize your main purpose is to serve the larger thing we live in, and that in turn the body will reward you with resources. Just like your own body spreads nutrients to the cells that need and deserve it most. Of course you still need to meet your individual needs, but you do it in a way that helps humanity and our ecosystem in general. Not one that slowly destroys it, or makes you one of those people who silently approves the evil bullies of this world.
You realize logically and emotionally that when humanity is better off, we’re better off. And when we make humanity suffer, we make ourselves suffer. Cells in an unhealthy body become unhealthy. Cells in a healthy body benefit from living in such a nice body.
Once you take on this mindset, other people seem to pop up from out of nowhere to offer their help to you. At first this freaked me out (the weird lines I could see may have something to do with it). But now I realize this is only logical.
Imagine you met a person who dedicated their lives to making everything as awesome as possible for everyone else, including you. Would you fight them, or would you help and support them?
Of course you’d do the latter, because it would mean you’re effectively helping them help yourself. And that’s exactly what they’re doing too.
Since humans beings evolved to live in small tribes, that meant every single person in that tribe was better off if everyone in it did their best to make the whole tribe thrive. Because anything you did that held the tribe back, also held you back. This is why helping others makes us feel so good, the emotional response is still wired in our brain. We help ourselves by helping each other. And if we go down, we go down together (which also makes for some very enjoyable sexual positions).
If you want the world to care about you, you must care about the world first. Helping each other doesn’t mean going out of our way. Helping each other is our way. It is what makes human beings so succesful.
Taking An Honest Look at Our Own Mindset
When I ask myself the question “What would happen if everyone in the world behaved exactly like me?” today, the answer would be:
“Not a whole lot. We’d go for walks. We’d cuddle, fuck, play some games. Sing along with our favorite tunes and trust that food would magically come to us. We’d be spend a lot of time being willing to work but not enough putting that willingness into practice. On the other hand there would be no animal abuse, no racism and no gay bashing or misogyny. Though there might be some very good jokes about those subjects.”
While last year I was definitely in alignment with that oneness mindset, I feel I’m currently somewhat drifting in and out of it. Often I feel I start focusing on what is currently not the way I desire it in my life, which flips my decision-making process upside down again. Or I start to look at all the misery in the world and catch myself blaming the cancer cells, not realizing I’m acting as an innocent bystander instead of someone who actively fixes it. I spend to much time neither creating or solving the problem.
But whenever I find myself in alignment with that mindset, I work easily without getting tired. I write without thinking. Job opportunities come without seeking. I connect with people a lot easier because I realize we’re all the same. I find it the most empowering one, that leads to the most happiness and positivity that I’ve ever experienced.
On a logical level, I've always stuck with that mindset ever since. But emotionally, I’m often disconnecting myself from it when I focus on personal dislikes too much.
Still, I think every single person on this planet, including me, should make it their number 1 goal to adopt this mindset permanently right now.
Because when we act alone, we can not achieve anything. It makes us virtually powerless. Which is exactly why all cancerous leaders aim to divide us against each other. Because if we were to unite, our powers combined are infinitely more powerful. Together we are able to change the direction of humanity for good. We can stop fighting each other. We can feed the poor with all the food we waste and money we stockpile. We can invest in sustainable energy sources to power the whole planet. We can grow meat from stem cells and set all the animals free. We can focus on preventing disease instead of healing the disease we knowingly cause in our own bodies through our horrible diets. We can package our foods in bio-degradable materials.
Imagine what it would be like to live in a world where everyone had this mindset. Where everyone treated each other in a loving and respectful manner because they felt connected with everyone else. Where all people worked together to a common goal instead of competing with each other for money. Where you would never have to watch your back because people wouldn’t use you for personal gain. Where everyone, including you, assumed responsibility for the well-being of everyone else. Where people were smiling all the time and you knew everyone you talked to had good intentions towards you.
Where everyone realized that a black person is equally human as a white person. That a gay or trans person is equally human as a straight person. That woman is equally human as a man. That we're all in this together.
A world where differences where not settled by who had the most guns, because no one would have guns. And instead both parties worked together to figure out the truth, not being attached to their egoic positionalities.
A world where if you had a rough time, you could just ask for help and be treated like the most important person in the world. Because they knew you’d do the same for them.
A world where everyone realized that no matter how confusing this thing called life sometimes can feel, it’s equally confusing for everyone else. So why not, you know, help each other? We’re all in the same big boat floating through space.
Yes I know, this world doesn’t exist. And the one we live in will never be perfect. Good and evil have to be there to make each other possible and create balance in the world.
But would you rather be part of the disease, or the cure?
Because there’s no middle way. And people will treat you accordingly in return.
Putting It Into Practice
Since I feel I've somewhat shifted out of this oneness mindset I used to have all the time, I'm going to start acting like it until it comes back on the inside as well. For the next 30 days, I want to do at least one random act of kindness a day. And I'll give you some updates along the way.
Of course this post wouldn't be complete without me inviting you to join me in this.
Commit yourself to doing this for 30 days, and if you want, you can share the results (both what you did for others or what happened to you) on this blog's Facebook page.
This can be as big as quitting your job at McDonalds, doing volunteer's work for a day, as cliché as giving a homeless person your lunch or as small as turning a stranger's frown upside down (using words, not your fingers, some people don't like that). As long as you really make an effort to do it.
Let's make some good things happen together 🙂
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