"Priming the Pump", by David G. McDivitt
To: Egoism and Ethics Debate
Subject: Philosophy of Priming the Pump From: "David G. McDivitt" Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 13:04:52 -0600
In the Old West, where people manually pumped water out of a well, for a pump to function it had to be primed. Regardless how dry things became, one had to remember to always keep enough water back to prime the pump, when a little bit more water did appear. Rationality necessarily overcame thirst in this regard.
Egoism represents the last hold out of individualism. The problem with society in past, is that through the zeal of whatever tyrant or social theocracy, there was often a drive to extinguish individualism completely. Little remained of anyone's self following failure of social experiments. Also, because individualism was pursued and eradicated with a vengeance, there was nothing to check or balance social engineering. These failed because of their lack of objectivity in the end.
No, egoism is not an all encompassing social philosophy. It does not seek to answer every nuance of contemporary morality. By it's existence however, it does hold the simple pureness of individualism in reserve. By speaking egoistically, attributes and the identity of self are maintained. It is egoism, and the expression of personal interests which rejuvenates society following the failure of whatever grand social plan.
So the question is: Why must society go through these cycles of failure and recovery? Let us implement whatever degree of social consciousness and morality, but let us also realize the concept of self in so doing, so whatever society evolves will remain.
It must be realized, when reading egoistic literature, the sole purpose of that literature is to express a sense of self which cannot be refuted. There is much other literature as well, having whatever moral focus. There are any number of places a person can go and read what to do. There are any number of people who readily tell other people what to do. How many places can a person go just to read about self? What authors in our society today realize the necessity to hold various aspects of self in reserve, and sacred? Does an egoist author therefore, necessarily sabotage society, or save society in the end?
Egoistic literature cannot be read with the hope of receiving the same ideas as moralistic literature. It is a totally different focus. Hopefully, as people read egoistic literature they can understand the value of that focus, and not obscure whatever meaning by trying to interpret it moralistically.
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