John of the AnimeNation Anime News Blog is among the most interesting and knowledgeable writers about anime that I’ve read. Today, he posted a reaction to the recent OreImo leak, and though not about spirituality, his comments bring up some interesting ideas regarding the hearts of anime fans, and really, all of us. John writes,
Anime fans, and all fans of entertainment media, are naturally selfish.
I think this is a blunt and true statement about the human spirit. What’s wrong with the world? If we take an introspective look at ourselves, we’ll realize what’s wrong is us. More specifically, what’s wrong is how much we love ourselves.
I believe this is the result of a selfish culture, particularly in the west. Look out for number one, right? And, I’ve got to do what’s best for me.
Our first instincts (for most of us at least) is to think through our own lenses, to focus on how we feel about a situation instead of empathizing with others. What makes empathy so difficult (at least for me) is that it’s unnatural. We want to serve ourselves first.
I have a friend who has recently experienced a great deal of pain, physically and emotionally, in her life. A friend’s response to it was, “At least you’re not dead.” How does that help her? If that person put him or herself into the friend’s shoes, he or she might realize that she needed much more than that meaningless phrase. The toughest thing for me about that story is this:
That very person could’ve been me. I’ve said the very same before.
Now imagine a world where people thought of others first – no war, no famine, no heinous crimes. Very John Lennon-esque, eh? A pipe dream, for sure, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change our own lives to think outward instead of inward.
Let’s take an anime-related example. I recently made a post about OreImo that praised Kyosuke when he took it on the lip (literally) for Kirino. Did he save the world? No, but he made something good happen by thinking of himself last.
Most of the great religious figures have had something to say about this issue. Jesus, who’s ministry was about love, told us to love God most, and secondly to love your neighbor. Loving yourself was nowhere in his advice.
Today, I’m sitting at home and there’s something I just need to tell my wife – a little bitty that will get her riled up and angry. But I need to tell her cause it’ll make me feel better. You know what? I’m gonna drop it. It’s not that hard to do. I’ll make this little decision to think about someone else first, and hope that it’ll begin to trickle down to every matter of my life – to relationships, to work, to charity.
I’ll leave you with a famous quote by a man of peace: “Be the change you want to see in the world” (Mahatma Ghandi). What about you? Will you think of others today? What will you do to think outwardly instead of in?
To read all of John’s terrific response, go here: