In The Spirits Book, in Chapter VII, a chapter about moral perfection, the headwaters of our problems is revealed. It is “selfishness”, this word covers much ground; starting from not wanting to give, to not wanting others to succeed, all the way to corruption and crime in the desire for more. So we will be able to buy what we believe will be happiness and contentment.
The topic of selfishness begins at question 913;
913. Which, among the vices, may be regarded as the root of the others?
“Selfishness, as we have repeatedly told you; for it is from selfishness that everything evil proceeds. Study all the vices, and you will see that selfishness is at the bottom of them all. Combat them as you will, you will never succeed in extirpating them until, attacking the evil in its root, you have destroyed the selfishness which is their cause. Let all your efforts tend to this end; for selfishness is the veritable social gangrene. Whoever would make, even in his earthly life, some approach towards moral excellence, must root out every selfish feeling from his heart, for selfishness is incompatible with justice, love, and charity; it neutralizes every good quality.”
Hence we are directed to not only let go of our selfish behavior, but “root out”, which means to actively discover and remove those feelings and thoughts that dominant our daily thoughts. How do we go about it? A clue is given in the next question;
914. Selfishness having its root in the sentiment of personal interest, it would seem that, to extirpate it entirely from the human heart, must be a very difficult matter. Is it possible to do so?
“In proportion as men become enlightened in regard to spiritual things, they attach less value to material things; and as they emancipate themselves from the thraldom of matter, they reform the human institutions by which selfishness is fostered and excited. Such should be the aim of education.”
“Personal interest” is the key. We all realize some personal interest is required for survival, we must work and work with distinction to earn our salary so we may live and eat. We must save for difficult periods or for retirement. Hence, if we allow our selfishness to expand to the boundary where we are not a burden on others, we are safe. Beyond that, we need to examine our motives when we act.
Allan Kardec knew how difficult it would be to erase selfishness, so he asked the question;
915. Selfishness being inherent in the human race, will it not always constitute an obstacle to the reign of perfect goodness upon the earth?
“It is certain that selfishness is your greatest evil; but it belongs to the inferiority of the spirits incarnated upon the earth, and not to the human race as such, and consequently, those spirits, in purifying themselves by successive incarnations, get rid of their selfishness as they do of their other impurities. Have you, upon the earth, none who have divested themselves of selfishness, and who practice charity? There are more of such than you think, but they are little known, for virtue does not seek to display itself in the glare of popularity. If there is one such among you, why should there not be ten? If there are ten, why should there not be a thousand? and so on.”
Then Allan Kardec wished to understand, how selfishness would be conquered;
917. By what means can selfishness be destroyed?
“Of all human imperfections, the most difficult to root out is selfishness, because it is connected with the influence of matter, from which man, still too near his origin, has not yet been able to enfranchise himself, and which his laws, his social organization, his education, all tend to maintain. Selfishness will be gradually weakened as your moral life obtains predominance ever your material life, through the knowledge which Spiritism gives you of the reality of your future state, stripped of allegoric fables. Spiritism, when it comes to be rightly understood, and identified with the beliefs and habits of the human race, will transform all your customs, usages, and social relations. Selfishness is based on the importance you attribute to your own personality; Spiritism, on the contrary, when rightly understood, causes you to look at everything from a point of view so elevated that the sentiment of personality is lost, so to say, in the contemplation of immensity. In destroying the sentiment of self-importance, by showing its real nature, Spiritism necessarily combats selfishness.”
The answer is only when we elevate ourselves, to look at our need for material and emotional pleasures from a higher vantage point, and acknowledge the transitory nature that a fleeting moment of desire is trivial when compared to all else. To achieve that goal for the world at large, we must spread the Doctrine of Spiritism. For only by the general acceptance that we are here on this earth by the grace of the spirit world to learn and to improve, whereby all else is secondary, shall we slay the beast of selfishness.
Understand how the spirit world is guiding us to become better souls by reading my book, Explore Your Destiny – Since Your Life’s Path is (mostly) Predetermined. The different levels and the organization of the spirit realm, where you live the vast majority of your immortal existence, are described and explained.