The Illusion of Entitlement

In spite of all the political posturing and cacophony of the election year, the assertions of and protests about “rights” has not faded from the media’s attention.  It seems as if everyone is claiming a right and someone else has the responsibility of giving that right to them.  The claiming of a right is not new. For much of written history, kings, for example, have claimed divine rights.  Despite the claim of divinity, these entitlements in reality were yielded to them by the people.  How does one figure out a right or an entitlement?  Who exactly is entitled to what?  Who deserves what?

The proponents of  “new thought” or “new spirituality” tend to assume that people receive what they want or need because they deserve it, or at least, because they believe that they deserve it.  This is not completely wrong, but it still begs the point of who deserves.  The “deserving” seems to assume that only some are deserving because only some have; it is then the fault of  have-nots for not having because they don’t deserve enough.  In other words, they don’t need to be thought about very much.   This sounds as if another word for “deserving” might be “entitlement.”

Who, then, is entitled?  Royalty?  The wealthy?  Warriors?  The kind and gentle?  The populace?  Members of ethnic groups?  Or?     Again, entitlement assumes a right to having something without effort, something someone else has to yield to one.

How to determine, then, who is entitled?  What characteristics entitle one, or make one more deserving of even basic need than another?  If we are all One, as seems to me to be a valid assumption, then how can a part of One be more valuable than another part of One?  If we are all one, we are made of the same substance, and connected to each other in such a way that the benefit to one benefits all, and the misfortune of one also affects us all.  None is more valuable than another, and none is less valuable than another.   The concepts of deserving, rights, and entitlement begins to make very little sense.

In truth, we are all of equal value before that which some call God, some call Energy or Force, some call Nothing, and which has myriad names.  We are all equally deserving, and also equally undeserving.  This being so, the two polarities cancel each other out.  There is no such thing, and no better or worse valued people.   That judgment is an illusion.

We create our own sorrow by arguing over who is the most deserving or entitled, or who has the most rights to the topic of the moment.  If instead of spending all that energy in confrontation, trying to get what we think someone else owes us, we were to all put our minds to figuring out how all of us could have the means necessary to support life and grow in understanding, we would also experience more joy.  Perhaps experiencing that joy is what everyone claiming various rights is actually desiring.

As we put out love freely, we become enveloped in love.  As we work for the benefit of another, we benefit.  What we give comes back to us, sometimes in kind and sometimes in other ways.  There is wisdom in focusing on the well being of another, more so than on the illusion that we deserve to have another focus on us.  I am not saying that it is necessary to follow in the tradition of having nothing, but that the love between people is more important than the things or societal positions that one possesses.  Let us try, then, to give that thing which we think we deserve, and to be open to the ways in which joy returns to us.

Happy Valentine’s Day!              Peace,  Diane