Grant Andrews is an academic from Cape Town whose interest includes issues of spirituality. In The Joy of Being Incomplete: Embrace Your Imperfections and Live Your Best Life, a book that evolved from the blog of similar name, Andrews shared reworkings of many of the spiritual and philosophical pieces of writing he had published on the blog.
In a chapter that aims to improve self-understanding through introspection, with a focus on the personal and the immediate surroundings, he wrote:
Each of us is not only an individual, but also a social presence. We are all living as examples to each other, and while the responsibility of our existence and its impact ultimately falls on the one doing the living, we also have a sense of responsibility to each other. That social responsibility falls not only in our actions to better the situations of others, but also in our way of being, our method of engaging, and our level of development and understanding. This is a more intimate interpretation of the ‘charity begins at home’ adage.
Social responsibility begins with self-development and self understanding. It begins with knowing what you are getting out of particular situations, why you enter into them, what toxicity your ingrained-self could lead to, and what joys your passion-being can bring to those around you. Self-knowing cannot come before your social presence, but it could feed into a more effective social presence. So this quest of self-discovery is absolutely an unselfish quest, and a socially responsible quest. When you can bring your highest self to a situation, you can uplift others more effectively.
It could, however, fall into selfishness. Self-knowledge which is not translated into action and engagement might solely be ego-driven, and might have little lasting impact. When the guru sits on the mountain and gets to know himself perfectly without going down to the village and engaging in an empowering way, he is purely serving himself. Self-knowledge needs to feed your own growth and the growth of others. It needs to be an open door, an invitation, instead of simply a self-serving process.
Get a copy of The Joy of Being Incomplete to explore fully the world that is Andrews’ mind.