“You do not see this as withholding, but what you claim for yourself at another’s expense is indeed withholding, and in your world you know not how to claim anything for yourself without withholding it from someone else.” (ACOL, C:7.15)
Our selfishness can indeed be profound in this world. Jesus here calls it “withholding,” and we can see from the quotation that he takes a dim view of it. We have thought, erroneously, that we cannot have something in this world without taking it from somebody else. We think that we are the loser if another has.
We are so wrong! We can both have! And in this there is no need for any withholding, no need for selfishness at all.
We are used to living in a competitive world. When we were growing up, in school, it may have been the competition for good grades. Many of us were brought up in conditional love that seemed to say that what we achieved defined our worth. And in the seeking of grades, particularly for students being graded on the curve, we could not be first if another person claimed that position. We may have continued on to college with these same thoughts. And jockeying for position in the dating game was nearly always a means to have a partner that somebody else could not claim as theirs.
Thus competition has taken an ugly toll on us. Competition is said to be the cornerstone of our success as a nation. Is this true? Do we really see this as the way that capitalism works?
Actually research studies in education have shown that a cooperative learning environment, as well as a cooperative work environment, is more conducive to success. And in cooperation there is less one-upmanship. We are less selfish as a result. And our withholding is less. This is right in line with the latest revelations as seen in A Course of Love.
We need to seek in small ways to counter the propensity to withhold from others. There is enough to go around. We can even share, because in the real world this gives to both us and other. As mentioned, we can both “have.” And in living this way, we can extol the values of spirituality. We are not living a lie anymore. And our better living will prove this to us.