The First Law: Self-Reliance

J.C. LaCroix Uncategorized

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"Justice Gavel", Tori Rector, Creative Commons License

“Justice Gavel”, Tori Rector, Creative Commons License

The First Law, stated:

“No one cares about your problems, but you”.

Remember, these Laws are not the statement of a literal truth of the universe. Instead, they are the statement of a perspective on that literal truth, a way of looking at that universe. Try to keep that in mind as we move through the Laws. You may indeed find someone who inherently, selflessly cares about your problems. They do exist. But, it’s not likely. This law has many layers, many angles, so let’s go through them and see how this Law unfolds.

There is no Altruism

While this has been proven scientifically, feel free to look into the issue yourself, it is still subject to a lot of debate. I do not want to continue that debate here. The first aspect of this Law is a flat-out rejection of the notion of Altruism, that is, helping someone with no regard to personal gain. It is an ideal that is held up by many, but Darkworking rejects this notion.

All you have to do is look.

Take all the relief flowing out to Haiti right now, not from governments, but from individual donations of time, money, skills, and goods. Once you factor out all those who are helping because they have some personal, vested interest in Haiti, you are left with people who fall into one or both of two groups:

They are helping because the giving makes them feel good. It is an ego-snack that makes them feel like an awesome person. The love-junkie group.


They are helping in order to support a world-order where, should they be a victim of a natural disaster, aid from other nations will be available to them, by tradition. The long-term gain group.

This works for every scenario you will examine, from people helping old ladies or the disabled with opening a door, all the way to the largest donors to cancer research. Every time you see giving, there is some sort of person to person exchange happening.

If you remove personal gain, people either do not help, or stop helping. That’s just a fact, and you can watch it happen again and again if you start paying attention.

The truth is, no one helps someone else for nothing.

The “Dirty World”, “Cold World”, or “Scarcity” Question?

Now, the thing that happens when you introduce this Law is an initial rejection with most people. They think the Law feels skeezy. Imagining a world where no one cares about anyone else, where the highest acts of human devotion are nothing more than some sort of cash-register ritual, makes them feel dirty inside. Isn’t there something more to it than that?

Also, it tends to paint a cold world to some people. They say that this Law paints a world where you’re on your own, balls to bones. There will be no free lunch. And, they say, several times in their life, they have been helped by random acts of joy and senseless acts of kindness. Is the world really that harsh?

Lastly, the astute will point out that this dirty, cold world, is one built on fear and scarcity. After all, if people are only giving to others when they have something to gain from the deal, doesn’t this inherently imply a limit to things? Aren’t they afraid of loosing in some fashion? Isn’t this a world of closing doors, where options become fewer and fewer?

The simple answers to all these objections is: Yes. These statements are true.

If, that is, you are mis-applying the Law itself. If you prematurely abort the Law, and don’t trace it down to its roots, you will indeed be left in that world. As long as you come to the world with an expectation for help, or a sense of entitlement, or a want that offers nothing, you will find this nightmare. But, what happens when we continue to read the Law, and remember the ending, “…but you”?

The Abundance of Self-Reliance

This Law calls us, in the face of personal difficulty, to look to ourselves, to Self-Reliance.

Consider, for a moment, if you are Divine, then didn’t you create these problems? And, if you did, didn’t you do it to teach yourself something, to learn more about yourself? Well, if you did that, then why should someone else inherently come in and remove your obstacles? Why should they care? You created them, don’t they belong to and serve you? Wouldn’t that be self-defeating to you? And, if you are unlimited and infinite, isn’t Self-Reliance the true key to lasting abundance?

I would argue that true dependence is the real scarcity situation, because you have no control over the flow of the issue at hand. I would argue that not having an exchange would be skeezy, because that is simply one person riding off the achievements of another. I would argue that altruism is the coldest point of view, because you are robbing the other and yourself for any opportunity for growth.

Something given has far less value than something earned. Of course, this excludes the sentimental value of a present. After all, would you rather have someone give you fish, or teach you how to fish? And then, wouldn’t you like to not have to fish at all, taking the fish of others whom you are teaching to fish, as they awaken and one day teach others? This, if you liken fish to energy, to your goals, to your dreams, is precisely what this Law leads to achieving.

This central mechanism, where one helps another only for some personal gain, is the very same mechanism that ensures that your problems are solved only when you gain from the solution of that problem. If you constantly helped others, robotically, for no personal gain, they would learn nothing and neither would you, its loose-loose. The win-win requirement is what makes this Law beautiful. It is what makes the universe work in a coherent fashion.

So, if you stop looking to others, and start looking to yourself, then this is where abundance truly springs forth. Once you solve a problem once, relying on yourself, you can solve it again and again. And, you carry the insight gained with you. And, as we will see, the Law also shows you how.

This, which begins first as a closing off, a turning inward, becomes the blessed opening of abundance, the true freedom of the Darkworker.

Getting Help from Others

The first and most direct way to apply this Law in your life is to stop talking about your problems to others, unless they genuinely ask. And, this goes beyond the small-talk “How are you?” statement. Unless someone gives that extra push to get you to talk, don’t do it. This also includes gossiping and ranting. First, you’re only strengthening and throwing more energy into the creation of your problems.

More importantly, you’re violating the Law. Remember, they don’t care.

They don’t care about your problems, they care about their problems.

So, you have a problem and you want to solve it. None of us exist in a vacuum, so at some point, you’re going to need someone else in the solution to every problem you face. It could be an executive you want to hire you, a personal trainer you need a discount from, a neighbor you want to have turn their stereo down.

No matter what, the Law calls you to approach them with the focus on solving their problem as part of getting their help with yours. Alternatively, you could create a problem for them and agree to solve that problem if they will solve yours – i.e., call the police on your neighbor and agree to stop when the stereo is turned down after a certain time. For an application of this, see my articles on How to Get a Job.

Now, how do you know what their problems are? Well, what are your problems? We all want to look good for the boss, feel well-regarded by others, get an unexpected surprise present, and so forth. Any thing you have desired with regularity is something that someone else wants. We are, at our core, the same God.

Doing this gets you back into alignment with Self-Reliance, and the floodgates open. It might take some practice if you’ve been trained to dependence, but stick with it. The rewards are manifold.

Giving Help to Others

On the flip side of the coin, this Law is a liberating scythe. Use it to cut out all those exchanges in your life that you feel are win-lose, and be ruthless. Overbearing partner or relative? Bye-bye. Exploitative boss? Peace buddy. Charity that you’re not getting the buzz from? No cha-ching. Remember, if you are not gaining from a given exchange, then you are solving that person’s problem in a way that is preventing them from learning and growing. You are creating dependence. You are, in effect, hurting and not helping.

There was this homeless guy that used to sit at the freeway junction a few years ago. He always had some kind of entertaining sign, either being completely honest (I need beer money), or otherwise uplifting (You are beautiful). The guy made me smile, so I’d always give him something. You see, he was, at minimum, in a downward spiral, but learning how to entertain people and snag their attention. But then, he got careless and lazy, and out came the standard signs, needing food, or disabled vet or whatever. So, I stopped giving. Why? Not because I’m a dick. Rather, because at that point, the guy is no longer learning anything, and I’m just propping up a drinking habit that has and will continue to destroy his life. If we all stop giving him money, he might find the impetus to change his life, learn what he really needs to learn.

Remember, love yourself, be mighty.