Self-absorption fascinates me. Like many other psychological phenomena, knowing how it works doesn’t fully guard you against its destructive power. I read this quote from a review of George Orwell’s allegorical novel Animal Farm. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
The challenge we face is to be transparent with ourselves.
The answer is hard to determine because most people have blinders on about their motivation. I ask myself, am I doing something only to build my reputation, or am I acting compassionately? For you, does the outcome of your action outweigh the reason behind your motivation? In the end, is that important? Only you can answer that question.
“Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.”
It is not as simple as Orwell stated; understanding why you are trying to sum up two plus two is more important.