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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default Increase in selfishness?

    Do you think that people are generally becoming more selfish, narcissistic, etc than they were in past generations?

    What examples would you use for yea or nay?

    I'd say society is encouraging an increasingly harmful me-first attitude, more than in the past, but I'm too lazy to start giving you examples right now.
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  2. #2
    Minister of Propagandhi ajblaise's Avatar
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    Selfishness is a luxury.

    The whole town doesn't have to pull together to survive anymore. Families don't stay in the same community forever anymore, kids move away. We can economically support this new individuality.

    But let's say we have a massive long-lasting depression... we'll be forced back in those tight-knit community settings. Some people might view that as a good thing, I don't really.

  3. #3
    Kraken down on piracy Lux's Avatar
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    I think people have always been this way. I think every era thinks of themselves as lacking or being worse in comparison to the past. And the next generation is "worse."

    I realize this quote is about children but I think it is interesting because every generation thinks that the next generation is worse than they were. But really I just think we're all human.

    "Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers."
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    "It is not length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Thought breeds thought." ~ Henry David Thoreau

  4. #4
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Ok, before I actually get back to work, I did think of an example I wanted to cite. I guess this is about “entitlement.”

    I live in the UK but I suspect things are similar these days in America, etc. It seems to me that these “celebrity” shows, X-Factor, etc etc etc make people think that they are entitled to fame, fortune, adoration etc without actually being talented, let alone being good people, sometimes even let alone being good-looking! Ok, thinking you’re entitled to everything just for being good-looking is just as bad or worse, but judging from the level of talent at the auditions for these shows there are enormous numbers of people who think “I’m not smart, I’m not talented, but hey, I deserve to be rich and famous too!”

    I’m not sure this is “selfishness” per se, I would call it narcissism or a distorted sense of entitlement. The people who become “celebrities” simply because they behave badly in public, get their boobs increased ten sizes, are married to/related to someone else famous, etc seem to think they are entitled to do whatever after that. And the response of society only encourages them. I work in publishing and there are so many celebs who are like “hm…I think I’ll write a children’s book now. It’s easy, and I want to, and I can, because I can do anything.” Of course, the children’s book (or their concept, if they don’t write it themselves) is probably total crap, but some publishing house will snap it up anyway because it will sell.

    I think this may be slightly off topic with what I originally posted, but also slightly on topic…It’s a general societal outlook which I’m not sure existed to such a degree in the past.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I am not saying there isn't a trend that direction, but I do think that the groups you mention are sort of self-selecting.

    I mean, the only way being famous would appeal to me would be if I wrote something really great or accomplished something amazing in the area of social-justice because that would truly be worth doing and putting up with the inconvenience of notoriety.

    Rich, on the other hand . . . I could live with being quietly rich.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  6. #6
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    Rich, on the other hand . . . I could live with being quietly rich.

    Hehe, you have a point there.

    It does seem to be a widespread trend though. Surveys in the UK have shown that the top choice of career for a majority of young girls is "glamour model" - a model who poses topless for Page 3 of the papers. One of the top role models for these girls is Jordan/Katie Price, who you may or may not have heard of in other parts of the world, but she's famous for having been a glamour model, being involved in various scandals, having had a notorious divorce, appearing on celebrity TV shows...that's about it.

    Apparently the younger generation is being conditioned to want a "career" that isn't based on any genuine personal accomplishment or moral worth. It's based on being famous for notoriety and looking like a porn star.
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  7. #7
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    There've been people behaving badly like that in about any generation- and thier scandals were well known in their day (read Decameron, by Bocaccio if you have any doubts )- it's just that behaving like idiots is more democratic today thanks to mass media- you no longer have to be rich or well connected to do so!

    Selfishness isn't necissarily a bad thing- making sure that you have what you need is basic human instinct- I'm not sure that you're human if you don't have that drive. Greed, however, is not necissarily good- take what you need to be comfortable, but share after that point. I don't think that those principles have changed over the years- even the serfs working in the fields tried to save up what they needed before sharing- and the royalty and nobles were still just as greedy than as the worst reality show contestant is now!
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  8. #8
    Nickle Iron Silicone Charmed Justice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Apparently the younger generation is being conditioned to want a "career" that isn't based on any genuine personal accomplishment or moral worth. It's based on being famous for notoriety and looking like a porn star.
    Has Western society become more vain, or did mass media just give us a mirror? As Lux said, people have always been this way. Every generation has seen the failure of good character in the generations that follow. And of course, vanity doesn't have to be about a beauty standard(which has increased), but I'd prefer it, to say, the vanity of war(which seems to have decreased).
    There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made, and which, in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    I would suggest observing how collectivist vs individualized a society is then expect to see the trends towards selfishness either less or more based upon what the society accepts.

  10. #10
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnFpFer View Post
    Has Western society become more vain, or did mass media just give us a mirror?
    Very good point, a lot of our perception of reality is shaped by the media.
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