It is completely wrong, in my eyes, that we let society assign such a negative connotation to the word, “selfish”. I have 4 points to make on this. First, to say that we’re wrong to follow our instincts and do what’s best for ourselves is not a bad thing. Second, all these people make some claim about selfishness subtracting from the greater good. In this area, they contradict themselves without having the awareness to notice it. Third, our current economic system is centered on the notion of being “selfish”, and I’d say it’s done fairly well. Fourth, the outcome of selfishness can be beneficial to others; it’s situational and cannot be pinned down to always being “bad” or always being “good”.
First, to be selfish, by definition, is to do what is best for you; it is one of our primal instincts. Telling a human not to be selfish is like telling a dog not to chase a cat. Good luck winning that battle. Adding to that, there is no set definition for how much is too much for you, so there’s really no way to even argue it. Some people might feel they have enough if they have 100$, and start handing money out to homeless people. While others will still feel that they need more when they own a billion dollar corporation. You can’t argue perception.
Second, to tell someone not to be selfish so a group or family can gain more is a selfish act in itself! The person telling you not to be selfish is part of that group or family, I’m assuming, and they will benefit if he/she can convince you that ‘selfishness is bad’. They’re going to take from you and redistribute it throughout “the group”. In that group is the person who convinced you to not be “selfish”, and he is getting a portion of what you gave. He wouldn’t tell you otherwise if he didn’t have a stake in it! This can be rationalized however you chose, but in the end the other person is gaining from your loss. Screw those “selfish” hypocrites.
Third, our current economic system is centered on being selfish, we would be much worse off as a society if it weren’t. The driving force of Capitalism is, well, Capital! Capital is defined as money invested by individuals into a certain industry in hope of getting an undefined amount of money back. Without these “selfish” investors, we would never have had the technological or medical advances that we’ve had in the past. “Selfish” investors fuel the medical field, investing capital into everything from trying to find the cure for diseases like Cancer and HIV, to trying to find out the most efficient way to stop a toddler’s nose from running. Each and every investor is hoping their company will find the cure, because if they do, a huge amount of kickback will come their way. I don’t know where you stand on this, but curing Cancer sounds like it would be pretty helpful to a lot of these people who are dying a slow and painful death of the disease, whom might I add would not benefit much from taking 10 chocolates from one person and handing them out to a group. These advances and investments are completely ignored by the Utopians that condemn “selfishness”. In this case, not being selfish would support Communism. It all becomes about the “greater good”, while unknowingly it just starts making everything worse for everybody.
Fourth, to be selfish is not always even a bad thing, it’s situational. Let’s start it off with this, helping people is a selfish act. Seems random and absurd? Let me break it down. When the majority of people do something that’s good for others, they are looking for the admiration and affection they get from others after they accomplish a task. Helping others is a way for many people to gain the affection they need, to reassure them that they have done well. When people lack the self-confidence needed to reassure themselves that they live a meaningful, productive life, the after effects from helping others can be a great way to have someone else comfort you indirectly. People then begin to help others, not purely to see the others happier, but to see that you helped them get there, and you were praised by them for doing so, thus, people-pleasers. (I have another post I’ll put up to elaborate on that). Back to my point, who’s to say you being selfish in needing others approval is a bad thing for this “society” that they’ve trying to make better. If both sides gain from it, I see no problem with it. It’s like if you had a car that ran on ocean water and shot gold from the exhaust pipe. The ocean water is the drive some individuals possess to help people, getting from point A to point B much faster than if you walked is the affection you get from helping, and the gold-exhaust is what the people around you get from your selfish drive to help others. In this case, I see nothing wrong with being “Selfish”.
One thing I have to say to those who proclaim selfishness as bad, think about it. The self-admitted goal by these individuals is to make everything better for everybody, when you read that, your mind should be ringing with the word communism. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that things are never going to be perfect for everybody, you can only make things perfect for yourself, either by a change in perception, or working for it. If by being what some Utopian calls “selfish” you can have a better life, so be it! The very same people that claim you’re a bad person because you’re selfish ignore all the good things selfishness has done for this country.
Although, in the end, if you ignore the fact that selfishness;
-Built up one of the highest standards of living in the United States
-Saved millions and millions of lives in the medical field by supporting innovation and leading to the creation of new medications
-Can include helping people around you and doing things that outwardly would be perceived as self-less;
Selfishness is the worst thing that was ever instilled to us as a race.