There is No Such Thing as SelflessnessA Chapter by Eldee
Thoughts on selfishness, self-interest, and consumption of the thought of "self". No one is really selfless.
I’ve always been a firm believer in the selfishness of humans. It may be cynical, but let’s be realistic. Almost every action taken by someone is backed by a human’s innate ability to survive. The cavemen killed each other to protect their territories. Medieval men married young women to ensure the survival of their bloodline through the birth of multiple children, and in many cases the death of their wives. Human beings entered communal pacts with the dawn of the Agricultural Revolution in order to protect their own assets, not those of the commune. Every stipulated law in the current governmental system is viewed subconsciously on an individual basis, not a community basis. We don’t rebel when other people’s rights are violated, just when our own are threatened.
Need I go on?
Not every human is as selfish as another, but no human being honestly doesn’t give a rat’s a*s about themselves in some form or fashion. It’s not a bad thing- our survival was built on it. Being concerned with us allows for action to be viewed with caution. We don’t want to hurt ourselves, so we think before we commit. Of course, there is such a thing as being overly cautious as well, but again- it is a topic in and of itself.
Society states selfishness is wrong. Morality tells us to be selfless. Many religions say it doesn’t exist in the soul of someone pure.
Let’s face it though, even Christianity’s God was thinking of himself when he created the world. In the big expanse of space, where even time didn’t exist, he was lonely. Why else create a race of little beings to watch over? No one was telling him to do it. He did it because he wanted to do. He acted on self-interest. He could have preserved the universe, run rampant in his own freedom. Instead, Christianity states that he watches over us, protects us, interacts with us, and uses us to pass the time.
Well, maybe not that last one, but you get my point.
I think it may be necessary to define selfish in the way that I am using it. Most dictionaries state that it only exists when people are enveloped by self-interest. Personally, I believe that selfish can be any degree of self-interest. There’s no way to really measure it, so there are no clear definitions between self-concern, self-interest, and selfishness.
So no, I’m not saying we are all consumed. I’m saying that we all think about our own interests. If we didn’t, we’d all be dead. There’d be no sense of self-protection or caution. So being selfish isn’t wrong. It’s natural.
Oh but wait- there is a point.
We need to stop being so worried about coming across as too selfish. It prevents men and women from doing the things that we want to do. I’m not saying everyone should abandon their children and dependant families, because that would be the bad kind of selfish, the kind where you ONLY think of yourself.
Let’s indulge when we have the ability to.
Take me for instance. I can travel the world, change it for the better, and fight for my dream of peace and prosperity for as many people as possible or I can be less selfish. I can go to college (not necessarily a bad thing, I know plenty of people dream of going), prove my parent’s great upbringing, run with their pride, and grow up to be successful and maybe happy. Maybe. Maybe, if I did grow up to be some successful politician or ambassador, I’d also regret not taking the chance of travelling throughout the world. Maybe I’d be forced into an endless existence of meetings, unloved work, and bureaucracy. Maybe I’d meet a guy I can moderately stand, marry him, be “successful” with him, and spend the rest of my life trapped in a safety net.
Or maybe I could turn out gloriously happy. Who knows?
But if I was selfish, if I abandoned all this materialism and discovered reality, if I forego my parent’s pride (and my inheritance), if I let this all behind to pursue my own ravishing dreams of poverty and life… maybe I’ll be happy too. Maybe I’ll be more than happy. Maybe I’ll live my dream. Or maybe I’ll end up with some mortal illness and die in a hut hidden within the Congo without making any unimaginable impact on the world.
Between living in a safety net of “selflessness” and living dirt poor in the reality of a dream, born of a moderate degree of selfishness… well I only have one life. It is my life to live, as selfish as that is.
Yup, everyone is selfish.
But when we are trying to find happiness, is being concerned with your self really such a bad thing? And then, when one person becomes happy, they can help the people they love become happy, and then we just start this giant freakin love chain. Before you know it, the world has a chance to be happy… because one person was selfish.
I’m down with that.
© 2010 Eldee
What We All See, But Don't Seem to Know
AboutNAME: Eldee, LD, Little Dragon, Eldearie BDAY: August 5th, 1992 Ah, what is there to say about little old me? I am 18 years of age, female, and an aspiring writer. Currently I am attending U.. more..