Is man selfish by nature?

Comrade_
Comrade_: Person A: Humans are selfish by nature.

Person B: Humans are not selfish in nature, but selfishness develops. Can be seen in everyday life when someone dies for another to survive or a parent sacrificing for their kid.

Person A: If someone dies for another this is still selfishness since that person gains a measure of fame or an inner feeling of "doing good" or some devine reward. A parent sacrificing for a child is still selfishness, since they desire a continuation in the species by preserving the offsprings.

Person B: (says something else I'll leave out for later)


What do you think?
and what you'd respond to Person A..that is if you disagree with him.
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Teece
Teece: I think the term "selfish" is totally open to interpretation depending
on what level you want to take it to...

My personal views are:
I would not deem someone selfish for wanting to help another or to
help their children in any way they can - rather I call that "selfless".
I don't think that people do "selfless" things only to gain fame and
attract positive attention for doing so.

My thoughts on "Selfishness" :
Anyone who carries out an act to the detriment of others with no thought
or care..
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☀▃▂▁/V\iragε▁▂▃☀
☀▃▂▁/V\iragε▁▂▃☀: we are born selfish... ever notice how much a tot says 'MINE!' ...caregivers teach tots 'share'

(tot meaning very young child)
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MrSteveA67
MrSteveA67: Yes, I think fundamentally there's really no way to avoid self centeredness in life. Experiences, thoughts, emotions etc. are all parts of 'self'. Even if someone has empathy for someone else, this is still something that oneself experiences. We can try to understand each others perspectives or drive etc., but still that's limited to whatever capabilities one has.

I don't think a truly fundamental 'selflessness' is actually even possible (but I can't speak for anyone else but myself ).

The focus should instead be upon values. It appears pointless and in many ways would be practically suicidal to try to be anything other than oneself, but what are the things that one values in life? I can only assume these arise from all the experiences, emotions, thoughts etc. one has.

It's the recognition that things are interconnected that gives value to everything else. There's not inherently beauty to music as something that can't be heard and enjoyed by anyone, or there's not an inherent value to some pristine and unobserved or uninteracted with 'nature' except to whatever extent someone could imagine there could be etc.

So I think it begins with 'self' and a recognition that this exists in relationship to everything else and the values one finds in oneself are similarly related to 'others' etc. Then the whole picture is connected and the lines of division become a bit less clear.

In my opinion (and what other opinion do I ever have?) there's still value in retaining both/all perspectives as it's the diversity of experiences that is what provides the fullness to things, but the ability to see that from a unified perspective is still something inherent in ones own capabilities.

To me, everyone's selfish and that's fine. It's just figuring out how to get along without too much bumping and shoving that's the challenge

Some people focus on the idea of self sacrifice, but that seems almost the perfect paradox to me and I've asked before which "self" they're referring to ... if they're referring to me, then I'd consider that callous and uncaring toward my feelings. If they're referring to their own self (which I'd assume would be the only self they could truly refer to), then I'd assume they're trying to place others values above their own (but that seems impossible to me because it would be due to their own values that they decided to value those of others).

Imagine of everyone in the world was only interested in helping someone else ... what would anyone do? If you asked the next person what they needed help with, then they wouldn't know either and everyone would be forever looking elsewhere for a source of values. Stopping and looking at ones own values would appear to be the only way to resolve it.
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Morsy
Morsy: I agree with teece saves typing the same response. We are all capable of being selfish in one way or another. Mostly I go more with selfless because that's who I am generally.....sometimes I would have a selfish thought because I deserve one or two but rarely put it into action....unless we are talking chocolate which i have trouble sharing....it's mine all mine!!!
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MrSteveA67
MrSteveA67: LOL

Well, yes, chocolate is completely different ... then again, I could imagine "sharing" chocolate in creative ways with someone!
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Morsy
Morsy: bugger that.....mine means all mine lol
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MrSteveA67
MrSteveA67: "Hey look over there!"

*sneaks a quick lick of Morsy's chocolate during the distraction*

Oops ... sorry!
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Hyenablood
Hyenablood: lets look at all the natural disasters that have happened in the last few years - eathquakes, tsunamis, volcano erupting, etc, all of these events have taught that humans can be giving and caring in times of crisis. I bet if you asked these people why they give, beside the ovious-because they need help, I bet they would also say-If anything bad happened here, I would hope that people would help us in a time of crisis.
Here in the Winnipeg Free Press, there is a section that I always look forward to reading, it's called " acts of kindness" and it's about people who acted kindly towards a complete stranger, for no other reason than to help in a time of crisis ie: car broke down in snowstorm, or simple payed for another person coffee at tim Hortons.
These stories which are in the paper every week are full of examples of strangers willingness to help out their fellow man in times of need or simple an act of kindness.
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clee1217
clee1217: I think we're selfish by nature. But I think we can be selfless to a point where we can strive not to be so selfish. not to be too sacrificial, but trying to survive while trying to be happy & help others to be happy at the same time.
I think it's all about balance. You have to learn, in time, how to tend to your own needs. You have to realize what your desires are, and to pursue them. You have to realize your self-worth and treat yourself as the wonderful person you are.
But you also have to remember that the world isn't all about you. It's not all about your own needs and wants. It's not just about your life, no matter how far you've planned it out. I feel like you can get too caught up in that. You imagine your job, your family, maybe even what you plan to do when you're retired. But it's all about you, and it shouldn't be that way.
I don't think being selfish is a bad thing, necessarily. Sometimes you need to be. You just need to be mindful of how far you take it.
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MrSteveA67
MrSteveA67: Is it important to you that others are mindful of other people?
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clee1217
clee1217: I don't mean that in a negative way at all. I just think that there are times when people need to realize there are other people in the world around them. Potential friends, someone who might need their help, someone who's worse off...

hmm, I'm slightly starting to forget my point.
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MrSteveA67
MrSteveA67: No, you're fine. I was simply trying to point out that you're expressing your own desires when you make these statements and many would call that being "selfish" (which seems unavoidable and not a bad thing to me).

My comments have simply been aimed at trying to point out that people can't help but to act according to their own desires/knowledge/experiences etc.

Nothing should be devalued in that, and especially none of the "various selves" involved. (The concept of self-sacrifice to me seems an entirely destructive misrepresentation of the ideal)

Instead it should be that everything is seen as possessing a value (that is inherently related to oneself) and that most everyone is simply seeking to best realize those values.

So I think the emphasize should be moved from self-sacrifice (which makes it seem like "self" is a bad thing, whereas truly that seems where all desires/values etc. come from) toward instead maximizing the synergy of everything, or at least that can potentially benefit everyone (and yes, especially oneself as being part of the rest).

Without some motive for someone why should they pursue anything at all?
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clee1217
clee1217: I see, that's true. That makes sense. I suppose we're looking for something to gain in people, whether we have good intentions or not.

I tend to think too much when it comes to people. I guess I myself am working on that balance.
9 years ago Report
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MrSteveA67
MrSteveA67: I bet there's a club on the forum already that we could both likely fit into. Yes, I overanalyze things a lot too ... ah, but it's just so much fun!! I'm an addict.

I don't think it's really a problem though if it's not something completely lost in thought and I figure as long as some people can understand and talk about the same things then it's not completely off the map.

If you tie it in with personal values as well, then it can also figuratively add more color and meaning in life because the relationships between things are seen better.

To be honest, I'd agree that overt self-centeredness could be annoying though, even if it's something that's basically true and once it's recognized, there's not much need to continually repeat it, but I think some people get lost trying to look outward and can have problems in their own lives by trying to avoid being "self centered" or feeling that's a socially unacceptable view and fearing social rejection. That's why I think the concept of self-sacrifice is destructive and potentially manipulative ... if someone encourages another to be self-sacrificing, what's the motive to encourage others to sacrifice themselves?

If someone were truly supportive of others, it seems a disservice to encourage someone else demean, sacrifice or devalue themself or their desires. That's actually where the all the values in life arise from, IMO.

Instead if everyone acknowledged those various desires and people focused instead on how to best work with others in order that everyone involved can best realize their own self fulfillment, then it's really a win/win/win scenario and the only motivation required was that which everyone already had - nothing to sacrifice.

Admittedly reality adds complexity and yes, some desires are likely best left on a shelf for some, but if a society truly offered something of value for everyone, then there's really no need for any enforced structure - people are there simply because they desire to be there and the unity arises not from being forced into a common prison cell but instead from the natural value people find in working/being with others.

That's what I think most all social ideals are fundamentally about.
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Yan26
Yan26: I think you are looking at it in a black or white scheme. The truth is most of us are grey. We are capable of great acts of selflessness and great acts of selfishness. We are changing. so there are times when we behave selfishly and there are times we behave selflessly. In the end you are what you choose to be at that point in time.
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LiptonCambell
LiptonCambell: I don't think people are "selfish" in so many words as they act in their own self-interest.

Too many people assume that everyone will sacrifice themselves for others- and if they don't, they are selfish. They're not- they're just looking out for themselves. And frankly, I think looking out for yourself is the highest moral standard anyone can do.
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Animal Lover
Animal Lover: I do believe that human beings, as a species, are selfish. I'm not talking about individual acts.
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Zen777
Zen777: The needs of the many often outweigh the needs of the one. But sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. It can go two ways. It is purly a survival thing to be selfish or selfless.Without it we all die.
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hairytoes
hairytoes: zen. have you been watching star trek 2 the wrath of khan recently, cos spock said that
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bustybabie
bustybabie: im waiting to see wat person B has in reply....@caveman
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Morsy
Morsy: We are selfsh by nature for a number of issues. But the word can come under so many facets that overall I have to yes.
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sunny_24
sunny_24: I guess we were created simple and ignorant and we learned trough the time what is right, what is wrong, and all normal humans has the notion inside. So to be selfish could be an option...
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hairytoes
hairytoes: the human heart is wicked above all things, while at the same time having the capacity for such goodness and righteousness.
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Zen777
Zen777: hey hairtoes sometimes even the movies get it right
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hairytoes
hairytoes: live long and prosper dude.
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