One has lost count of the number of people he’s been “friends” with. In hindsight, these people became friends with me for different reasons – most of which (if not all) were selfish.
I used to be annoyed when people portray their selfishness but some events made me realise that I am as selfish as the people I loathed. This epiphany led me to another Zinga theory, that no matter how awesome we may think we are, there is a (selfish) reason why that man/woman is around us. And everything we do has a selfish connotation and engineered in such a way to make us happy.
Selfishness is often regarded as something evil; an image of one who cares for no one but himself or herself and pursues nothing but his or her own happiness. Being selfish has never been given to anyone as a compliment.
This is a common misconception about selfishness; being selfish has a variety of meanings. Melissa Deuter, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center once said “Selfish is an ugly word but it can mean two different things. One connotation is that you’re unkind and inconsiderate of others. The other is that you take responsibility for getting your personal, emotional and physical needs met, and that’s an important part of becoming an adult.”
Everybody is selfish in diverse ways and to varying levels/degrees – after all, we are self-centred in our daily pursuit of happiness. Epicurus wrote, “We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it.”
Almost every action we take is to satisfy our needs and happiness. Everyone is dire pursuit of what he/she is greedy about – love, knowledge, sex, acceptance, money, success or any other activity/product that gives a sense of gratification.
Don’t misconstrue the point here, you can still be the best person you can possibly be and be selfish. Altruism – the act of being selfless for the wellbeing of others – can also be linked to selfishness. There are a lot of kind and generous people in this world but most of the effort people put in is for selfish purposes.
For instance, many believe people will like them more if they do everything others want. They yearn for love and acceptance to feel good about themselves (happiness) but instead, they become pawns controlled by others. Nathaniel Branden wrote in his article “Isn’t everyone selfish?” “No one ever really sacrifices himself. Since every purposeful action is motivated by some value or goal that the actor desires, one always acts selfishly, whether one knows it or not.”
Biologically, human evolution depicts that natural selection abhors selflessness and favours selfish behaviour. Human beings have a deep survival instinct – to fight for food and shelter or against adverse circumstances. These instincts may be the reason behind our selfishness.
People seldom praise others without selfish motives. They may sing your praises today because you are in power but will waste no time to disregard your achievements and magnify your flaws as soon as you lose that power.
It is all about survival. Happiness is a survival mechanism, a reward for our actions. As far as mankind chases happiness, it will always be a selfish world.
What do you think?