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Does one have the right to be selfish?

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Does one have the right to be selfish?

Postby Scepcop » 21 May 2012, 16:10

Question:

Does one have the right to be selfish? Why does society act as though one were obligated to be unselfish? It's not possible to force someone to care about others if he doesn't right? Isn't this an unrealistic expectation?

Besides, isn't it wrong to force someone to compromise or sacrifice his interests, life, freedom, resources, needs, etc. for the benefit of others? What if he doesn't want to? Why should he force himself to do something he doesn't want to do? Especially if these "others" don't include his friends or family.

Isn't is self-destructive to be too selfless and only care about others but not about yourself? If so, why doesn't society consider that a bad thing too?

Key point: If everyone wants you to do something that you don't, should you give in, or should you listen to yourself and be selfish? Is one obligated to do something one doesn't want to do, just because everyone else says so?
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Does one have the right to be selfish?

Postby Craig Browning » 21 May 2012, 19:25

Firstly, it is generally against human nature but society as a greater whole, to be selfish; this is something one learns to be based on culture more than anything other.

History is rife with examples in which primitive people knew nothing of "possession" or "worth" UNTIL the European conquerors & missionaries taught them such ideas; it generally took less than a full generation before crime became an issue within these previously benevolent and "socialistic" communities. Even within theology the biggest of sins world wide, is to not give hospitality to travelers and strangers in need. . . understand, we're not talking about beggars that survive based on an on-going act of begging or even thievery, but persons that simply need that hand-up or restpit.

In certain Oriental teachings a "Demon" is described as a man that has turned his back on society as a whole, seeking property, power and influence strictly for himself; he sought to rule over and enslave all others to his whim. Even now we see the 1% as being vile evil things, do we not? The Republican Party is composed of soulless, inhumane hypocrites, etc. because they worship money and loathe the idea of helping those that do not have it so well in their own life.

The majority of the world's religions, theologies and philosophies (of the spiritual sort and a few social-political) all encourage a more socialistic ideology -- the communal obligation -- for the sake of world peace, general harmony and genuine abundance. A prime example of this is the era of Confucius -- a theology lived by a small handful of people in a great nation who, until the Mongol invasions, lived in peace -- a society based on communal possession and obligation.

Every single society that has been based on the idea of possessions -- especially when possession & attainment were the definition of one's worth -- have failed and usually in a way that is quite severe as well as ugly. . . but the mighty will always fall. Those that taught and lived by the rule of charity and being of service to one's fellows; honoring and respecting all of nature, these people frequently have known genuine greatness as well as a seeming eternal state of presence and influence in our lives. . . just look at how long its been since Confucius walked the earth, let alone Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi. . . and so on. . . yet, their influence is still very much alive
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Re: Does one have the right to be selfish?

Postby ProfWag » 21 May 2012, 20:52

As long as your actions don't negatively impact my loved ones, I couldn't give a rats ass if you're selfish or not.
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Re: Does one have the right to be selfish?

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 22 May 2012, 05:53

Does one have the right to be selfish?

What is a right? What is selfishness?

The only answer I can give to this is “yes”. One is a self, and thus, the center of the universe. I can try to pretend I am a star or a stone, but I have to deal with me if I want to deal with tsociety, or the world. To say I have no right to be selfish is as idiculous as saying a stone has no right to obey gravity, or a star to shine.

Being inordinately selfish, tho, is impolite, just as it is impolite for a star to supernova if one is in the neighborhood.



Why does society act as though one were obligated to be unselfish?

What planet do you live on, Winston? Craig did not go far enough in pointing out how many kinds of material selfishness are treated as virtues in Amerikkka. Nor did he mention at all the self-indulgent hedonism encouraged by every commercial, rather a ten second blurb or a blockbuster movie.




Isn't is self-destructive to be too selfless and only care about others but not about yourself? If so, why doesn't society consider that a bad thing too?

Consider Gandhi, MLK, the Kennedies even, and some Palestinian rabbi a lot of people think they think highly off. Of course it it self-destructive to care about others. They teach us as children we will be nailed to a tree if we try to act nice.


In defense of selfishness, the Beats and the Hippies were the ultimate hedonists, but the kleptocrats make them look like decent folk.

In defense of selflessness, I have suspected many times this century that everything I was taught about the supremacy of the individual conscience and consciousness is crap, even tho I have lived by it. No man is an island, indeed, Robinson Crusoe is a myth.

But I have known many bomb-shelters and bank vaults, which are even more pathologically isolate than shipwreck.

And selflessness is truly not an accurate term for a spiritual state that expands the self to include all whom one encounters. If I am you and you are me and we are all together, where is selflessness?
"What's so Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding?"
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Re: Does one have the right to be selfish?

Postby Arouet » 22 May 2012, 06:27

Scepcop wrote:Question:

Does one have the right to be selfish?


How are you defining selfishness? And in what context?

Why does society act as though one were obligated to be unselfish?


Well, society is a mutually beneficial social contract. We have some obligations. And: context is important.

It's not possible to force someone to care about others if he doesn't right? Isn't this an unrealistic expectation?


Where does society force anyone to have gushy feelings about others?

Besides, isn't it wrong to force someone to compromise or sacrifice his interests, life, freedom, resources, needs, etc. for the benefit of others?


Context: short answer: it depends.

What if he doesn't want to? Why should he force himself to do something he doesn't want to do? Especially if these "others" don't include his friends or family.


Are you just talking about taxation? Or something else?


Isn't is self-destructive to be too selfless and only care about others but not about yourself? If so, why doesn't society consider that a bad thing too?


It's not a big poroblem for most.

Key point: If everyone wants you to do something that you don't, should you give in, or should you listen to yourself and be selfish?


And context - it depends on what you're talking about. But yes, you should pay your taxes or suffer the consequences.

Is one obligated to do something one doesn't want to do, just because everyone else says so?


Sometimes. And who is this "everyone"?
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