Don't Sacrifice Yourself For Me. . .
Is It Evil To Be Selfish?
- Glorifying sacrifice has made us foolish. . .
I believe that currently the world is being heavily misguided down a path of pseudo intellectualism that values the notions of altruism and sacrifice so much to the extreme that people may one day find themselves awakened to the existence of slavery. If everyone followed the belief in sacrificing their own well being for others, then the end result would be that simply everyone becomes sacrificed for sacrificial sake. We would all end up deprived, desolate, possibly enslaved, and eventually dead.
People are afraid to ask; "what do I want?" That's perceived as selfish. People no longer take any time to contemplate and evaluate their own minds and themselves. They have no "me time" anymore. I'm afraid to say, but many down time hours of self-reflection and indulgence are necessary if we wish to have an educated and productive society. By this I mean hard self-reflection and play time, not the passive type most experience by watching television. "Work hard, play hard" here being the motto. I see a lot of work hard in our society, but not a lot of play hard, and most of the work hard is resources and energy put towards pleasing other people. I would go on to classify it as a psychotic disorder where the individual slowly cannibalizes himself or herself.
We're misled and pressurized from society to steer away from our own perceived selfish thoughts in many regards. The first myth is that desired selfishness is the "easy path." The belief here is that selfish thinking processes are short term, impulsive, and impatient. This couldn't be further from the truth. Deciding what you want out of life: Your goals, your ambitions, your decisions, your likes and dislikes, your beliefs, your values, etc. is a monumental task. Figuring out how exactly you'll go about achieving such visions is a daunting task. Weighing the different levels of risk you have to take is enough to make your head spin. Actually taking action upon these thoughts is most often a seemingly impossible task. What is now perceived as "selfishness" is in fact incredibly difficult.
The second myth is that such selfish thinking processes are harmful to others. This is fear mongering perpetuated by people who lack genuine confidence to make ethical and productive decisions. By thinking and acting upon your own self interests, provided you’re intelligent and thoughtful in how you conduct yourself, you elect to neither harm nor benefit another. Your actions are essentially as neutral as taking a shower or a bath everyday. There is no evil in simply going about your business. I could make an argument the world as we know it would be a much better place if we all mind our own business.
But wouldn't robbing a bank or killing a rival be in my own self-interest? If I act within my own self interest, then surely I would commit many such evil deeds? No, you wouldn't, because such actions wouldn't be in your own self-interest. For starters, the chances of you robbing a bank and not getting caught are close to zero. You put yourself in serious jeopardy of losing your freedom. You'll need to decide if the quick thrill and spending spree of robbing a bank is a decent risk in exchange for the real possibility of ending up in jail. As for murdering a rival this isn’t in your own best interest. Nobody lives in a vacuum. His family will most likely seek revenge and try to have you killed. Yes, you may have eliminated your enemy, but in so doing you have eliminated yourself. In the end you lose.
The third myth is that acting upon your own benefits is selfish to begin with. No, what's incredibly selfish is the belief that just because you're optimistic, kind-hearted, and giving you have the answers for what is best to help the world and save people. If you were dying, would you accept open heart surgery from that guy who is well meaning or that disgruntled doctor who's just in it for the money? My guess is you would choose the disgruntled and selfish doctor. His motivations matter not, he did save your life, did he? Chances are the well meaning fellow would have just made your condition worse, or even fatal.
The facts of the matter are by working to better yourself, benefit yourself, and enhance yourself; you'll inadvertently be better capable of helping others, whether you desire to do so or not. While at first choosing this path may seem incredibly selfish, isolated, and self-absorbed, given time people will come to appreciate what you have to offer, but you must give it time. In the mean time, you must resist the temptation others put on you to move towards other "unselfish" endeavors. You must work on yourself, and make yourself the best you can be, before you should even dare contemplate helping others. Only through accepting personal responsibility, and having a constant desire to enrich yourself, can you have the "super powers" to make a difference in not only your life, but the life of others.
-Donovan D. Westhaver
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