This thread was inspired by an answer (answer 51) by illustrious hubber, Mr. John Holden, on the thread Republicanism vs Utopianism. Do YOU beieve that the nature of humans is selishness or cooperativeness towards his/her fellow humans? There are some proponents who assert that humans are selfish beings, only interested in pure self-interest and survival, seeing others as either pawns or competitors. However, there are those who believe that humans care about their fellow beings and want to cooperative to achieve common goals. What do YOU think?
Thank you Mr. Holden for inspiring this post.
This question means a lot to me. It is the basis of my social interaction.
I have traveled extensively. And I have been around awhile. And I have raised/raising a few children. I am a preacher man and what some would call an attorney. (though I no longer practice - I just play the games) I have represented and sat next to, for weeks, murderers and other worst scum. And I have been asked "Why should I go on living?".
I have seen a whole lot of hate and anger and self centered behavior. Truth is I have engaged in it. But here is an overwhelming truth.
There is much hate in many places and there is much self centered, "me" driven conduct going on most places.
However --- Everywhere in every being there is love.
Now I do not speak of a .0001% schizophrenic psychopath, but I do speak of real love which at the very least includes a cooperative nature. On cross examination I can find that beast known as cooperation in everyone. I cannot find self centered selfishness in everyone.
So we humans have selfishness in us, no doubt and everyone. But for many many people love overwhelms that and people look to each other for common ground and cooperation.
Economics proves my point. I belong to two co-ops. That is just illustrative. I shop for things I need and that is everywhere, everywhere in the world. And you cannot shop without co-operation, it would be impossible.
Travel: You could not even walk down a sidewalk or mall if people did not co-operate enough not to run into each other -- Freeways?
Selfishness is conflict and conflict exists. But everywhere including prisons and jungles man co-operates.
I would agree, but would add that cooperation is a learned behavior, not an instinctive one.
Your sidewalk example is a good one, but watch a 3 or 4 year old one day as they walk the sidewalk. Not a care for anyone else; no recognition that there is anyone else within 100 yards. The rest of us watch out for them, not the other way around.
We learn to cooperate in our own best interests.
Think of primitive man.
Would his greatest chance of survival have been to go it alone or would it have been in the company of others?
Absolutely in the company of others. It's why mankind, like some other animals, slowly evolved a need for others of the same species. IF the species can learn to cooperate it will have a better chance of survival; man can learn that necessary attribute and thus does so.
Other species, even those travelling in groups, do not cooperate to nearly the same extent. Lions, for instance, will hunt together but when the kill is made the alpha male takes over completely. Others will eat ONLY at his discretion, and there is no cooperation involved - just demonstration of power.
Human beings are selfish by nature, but there is being selfish for the right reasons and selfish for the wrong reasons. So called "selfless" people in society are in fact "selfish" too. It's human nature! What I mean by this is that they will always ask themselves before doing something (even if subconsciously), "What's in it for ME?"
For example: Mr. Smith will look after the garden for an elderly neighbour because it makes her happy. When he sees how happy his kind deed makes her that makes him feel good too. Mr. Smith likes feeling good which is why he does it. If he didn't get that 'feel good' feeling for looking after the old lady's garden, then he probably wouldn't bother.
This is an example of being selfish for the right reason.
In the aftermath of 9/11 there was a widely published photograph.
It depicted a fire fighter in one of the towers going upstairs against the flow of people leaving the building.
You could see the man's eyes clearly.
They did not speak of anticipation of reward for doing good.
They did not speak of anticipation of satisfaction.
They said only one thing and that was "this is the last thing I will ever do in my life".
Yes you are right to point out such an example, though I would think that people like the fire-fighter are perhaps the exception rather than the rule. As someone who's well travelled and gotten to meet all kinds of people from all walks of life over the decades, I still hold to my belief that we are all more selfish than we let on. After all, it's a flaw, and no one wants to admit to such. Like I say, there are right and wrong reasons for being selfish, and when the conscious or subconscious mind asks us "What's in it for me?", depending on how we react is a reflection of who we are.
There are some proponents who assert that humans are selfish beings, only interested in pure self-interest and survival, seeing others as either pawns or competitors. However, there are those who believe that humans care about their fellow beings and want to cooperative to achieve common goals. What do YOU think?
"concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one's own; unselfish." Dictionary
"placing concern with oneself or one's own interests above the well-being or interests of others. Selfishness is the opposite of altruism or selflessness; and has also been contrasted (as by C. S. Lewis) with self-centredness." Wikipedia
"The self is the subject of one's own experience of phenomena: perception, emotions, thoughts. In phenomenology, it is conceived as what experiences, and there isn't any experiencing without an experiencer, the self. The self is therefore an "immediate given", an intrinsic dimension of the fact of experiencing phenomena. In some other trends of philosophy, the self is instead seen as requiring a reflexive perception of oneself, the individual person, meaning the self in such a view is an object of consciousness."
It is obvious, one must confer with oneself FIRST in order to choose to be either selfish or selfless.
When one is able to take care of oneself, it FOLLOWS that one can take care of others.
After I know a thing is good, then I will want to share it.
It gives joy to share, to perform a noble duty, to take responsibility for one's actions and life and the lives as others as one sees fit, according to one's own choices and free-will orienting from
Being "preoccupied with oneself and one's affairs" (Dictionary) is another matter entirely. This preoccupation is deviated human behavior and not natural. It probably stems from being denied love, food and/or other necessary things in childhood. "Self-centered Adjective egocentric, egotistic, egotistical, egomaniacal, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-interested, self-serving; narcissistic, vain; inconsiderate, thoughtless; looking after number one." Thesaurus
"...one must confer with oneself"… Confer: Latin word literally meaning "bring together". What is being brought together? The Consciousness and the Self. Even altruistic acts are performed due to the benefits perceived by the Self.
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