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Philosophy 101: Egoism

Updated on March 26, 2012
tHErEDpILL profile image

Alem is an Entrepreneur and Writer with an A.S. in Digital Film Making.

The philosophy behind Egoism is very interesting to me because in my opinion we all display some egoistic traits at some time in our lives, but the question that needs to be answered or proved by an Egoist is; are we always displaying these traits? Think about it, if we were always worried about feeding someone else we would never feed ourselves and therefore would die. So as I begin I will say that at least for now, I am a believer in the theory of Egoism.

It's funny that this is actually a philosophy. I thought I was forming my own theory about self interest until I found out about Egoism. Ever since I started taking care of myself at a young age I observed and processed certain things about the world and one thing that I noticed is that people seem to only be looking out for themselves even when they are helping others. It is because of what I have learned that I believe in Egoism. I sat down for awhile and tried to figure out a scenario where I could not come up with a plausible presumption of self interest, the result pushed me toward the theory even further. At this point I could probably come up with a realistic self interest theory about Mother Teresa if I did enough research on her.

Let's take it back to elementary my dear Watson. Remember back when you were a kid in school and you noticed that some of your friends began to spend less and less time with you in exchange for new friends? Those who oppose Egoism would simply chalk this up to growing pains, your friends get older and start to become 'interested' key word, in other things, things that maybe you are not interested in and the friendship fizzles. Hmm, what the Egoist will say is at a young age children are already displaying signs of Egoism. They will argue that the children dump old friends for new ones based on their self interest of wanting to be around the cooler kids, or in agreement with those who oppose, the child dumps their friend because they no longer share the same 'interests' anymore. Either way, is it not selfish to dump your friend for any reason other than them trying to hurt you? I think any other reason can be chalked up to Egoism.

To end my support for Egoism, I will go back even further, back into the baby days. Have you ever seen two babies play together with toys. When you watch this scenario you will see either two things happen;

1. One of the baby's will want to play with a toy that is currently being used by the other baby. The baby who wants the toy will try to get it from the other baby in which the baby with the wanted toy will either let the other baby know he/she is not getting that toy or the baby with the wanted toy will give it to the other baby in order to satisfy him/her.

2. The two babies will be playing with toys and one baby will realize how cool the toy he/she is playing with is and inform the other baby about it by handing it to him/her.

In both situations the baby sharing the toy could plausibly be motivated by self interest. In the first situation the baby might give up the toy just to make the other baby leave them alone or to keep them around, this satisfies a need. In the second situation the baby could be sharing his/her toy just to share the enjoyment of the toy, but don't be fooled here. The baby looking to share his/her enjoyment could be doing so in order to have someone else to have fun with, similar to people who entice other to get high with them because they do not enjoy getting high alone. Just some thoughts for the mind.


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    • tHErEDpILL profile image

      Alem Belton 4 years ago from New York

      Interesting. I understand your point if view and must agree. What u speak of is The Matrix (capsule within our own minds). The word "ego" just helps to better communicate, as we all as humans have based most of our communications on words. Thanks again for your perspective. Always appreciated.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Ego means different things to different people so your reaction to this hub will ultimately depend on the meaning you subscribe to egoism. I myself subscribe to the definition in the book A Course in Miracles and as such see ego as a necessary construct for any human being to have in order to live in this illusion we call reality. For me it is not a matter of choosing to have an ego rather than something we are conditioned to have. Everything we experience in this world is given meaning according to our ego which interprets everything and gives it meaning that is line with our subconscious belief system. In other words we make it all up in our heads and imagine that we are each separate entities experiencing an external world when all the while we are inside the capsule of our own minds! Thank you for writing on the topic and I look forward to reading more.

    • tHErEDpILL profile image

      Alem Belton 5 years ago from New York

      Glad to bring some philosophy to your reading Penny.

    • pennyofheaven profile image

      pennyofheaven 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Egoism is a fascinating topic! Makes sense.

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      Anish Patel 5 years ago

      My ego in this melodrama is not the same as my presumptions that I would live a long life for example. Even though my thought is that I want to be exalted or exonerated from a turbulent battle I would settle to get back to the basics of an alter-ego.