Do you think selfishness is more often a vice or virtue?
For example, if you were on a plane, would you risk blacking out to put an oxygen mask on your neighbor before putting one on yourself (what use would you be to others if you were blacked out in an emergency)? If you are poor, do you give every last dime to charity, rob a bank, or be prudent with what you have while working towards balance or abundance?
In some situations selfishness can bring benefits to you that can actually be used to help others. In other situations it can only bring grief. Many people believe that selfishness is a good thing and vice versa. What is your belief?
Selfishness in terms of self preservation is okay. As the example you give above where oxygen is required do you sort it out for yourself 1st or someone else? Clearly in that situation you have to do it yourself first then go sort out others.
However if that was the only oxygen mask and someone elderly required it more than you then you should be willing to share with that person so both of you can remain alive. If you were really selfish you wouldn't share. That kind of attitude is not conducive to a good society, hence the reason why our world is in the state that it is in today. Most people are far too selfish which is why we see the inequality that is on the rise.
Good points you make about looking after ourselves first in emergency situations. This is a key point in first aid training so we don't jeopardize our ability to help others.
Selfishness encompasses many things. If selfishness blinds us to the needs of others or allows us to use the kindness of others w/o gratitude, it is a vice. If it is used as self-determination to forge ahead in hard times or to enable one to make heart-wrenching though necessay decisions, then it could be considered an asset. I can't call it a "virtue." As a Christian I believe that what I have comes from God's grace, and that He will provide for me, so YES I would share my time and my resources directly w/ a person who is truly in need. (Taxes and charities skim too much off for administration and are less cost-effective for those of limited means.)
I agree that it's situation dependent and it's good to help those in need. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for some charities to take a huge helping or waste money on "marketing."
As a kid growing up we were taught that selfishness is just a bad trait all around . I still believe that today ! How in the world can it be a virtue ? Yet , today it has become a huge part of our culture , No , its a vice and like all vices it serves only to mantain the impression of self centeredness ! Unfortunately ......America today.
I believe selfishness is definitely a vice. Take for instance the scenario you used about the oxygen mask, you could share it by switching back and forth with the mask benefiting both of you. Having a kind heart and compassion for your fellow man is definitely a virtue. Just my opinion.
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