Do you think selfishness is more often a vice or virtue?

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  1. Express10 profile image85
    Express10posted 10 years ago

    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?

  2. Zubair Ahmed profile image73
    Zubair Ahmedposted 10 years ago

    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.

    1. Express10 profile image85
      Express10posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      When I was in high school, I didn't even see half of the nonsense I see around me now. So little respect and consideration only serves to anger and divide people.

  3. cat on a soapbox profile image96
    cat on a soapboxposted 10 years ago

    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.)

    1. Express10 profile image85
      Express10posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      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."

    2. cat on a soapbox profile image96
      cat on a soapboxposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you!

  4. profile image0
    ahorsebackposted 10 years ago

    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.

    1. Express10 profile image85
      Express10posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I dislike when I come across people who are very self centered as well. It is a large and unfortunate part of our culture. On the flip side, I don't see valid reason for people to be overly kind and giving when they are being used or abused.

  5. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 10 years ago

    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.

    1. Express10 profile image85
      Express10posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I agree that having a kind heart and compassion for your fellow man is a virtue and also think it's fine in a small number of  situations to focus on your needs first to then be able to better help those around you.

  6. gmwilliams profile image85
    gmwilliamsposted 7 months ago

    It used to be taught that selfishness was abhorrent while being selfless was virtuous.  However, selfishness is normal.  Selfish people are happier.  They are less likely to be taken advantage of.  Selfish people aren't afraid to voice their needs & establish boundaries.  They are less likely to be abused by others.  They are also respected by others.  Selfish people are so much smarter.  They are also more successful in life.

    Selfishness isn't a bad thing.  When people know that you are selfish, they won't take advantage of you.  In fact, they will respect you so much more than they do a selfless person who they consider an easy mark.  Selfish people are not marks.  There is a saying to tread lightly.  Selfish people aren't people to take lightly.  Children who are selfish are less likely to be bullied & taken advantage of.   Remember the saying that nice people finish last.  That's the selfless person- they are doormats who are disrespected by others.  It is FAR BETTER to be selfish than selfless. Selfless people are seen as suckers & tend to be used, even abused by others.

    1. AliciaC profile image95
      AliciaCposted 7 months agoin reply to this

      I disagree. There are times when selfishness is appropriate, but there are many times when selflessness is more important. I don’t believe that we can make a blanket statement about either behavior. It depends on the situation.


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