Do you believe that people are instinctively selfish or instinctively generous?
I was wondering about that when it occurred to me that parents spend a great amount of time teaching their children to share. Curiosity about peoples opinions is driving this question.
From personal experience of my own character and by observing my children, it seems to me that people are instinctively shellfish. However, this is no different from the animal kingdom where animals compete for survival. For us to not be shellfish requires a choice and a conscious effort.
I like the question.
I think instinctively we are generous but our ego takes over and Mr/Ms Selfish runs the show at times.
If you examine your feelings when you are being selfish I don't believe they are feelings that are for the good of the herd; they are precisely about the self with no concern for anyone else. This makes me think that selfishness is not a survival instinct, however generosity is something that makes us feel good and generates goodwill that ultimately leads to the survival of species.
Selfish. However, if you look at it from a purely 'survival' of a person point of view it makes sense. Take away all the modern schools of thought that we MUST be generous, and the socially niceties, and look at it again.
If it was going to save your life, and you had no hope without it - would you give to another? Base instincts say "NO!!!". Our social conscious may wish to shout something different.
Sure I'd like to live my life as a generous person, and strive to do so, and most people I know are the same...but, basic instincts are there for a reason.
But what are the basic instincts? Are you saying that we are basically selfish and hateful, greedy and insular? Or do we crave something else?
Basically selfish. If it risks us, we'll always go for the least risky to us option. Self preservation. Etc
We know that many a mother, animal or human, will put their lives on the line to save their young children - is that a selfish basic instinct? We know that real heros will often do the same. Some people do give their lives that others might live.
That is true - but rare. MOST would say they would but when the time came - would they? I know I think I would do it for my kids etc - that's about self preservation though - they are a continuation of ourselves. I don't lk that we r selfish but we r
If humans were "instinctively" generous, or able & willing to "share".....NONE of us would find it NECESSARY to begin at age 2, to begin to teach children to do precisely that....SHARE.
I think we are instinctively more selfish than generous. I believe we all had to learn to share from our parent(s) and within our early environments...
I think there is a difference between sharing and generosity. While small children have difficulty sharing their toys, if they have a bagful of candy they are likely to give some to their friends and be generous. I like to believe we are instinctively generous and will give to others as we are able...maybe not selfless, but generous.
and I think you're right, Til...there is a difference between sharing and generosity.....thanks for pointing this out to me.....and I'd like to say one more thing. If my grandchildren have a bag of candy...they didn't get it from ME! Honest.
Effer, I wonder where they DID get the candy
NO. People are not instinctively selfish or generous. These are learned responses of the individual that begins when they are a child. The learning starts as the newborn begins to observe the actions of others. They then learn selfishness or generosity.
Great question leroy - makes you ponder. Personally I believe most all children are selfish - they learn sharing from their parents. As adults we are selfish on occasion as well as generous on occasion. Our instincts change with the situation.
You may not remember and older term . "The silent moral majority " , used to discribe Americans in the background doing things ,so to speak , We are far more instinctivly generous than selfish !
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