Are humans naturally selfish?

Non-MBTI psychology topics, mental disorders, human nature...
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Pam
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Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by Pam » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:52 pm

I've seen this statement on some forums and pretty good arguments backing it up. Sure there are people who sacrifice themselves for others, people who do good stuff every day, but even they do it because it makes THEM feel good.
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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by sometimesclever » Sun Dec 05, 2010 8:33 am

Well, I'll toss out a theory I guess. I think that yes, humans are naturally selfish. Luckily for us, humans aren't often very natural anymore.

I think that we started off caring only about ourselves, and then (through the course of history) we started to care about our group, and then our tribe, etc, etc, growing up into Nationalism where everyone was like "my country is so great! Even though the only thing separating me from another country is an arbitrary boundary set up by someone else!" but it was a positive experience because then people got to feel like they belonged to something larger than themselves.

And, I think that, with the world technologically bringing us closer to each other day by day, our sphere of selfishness starts to cover more and more. Now, you're not just Irish; you're part of the EU. You're not just part of the EU - you're a global citizen. That sort of thing. Which is awesome I think, because that would eventually eliminate the "us" vs. "them" attitude and make humans as a society a little less selfish.

...unless we're talking about chocolate. Or smoothies in my case; I love a good smoothie (so, you're gonna have to...um....get your own, cause....I ain't sharin'.)

*slurp* :)

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Phil
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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by Phil » Mon Dec 06, 2010 8:21 pm

Why care of their motivation? So long as it results in them doing good, I couldn't care less.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by sometimesclever » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:05 am

The ol' "ends justify the means" argument? Ehh, I don't know. Sometimes it works, but sometimes there are some really messed up means, lol.

But yeah, I do agree that doing good is definitely a good starting point (well, ending point), at least.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by Phil » Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:46 am

That's not really my argument.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by boredToDeath » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:22 pm

By ANIMAL nature, humans are selfish.
But by HUMAN nature, we are not.

At least I think so :/
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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by BabyDragon » Thu Dec 16, 2010 10:38 pm

I think all humans are ultimately selfish but that doesn't make them all bad. And some are obviously less selfish than others.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by the boss » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:13 am

No, I think that is a very simplistic view. The truth that I see for myself is much more beautiful than that. All of us are always in a state of balance. All of us are always in a state of balance between the light and dark forces within us. I'll give you an example. I'm a good person. I am understanding, compassionate, I am completely accepting of other people. I would never hurt a fly. I am empathic and feel for people. I have cried for humankind as a whole in the past.

BUT

The exact opposite of that exists within me also. The Shadow function, my "inner beast". I have fought it for a great deal in my life. Images of sadism, cruelty, power tortured my soul for many years.

And you cannot fight yourself. You cannot suppress parts of yourself over extended periods of time. You suffer while you do, and eventually the shadow will take take control.

So, I find balance by living both sides of that equation. I am the good person. And I am the cruel person, but I found a way to incorporate this aspect in a way that makes people feel happy, and better about themselves. And I also use it now when I need to assert myself, and protect myself. I bare my metaphorical teeth and the inner beast rises, my blood turns into ice water, my stance changes, my voice changes, my eyes change. On all channels I communicate that I am not to be fucked with. Excuse my French. All empathy falls away, all compassion falls away, and I am ready to do "battle", rather than flee into the resignation I have known too long, too well.

When you lean too far into one direction in your life the Shadow rises and will, sometimes explosively, and violently, pull you back towards a center.

The inner wisdom around homeostasis that is in all of us is amazing. We must just learn to listen.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by morningsea » Sun Sep 25, 2011 9:31 pm

I think that they are from what I witnessed, some in very small and some in very annoying amounts. Nobody is free from this (id we all have it, but not all of us allow it to rule our lives), it does have connection with our survival instinct. However, some are capable of giving their lives for their friends - of extreme self-sacrifice and bravery. I know that some animals are less selfish than some people. There is a definite battle between selfish -for me and unselfish - for others, and humans being social beings and having more than a reptilian part of the brain are capable to diminish for me set of mind for the sake of others.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by bluehairednemo » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:20 am

No, I think that being selfish is a cultural construct created by a dominant culture's insistent emphasis upon individualism.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by blue stone » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:31 am

I do think I am naturally selfish in many ways, but there are also ways in which I have a natural desire to assist, encourage, and nurture people. But as you said, this is usually because it makes me feel good.

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Re: Are humans naturally selfish?

Post by Nihon » Wed Jan 09, 2013 9:45 pm

Pam wrote:I've seen this statement on some forums and pretty good arguments backing it up. Sure there are people who sacrifice themselves for others, people who do good stuff every day, but even they do it because it makes THEM feel good.
Yeah, but whether you're called that and whether people consider you to be that way is based on where your selfishness is directed. If you're only selfish when it comes to wanting to fulfill your needs, then people will consider you selfish, but if you're only selfish when it comes to wanting to fulfill other people's needs, then they'll see you as generous. Of course, things can get really confusing sometimes when lines are blurred and such. I personally still don't know if I'm the good kind of selfish or not. I want to be the good kind, but I'm always worried that I'm not being nice enough.

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