Jay Hova (jayhova) wrote,
Jay Hova
jayhova

Selfishness

It occurs to me that I have never really heard a good definition for the word selfish. Generally speaking it is accepted that interest in the self is the basis of selfishness and that in order to not be selfish one must balance selfishness with selflessness. The problem here is that this is an illusion in so far that selflessness is a thing which by it's nature cannot exist. As René Descartes said Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) we accept that the self is the origin of thought and therefore all motivations and their associated actions are a priori acts of self. Even if we accept that these "selfless acts" are actions that benefit others and not the self it is still the self that evaluates the worth of these actions and the self that accepts the benefits and costs based on that evaluation. If we accept these self-evident things as fact, as I feel any thinking person must, we can see that all acts originating with the self (as all acts do) are by definition selfish.

Because this is the case the term "selfish" loses meaning as it refers to all actions. As this is the case and because I would like to use a word that has meaning I am choosing tho use the word to describe a person who expects expects that others should be more generous with them than they are willing to be in return. That is to say that it is selfish to expect someone else to do for you and make efforts on your behalf unless you to are willing to do the same for them, To do so is to say that I am deserving of aid and comfort from you and you are not deserving of the same from me. To my mind it seems like this is what selfishness should be defined as.
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