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Are ALL humans naturally selfish?

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posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 03:50 PM
Selfish: devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

My question you believe every single human on this planet only does something to benefit themself; rather it could emotionally or physically (ex: have a good feeling of helping someone or making lots of money)?

If you think through every action someone makes there is a reason to it. I, for example, made this thread to see the opinions of those who agree/disagree with me - giving me a sense of satisfacation to read and see if I am not the only one who believes this.

Thankfully, I believe this world is filled with a good type of selfish people. A type that does "good deeds" which help someone else out also.

Thats just my thoughts on the subject - but bacck to my question, are ALL humans naturally selfish?

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 04:07 PM
I believe we are all naturally selfish. But that does not stop us doing things that benefit others aswell, or even instead of ourselves.

People have died to save other people lives....but it is in our nature to benefit ourselves first.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 04:45 PM
There are two different kinds of selfish.

The baby is 'selfish' in that it will require food and protection without being able to give anything in return. It cries and perishes without food or protection, but has no way to give thanks... it is 'selfish' because it doesn't understand beyond it's own self.

Then there is ego selfish which we learn at a later age. This is where we learn to steal and lie, it's also where our addictions and weaknesses come from. The ego causes all kinds of suffering through it's own selfishness - which is different from the baby who requires selfishness to survive.

The baby needs selfishness to survive. Natural selfishness
The ego needs to die to end suffering. Natural selflessness.

So we are going to naturally be selfish and someday, lose everything. Lose ourself. So nature works it out in the end

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 04:47 PM
Since we live in a community and not as individuals we can not be totally selfish. Even animals that live in a community are not totally selfish and do things that contribute to the whole while loosing something for them-self. Standing guard for predators when others eat - a good example on non-selfish behavior. Of course it is done with possible future personal benefits (or lack of punishment) in mind but still, this is not totally selfish act.
Or a person running into the fire to save someones child - he can die, but still does it. Also he might keep far back in mind possibility of a future benefits, but death is still much "heavier" as far as that individual existence is concerned.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 04:58 PM
Everyone is selfish. At the more primitive level we're concerned about getting our needs & wants fulfilled NOW (immediate gratification). At a more advanced level, we can understand how by being selfLESS and by being appreciative we can actually have a more fulfilling existence in the long run.

So yes I'd say we're naturally selfish. I'm not sure it's possible to NOT be selfish. Everyone seeks their own fulfillment in life one way or another.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 04:59 PM

Infants as young as 18 months show altruistic behaviour, suggesting humans have a natural tendency to be helpful, German researchers have discovered.
In experiments reported in the journal Science, toddlers helped strangers complete tasks such as stacking books.
Young chimps did the same, providing the first direct evidence of altruism in non-human primates.
Altruism may have evolved six million years ago in the common ancestor of chimps and humans, the study suggests.


We are taught (conditioned) to be selfish, as it serves the system we live under.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 05:05 PM
I think it stems back to the Homo Erectus stages, where primitive survival sets in when needs aren't met.

Everybodies needs are different. Really it balancing the Physical and non-physical worlds around us that interplay along with us.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 05:08 PM
reply to post by FritosBBQTwist

If by "selfish" you mean whether they have a strong self-preservation urge, then the answer is yes - and not only for humans. The same is true for everything that exists.

But if you mean "egotistical", then the answer is NO, regardless of what some people may tell you.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 05:10 PM
reply to post by FritosBBQTwist

Try to order a copy of A Guide to the Clinical Use of the 16 PF., by Karson and O'dell. (I'll try to do a posting soon describing it in detail).

These two psychologists worked for FAA and State Department. It breaks down human personality into opposing personality traits, like:

selfish..............vs giving
warm ..............vs cold
smart ............. vs dumb
strong ego ...... vs weak ego
dominating ...... vs submissive
impulsive......... vs careful
conforming .......vs nonconforming
danger-seeking..vs safety-minded
bold..................vs retiring
tender...............vs callous
suspicious..........vs trusting
imaginative .......vs dull
shrewd..............vs naive
guilty ................vs free
rebellious ..........vs accepting
independent ......vs dependent
compulsives ......vs not compulsive
anxious .............vs not anxious

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 05:31 PM
Inherently selfish possibly - however, this can be a positive thing as it aids survival. As Menguard touched upon, 250,000 years ago, early man's survival instinct was to group together and work as a collective in the company of danger. But they had little else to live for.

Modern society, however, is more aligned with a unitarist thinking; there are less people living in more houses, less time for family, more independance etc.

Selfishness, unfortunately is part of our post-modernist culture but not manifest as genetically negative in ALL.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 05:37 PM
There are always two forces at work: selfishness and altruism.

BOTH can be beneficial to the self.

A selfish act is often thought of as an act which benefits oneself but often at the expense of another. But there are plenty of "selfish" acts which hurt no one.

An altruistic act is often thought of as an act which benefits someone else at the expense of yourself. But, there are plenty of "altruistic" acts which cost nothing.

For example, a person could decide to "give up" short term gains for a long term gain far exceeding it. But for the time being, it is a "gift" to someone else.

Altruistic acts which benefit "selfishly":

Education of the public. It costs time and money now to educate, but further down the road, much greater possibilities are realized due to the enabling and application of talent. You can save your efforts and have a little more today, but you will lose all that COULD HAVE BEEN tomorrow by doing so.

Sacrifice of oneself for the greater good. You enhance your species survival rate if a decision is made to sacrifice yourself for the survival of many others.

Risking your life to save many others. The debt owed you by society is repaid by honoring you as a hero, and you are often protected and rewarded to a high degree compared to others who act more selfishly.

We all have programming and natural tendencies within us to operate on a COLLECTIVE level of survival in addition to an INDIVIDUAL level.

ALL species that work collectively toward a goal are more successful for having done so. The pool of all human talent, without manipulation or withholding for selfish reasons will result in freedoms, opportunity, and riches for all that far exceed what is attainable when too many individuals act too selfishly within the system.

Those monsters living in their ivory towers, however, are to preoccupied with the accouterments of their castles to notice that they're taking building materials out of their foundation. They are becoming top-heavy, swollen with greed and will soon topple over from the weight of their own ambition.

posted on Apr, 8 2008 @ 05:47 PM
It would also depend on how addictive a person is. Society itself has become very addictive. Another words, most of society wants to feel good most of the time and many will go to great extremes to avoid the negative.

If you have an addictive personality you will be primarily focused on self. If someone strokes you then that will be an inducer to include that person.

Codependency is an addiction to helping other people and it can be quite addictive. Often in the guise of "love" a person can sell their soul to help another and lose the ability to actually take care of one self and ones own family. Like a person who feels the need to save the world!

There is healthy boundaries and autonomy that can be considered selfish by some and then there is the person with no boundaries that can become a hindrance on others even a parasite.

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 07:26 AM
Human behaviour is purposeful

Yes, we are.

I don’t have any more to add, to do so would only waste mine and yours time for today.

Q: Why are reply's on ATS to long? Don't people have better things to do ..... like go for a walk in the sunshine?

I'm off to get a coffee and a nice sunny walk

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 07:28 AM
Everyone should be selfish. let me ask you this, would you like to share everything that you have? your wife, your money, your car? see my point?

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 07:42 AM
reply to post by jedimiller

All these things are obtained by a degree selfishness anyway so your question is basically void.

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 09:56 AM
all humans are indeed selfish, but the rub comes into that is selfishness a bad thing? I know many connotate it in a negative light, and while an over abundance of it can be a 'bad thing(tm)', overall, its a natural inborn trait in most all animals. Its called survival.

Despite what most will loudly proclaim, many are driven to charity to prop up their sense of self worth. How often do we see people use 'i give to charity' as a bludgeoning tool in arguments and justification for their stance being right?

Most all acts can be tied back to something to increase ones self, and anything else from it is more of a happy side benefit than anything else.

Most of the ones who protest this concept are usually just in deep self denial.

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 10:19 AM
I agree with coffinfeeder. lets say rich people who dedicate their lives maybe for cancer research are in fact doing this probably because they suffer from cancer or know somebody close to them who does.
further more, marriages or relationships in general are utterly based on selfishness and everyone can agree to that and i dont need to explain.

And yes im writing this because im selfish because we all are Solipsists.

[edit on 9-4-2008 by DuneKnight]

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 10:28 AM
Every creature on Earth is selfish.
But I think humans are supposed to be above animals.

posted on Apr, 9 2008 @ 10:38 AM
reply to post by ANOK

I also agree that it's because of the system we're under. Selfishness comes from a feeling and fear of lack of what we desire. In a different system there would be no need for selfishness. Selfishness always backfires in the end (you will never be happy), but that's food for a whole other thread.

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