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Be a Selfish Person

Everyone despises a selfish person; it’s one of those lessons we learn early in life.  But how does one go about being unselfish?  Is it possible, or even desirable to be completely unselfish?  If not, then what constitues a healthy amount of selfishness?

The Give All

Let’s begin by trying to construct the perfectly selfless person.  This person goes out of their way to help others, always putting others’ needs above their own.  Everybody knows somebody like this.  We tend to love these people to bits, and sometimes wish they would save a little bit of themselves for themselves.  Sometimes we even feel bad for receiving so much from them for little or nothing in return.  We may even feel guilty for not being able to reciprocate to the same extent.

Is this type of person truly selfless, though?  Surely, the act of helping others gives this person a good feeling.  We may even consider them selfish for monopolizing all the giving.  In fact, we can always make the argument that no matter what a person does for somebody else, they are getting a good feeling out of it, building bridges for future reciprocation, and ultimately being selfish!

In order to be truly selfless, a person must think about what we traditionally know about selfless people, then do the complete opposite of that, negating any good feelings that they would have gotten by helping others.  Which brings us to the opposite of the give-all person.

The Take All

Consider the person who only looks out for themselves, and only helps others when it benefits them.  The take-all person is that selfish person we despise.  But if we think about it, they aren’t actually being selfish at all.  They are totally screwing themselves over by severing ties and getting everyone to hate them.  They are being more selfless than the give-all person.

Does this mean that we should become take-all people in order to uphold the ideal of selflessness?  That’s absurd and completely useless, but how do we solve this puzzle?  What do we actually mean by being unselfish?

The Virtue of Selfishness

Read it online here.

The Be All

The key is to differentiate between selfishness and Selfishness.  The self is the individual we think of in the everyday context.  The Self is harder to define, but is sometimes referred to as the God Self, True Self or Higher Self amongst many others.

We can make the analogy that the self is like the individual cells that make up our body and the Self is like the body as a whole.  The Self has a responsibility to take care of all the individual selves while each self takes part in creating the Self.  Individual selves are contained within the Self, but the Self is also contained within each self — each cell contains the DNA blueprint for the entire body.  From this analogy, we can see why neither being a give-all or a take-all works, and how we can solve the selfish/unselfish conundrum.

The give-all is being Selfish but not selfish.  The take-all is being selfish but not Selfish.

The analogy also sheds light on the cliché, “it’s a world of give and take”, which we agree to intuitively and almost immediately.  The cells in the body give and take resources from one another, all to better the body as a whole, in turn serving to protect the individual cells.

It’s not actually selfishness that we despise; it’s selfishness in the absence of Selfishness.  Selfishness on its own is no good either.  We must be simultaneously Selfish and selfish, to the fullest extent, and in the Truest sense.

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One Response to "Be a Selfish Person"

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