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Is selfishness possibly the worst human trait?

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It's either selfishness, or repetitive posting of dull weather preferences in the status updates.

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I think selfishness has been hard wired into our core instincts since the dawn of time because it was necessary for survival in the times of our hunter/gathering, yet at the same time we developed the use of our noddle which told us that we would achieve far more through co-operation, so we end up with the situation as we have it today with most people utilising their most basic instincts with their higher callings and depending on the circumstances, mood, temperament and conditioning, each getting ascendency at times.

 

It has multiples guises from kids fighting over each others toys to the utter depravity of some seeking self gratification at the expense of others, sometimes fatally. If you think about it all the evils of the world do stem from selfishness and if it weren't for this trait we would all be living in Shangri La.

 

There's nowt so queer as folk.

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Acting in ones self interest can be a great motivator. 

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Acting in ones self interest can be a great motivator.

indeed it is ,works for me :)...ps I am increadably selfish btw ..

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yes that and jealousy. That can be held responsible for a lot of things too.

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Selfishness is incredibly natural, it is how we survive. Some selfishness can be good and motivating, too much is obviously a bad thing.

 

I think a worse human trait is self importance, we all think we are a lot more important than we really are which in turn leads to ugly traits such as arrogance, lying, cheating, selfishness etc.

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"Selection has favoured genes that cooperate with others. In the fierce competition for scarce resources...there must have been a premium on central coordination rather than anarchy within the communal body." — Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 47

 

"The best strategy for an individual depends upon what the majority of the population are doing. Since the rest of the population consists of individuals, each one trying to maximize his own success, the only strategy that persists will be one which, once evolved, cannot be bettered by any deviant individual." — Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, p. 69    

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Selfish_Gene

 

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I can't abide Dawkins for his arrogance, which is a shame because he makes some great points.

 

I think a clever trait we have evolved is 'hidden' selfishness i.e. the ability to be incredibly selfish and self -serving but manipulative enough to make it seem to others that you're incredibly altruistic. Interestingly some animals also have this trait or seem to be developing it. For example chimps sharing their food amongst their mates (making the others think they are generous and kind), whilst keeping a much bigger portion for themselves, unbeknownst to the others.

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The selfish gene at work?

 

I've read some of his books and he doesn't come across as arrogant to me; just a very accomplished evolutionary biologist.

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The selfish gene at work?

 

Quite.

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Would be far nicer if those living in abject poverty, starving and desperate were not. Funny really, we have such a vast planet with all the resources we could need, and if not, could make it happen with a little goodwill and effort to help support those forgotten about or fallen on the way side. 

 

How many millions if not billions of people, who given a little help, could become more active members in society, both financially and in other ways? this planet sure does need some balance right now and the likelihood of a perfect one currently looking quite slim. It never shall be truth be known but we can but try. How some people can have or acquire vast fortunes, in some cases the equivalent of millions even billions of pounds, to the point they cannot or will not ever be able to spend it all in their lifetimes. Still living in the lap of luxury, fair enough many would say - Whilst another fair proportion are poverty stricken, starving or on the brink.

 

We need armies of philanthropists not soldiers or the equivalent freedom fighters. Or, whereby success driven multi-corporations or large businesses gain more moral standing and maybe just maybe begin to part with some of their profits. Build a few schools perhaps, hospitals, help with infrastructure, list is long. To a greater degree they do via taxes etc but imagine the extra support they could gain, simply by doing it without wanting anything in return? 

 

We can but dream  :)

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yes that and jealousy. That can be held responsible for a lot of things too.

 

What is the opposite to jealousy?  :)

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To be fair a lot of the big corporations and people do give back a lot in charity. Virgin Group for example do a huge amount for marine conservation and the rainforest. They have built hundreds of schools, medical clinics and staffed them for life and sewage and clean water systems. Granted some are better than others, but it's a fallacy that the 'big guys' don't give back in more than just taxes.

 

Indeed if I am ever lucky enough to have a large fortune, I fully intend to give back.

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What is the opposite to jealousy?  :)

world peace and good will to all .. :wink:

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To be fair a lot of the big corporations and people do give back a lot in charity. Virgin Group for example do a huge amount for marine conservation and the rainforest. They have built hundreds of schools, medical clinics and staffed them for life and sewage and clean water systems. Granted some are better than others, but it's a fallacy that the 'big guys' don't give back in more than just taxes.

 

Indeed if I am ever lucky enough to have a large fortune, I fully intend to give back.

 

Yes there are some who go beyond the usual calls of duty, makes for some rather good advertising too if you ask me. We need more of them.

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