Is egoism good for man? It is certainly useful and even necessary, but not in all its manifestations. Egoism can be rational or, as is customary to say, healthy, and it can be so rude, uncouth and primitive that it disgusts people. Moreover, all people are selfish. It’s just that some of them skillfully disguise their egoism, while others do not know how to do this, therefore they behave arrogantly and arrogantly, which they deserve to be treated accordingly. In general, to think first of all about yourself and your interests is an absolutely normal desire and desire for a healthy person. But in order to properly relate to this manifestation of human nature, one must well understand the meaning of egoism. In this article we will deal with this – we will study egoism in order to properly understand it.
What is egoism?
Selfishness is the preference of one’s personal interests for the interests of others. We can also say that egoism is selfishness. Personally, I understand egoism, as a person’s desire to always do everything only for himself, without thinking about the desires, interests, needs and feelings of other people. A pronounced egoist is a kind of vacuum cleaner that sucks everything into itself, but gives nothing in return.
Egoism is reasonable and the way most people imagine it, let’s call such egoism – primitive egoism. Primitive egoism is immediately visible – the person demonstrating it explicitly ignores the interests of others, always rows everything for himself, does not consider anyone, thinks of anyone, often adheres to a narcissistic model of behavior. It is unpleasant to be with such people, it is very difficult to cooperate with them, they sometimes cause severe irritation. Most often, only those who do not have self-esteem communicate with them and therefore they allow themselves to be used. And self-respecting people, as a rule, shun pronounced egoists, since they see no reason for themselves in communicating with them, unless such communication is beneficial to them.
Primitive egoism is, in my understanding, childish egoism, since it is inherent in psychologically and intellectually immature individuals. Such people are often absolutely unable to analyze their behavior and look at themselves from the outside. They openly strive to satisfy their desires and needs at the expense of other people, not thinking about how it looks in the eyes of others. And sometimes they are sincerely surprised at people’s discontent over their overly selfish behavior, which they themselves seem quite normal. Sometimes there are egoists spoiled by their parents who are firmly convinced that those around them should do everything for their happiness. And if this does not happen, then they fall into either depression or rage.
How do people become so selfish? Yes, very simple – they are born by them. Imagine a baby who is completely helpless and unable to take care of himself. He needs adult help in order to survive. When he needs something, he cries, thus attracting the attention of adults. We can say that he is an egoist, thinking only of himself. And he is like that because he has to think about himself in order to survive, and he is not capable of thinking about others. Growing up, the child becomes more independent and if he is brought up correctly, he develops his independence, reducing his dependence on other people. Thus, up to a certain age, a person is forced to think mainly about himself, otherwise he simply will not be able to satisfy his basic needs. So we think about ourselves because we are not strong enough and smart enough to think about others.
Developing, a person develops his own egoism, which is becoming less and less obvious and more sophisticated. In adulthood, no one is in a hurry to satisfy the desires and needs of other people, without any special need. Therefore, capricious and arrogant behavior in it is often ineffective, and sometimes very harmful. As a result, a person’s selfishness is modified – it becomes more sophisticated and thoughtful, unless, of course, the person becomes smarter, and does not get stuck in his development at the teenage stage.
Sophisticated egoism is not explicit, hidden egoism, when a person does not show to others that he wants to do well for himself – he shows that he wants to do well for others, that he cares about everyone, and not just about himself. People like this, so they are more willing to cooperate with such a person and help him achieve their goals. But selfishness is thoughtful when a person understands that in order to do well for himself, he needs to think about other people. For without caring for others, it is impossible to properly take care of yourself. We are all dependent on each other, therefore, even if we do not want to, we are forced to help each other. As a result, the egoist must think about the interests of the people around him in order to act according to the formula: you to me – I to you. Then he gains many friends, allies, partners, with the help of which he improves his life,
And in an even more mature form, egoism passes into deliberate altruism, this is when a person matures in order not only to take, but also to give. This makes it even stronger, because giving [competently giving], we get more. The formula is very complicated, I will write about it separately separately, but the point is that the strength of a person increases, as his area of responsibility expands. The ability to give and care for other people is a necessary quality for a good parent and for a leader who, by definition, should be responsible for other people, who in turn can endow him with great power and power. Therefore, a truly strong person simply cannot be a petty egoist for whom other people’s interests have no meaning. Imagine a leader of an ancient tribe who thinks only of himself. With such a leader, the tribe may perish, since there will be no one to take care of him, which means that the leader will lose his power. Or imagine parents who think only of themselves and do not think about their child at all. You understand what this is fraught with. Therefore, not every person is suitable for the role of a leader and for the role of a parent.
This is how selfishness becomes rational. It develops with man. The smarter and stronger a person becomes, the more reasonable his egoism becomes. And the more reasonable the person’s egoism becomes, the more powerful the person becomes.
People who adhere to reasonable selfishness, either always seek cooperation with other people, or try to outwit them in order to achieve their goal. But they never speak openly about their desires, do not behave impudently with those who are stronger than them, do not act up, and do not complain if someone does not fulfill their wishes. They are looking for workarounds to their goals, demonstrating to others around the behavior that they, others, like. Where did you see a politician who would tell everyone that he seeks power in order to improve his life, and not make it better for all people? One must be a complete nerd in order to so express his desires. Reasonable egoists achieve their goals much more often than those who, guided by primitive egoism rushing ahead, trying to satisfy their needs and desires. Intelligent behavior is complicated behavior, whose meaning is not always obvious. Therefore, it is more effective.
The meaning of selfishness
A person must be selfish, whether he wants it or not. Even though living in a society, it is important to be able to cooperate with other people, for which it is necessary to take into account their interests, their interests should be higher than public in the vast majority of cases. You can sacrifice your interests only in those cases when it comes to the lives of children – our future, or the survival of mankind as a species. But in the vast majority of everyday situations, thinking about others, to the detriment of one’s interests, makes no sense. Our whole life a little less than completely consists of a constant clash of different interests. We all want something and often our desires do not coincide with the desires of other people. Therefore, we have to somehow negotiate with them or compete, compete, quarrel in order to survive and succeed in something. We know perfectly well that all people cannot be rich or have power and even cannot have the same standard of living. There will always be those who have more and who have more rights. People are unequal and cannot be equal, this contradicts the principle of the natural hierarchy, in which the strong live at the expense of the weak and use it for their own purposes. In nature, the strong eats the weak, simply because nature is so arranged.
So living in such a world, in such conditions, relying on the fact that people will think more about you than about themselves means completely not understanding life and people.
I am sure that people can come to care for others only through taking care of themselves. This is in addition to those cases when it makes sense to sacrifice yourself and your interests, for the future of the people you love or humanity as a whole. And in everyday life, when a person does not have such a responsible choice, he needs to think primarily about himself and, through the pursuit of his interests, learn to take into account the interests of other people.
So, the meaning of egoism is that a person, pursuing his interests, at a certain stage of his development, begins to take into account the interests of other people. And not just take into account, but respond effectively to them. He can do it the better, the stronger he will be. Because a strong person can take care of himself, which in any case needs to be done and at the same time his abilities allow him to extend his care to others. A strong person can give other people a lot to get even more in return. And what can a weak person give to other people who is not even able to take care of himself? Can he become a strong leader or a good parent? Generally not. However, many weak people neglect their interests, for the sake of the interests of others, thereby showing that they are not selfish. Why are they doing this? They seek to help [they seek, but they don’t always help] others, not because they are not selfish, but because they themselves need the help of other people, and to a much greater extent. They sacrifice their interests for their own good, and not for the good of others. Giving something to others, they expect to receive in return more than they gave, intuitively relying on the rule of mutual exchange. Therefore, their altruism is only a special form of egoism, as one of the strategies for survival.
Selfishness and Success
There is an opinion that egoism is necessary for success, for the sake of which one sometimes has to go over the head, thinking only of one’s own profit and not reckoning with anyone. This is too crude an understanding of the benefits of selfishness. Indeed, selfish people [and we are all moderately or without measure selfish] often succeed – by substituting, betraying, using, deceiving other people, including those whom they knew well and who unconditionally trusted them. Meanness and treachery have always taken place in human society and there is undoubtedly a benefit from them. But do not blame everything on selfishness. To walk on the same heads, you yourself need to have a head on your shoulders, which tells the egoist different ways to achieve his goals, and does not call him, as a primitive egoist – an aggressive insolent, being at the very bottom, spit on everyone and not to reckon with anyone. Often about the cunning, meanness, cunning and selfishness of a person who used others to achieve success, we learn when he has already achieved this success and is too late to try to prevent it. Up to this point, such an egotist can behave very nicely, so that no one will ever think that this kind-hearted person is able to substitute, use, deceive, betray, for the sake of his selfish goals.
Some people, for example, bandits or fraudsters, express their egoism with the help of aggression, assertiveness, courage [often this is an unjustified risk], arrogance, cunning, manipulation. It is these qualities, and not in itself a selfish attitude that can allow them to succeed in their affairs. But this success is not always stable. The bandits, who are often secretly admired by the uneducated part of the population, expose themselves to unjustified risk in order to gain some resources and power. They act the way they do, simply because they don’t know other, more sophisticated and less life-threatening methods of success. They are no more selfish than, say, politicians who care about the public good, their egoism is simply expressed in the form of pronounced violence, and not in the form of a cunning thoroughly confused to understand. Being a gangster is dangerous, we all know so such a life as the bandits live has a price. Fraudsters, in spite of their ability to hide their true intentions, nevertheless often give themselves away by saying that the truth about their fraud is revealed to the victims too quickly. This is because most fraudsters are short-sighted, they proceed from short-term interests when they satisfy their selfish needs at the expense of other people – their victims. And therefore, they are often punished by society for their deeds. So selfishness expressed in this way is not particularly useful. The success to which he is able to lead a person may not be long. that the truth about their fraud is being revealed to victims too quickly. This is because most fraudsters are short-sighted, they come from short-term interests when they satisfy their selfish needs at the expense of other people – their victims. And therefore, they are often punished by society for their deeds. So selfishness expressed in this way is not particularly useful. The success to which he is able to lead a person may not be long. that the truth about their fraud is being revealed to victims too quickly. This is because most fraudsters are short-sighted, they proceed from short-term interests when they satisfy their selfish needs at the expense of other people – their victims. And therefore, they are often punished by society for their deeds. So selfishness expressed in this way is not particularly useful. The success to which he is able to lead a person may not be long.
To achieve serious, stable success, it is necessary, even if you do not want to, to observe the interests of other people. One is not a warrior in the field, but in order to have allies, one must be able to involve other people in their own affairs, which can only be done if you are interested in something with them. Rowing only for yourself and not reckoning with anyone, you are more likely to make enemies for yourself, which at any opportunity will tear you apart. The egoist who betrayed everyone, framed, deceived, used to succeed in something, is like Damocles, over whose head a sword on a horsehair weighs. Like any tyrant, he can at any moment become a victim of those on whose head he walked and those who hate him for it.
It is much more profitable to pursue your selfish interests by collaborating with many people on different conditions. This is the best way to achieve your goals. The most successful people in the world are not selfish loners who don’t give a damn about everyone, but good sellers, competent diplomats, reliable partners and generous virtues who know that in order to succeed you need to be able to share with others. No violence and no audacity will allow you to get the same returns from people that you can get from working with them. Sometimes, however, this can be done with the help of deception and manipulation, but then it should be such a deception that will not be revealed for a long time and from which many, and not only the deceiver, will benefit. So you need to mask your egoism and clothe it in a human form, so as not to cause people to resist their desire to achieve something. No rational egoist acts alone, betraying and substituting everyone in a row. Even if he is not going to take into account the interests of all people, wanting to achieve something that, for obvious reasons, cannot be done, then he at least has allies and friends with whom he takes into account to a certain extent and whose interests he takes into account no less than his own, for he understands that without this he cannot count on their help, support and devotion.
We summarize. All people are selfish. For all, egoism manifests itself in different ways, depending on the level of development of a particular person. The simpler the person, the more primitive his egoism. Smart egoists never stick out their egoism, showing everyone their neglect of the interests of others. On the contrary, they focus on the interests of other people, seeking to advance their interests. This allows them to enlist the support of others in achieving their goals.
Egoism in a mature form becomes altruism. Strong people take into account the interests of others because they can afford it. They do it disinterestedly. It’s just that they are strong and smart enough to think not only about themselves, but also others and get even more benefit from it. Both responsible, loving, caring parents, and true leaders are people whose selfishness has developed so much that now they want and can not only take, but also give. And giving, they receive many times more.
Some weak people tend to help others because they themselves need help. They are egoists, although they behave altruistically, just their survival and achievement of their goals is based on sacrificing their interests for the sake of others, counting on their help in return, which weak people really need. And if you don’t understand what the interest of another person is, who is supposedly doing something for you unselfishly, then the whole point is your misunderstanding of his true intentions, and not his lack of selfish impulses as such. True, sometimes some people, trying to please others, do not understand why they do this, because they do not realize their motives and in some cases cannot control them. This is a separate topic, which we will definitely discuss. It’s important to understand that egoism is part of our nature. Being selfish is normal. Only the form of expression of egoism from the point of view of its effectiveness can be abnormal.
There are still fanatics who can be altruists for some of their beliefs. I did not touch on them in this article, since this is also a separate topic. However, I want to note that some people’s faith in certain things can be so strong that they can suppress their innate egoism to the detriment of their interests, and sometimes to the detriment of their life, simply because they consider it right. To some extent, these people are also selfish, because they do something because they consider it right for themselves. It’s just that their egoism may not meet their real interests, it will only amuse their self-conceit and indulge their erroneous beliefs.
And the most important. In order to achieve your goals in the best way, it is important to be able to mask your egoism under altruistic intentions and take into account the interests of as many people as possible, especially strong people, whose help and support can be especially useful to you. So your opportunities will expand significantly. Even if you are not one of the strong people who can take care not only of themselves, but also of others, which allows you to gain power, try to at least behave as if you think about the interests of others, at least as much as your own . Remember that you are not interested in anyone with your desires, interests and needs. People think mainly about themselves, which is natural. So they will meet you only if you are interested in something, if you involve them in your plans by showing them
A primitive egoist who does not think about anyone and who does not care at all is a loner who, at best, will achieve short-term insignificant success with the help of arrogance, treachery, deceit and violence. And this success will be shorter the less people will be involved in it. And all because in this world you need to be able to share in order to have more friends and allies, rather than enemies and envious ones. That is why a rational egoist is a true leader and a good strategist who succeeds by working with other people whose interests he takes into account [to a certain extent] in order to gain their support and devotion. Of course, his own interests are more important for him than the interests of other people, otherwise he would not have been an egoist. However, he skillfully hides it. Such a person succeeds seriously and for a long time.