Why Selfish? Selfishness Is The Driving Force Of Life - Eastern Mirror
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Why Selfish? Selfishness is the Driving Force of Life

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By EMN Updated: Mar 08, 2024 12:11 am

Innately selfish, humans are a manifestation of self-interest itself. From birth, individuals navigate life’s complexities, maturing and advancing with each passing day. Yet, as age sets in, strength wanes. Faced with the inevitability of aging, humans seek companionship, forming families to secure their future. They serve as fertile ground for the cultivation and exercise of selfishness. Consider the simple questions: Why do we eat? Why do we earn money? Self-interest propels and shapes human actions, dictating the course of their lives. Guided by this innate drive, individuals often find themselves merely following predetermined paths, lacking agency or autonomy. Self-interest, akin to the conscious mind of mortals, positions individuals as the rightful recipients of acclaim and prosperity.

Selfishness permeates daily life, rendering the assertion that ‘not everyone is selfish’ inaccurate. Niccolò Machiavelli asserts, “Human beings are inherently selfish and deceitful.” Selfishness and mortal existence are inseparable, akin to the two sides of a coin. For every living individual, selfishness serves as both a guiding force and a constant companion, addressing both significant moments and mundane tasks. It is indiscriminate, affecting all regardless of race, stature, or wealth; escaping its influence is futile. Acknowledging selfishness becomes imperative to grasp the essence of one’s existence. Even the most intelligent and naïve individuals rely on selfish motives in their purest form. Selfishness exhibits bias, favouring the virtuous and sincere while rebuffing the deceitful and mischievous. Its outcomes, whether beneficial or detrimental, hinge on how it is wielded and understood.

The adage “Action speaks louder than words” pales in comparison to the resounding influence of selfishness. Selfishness serves as a reliable pathway to success, offering unwavering support and gratification to its adherents. Far from being a vice, it acts as a covert blessing, empowering individuals to strive for collective welfare. In moments of moral ambiguity or adversity, selfishness enables individuals to navigate challenges, even seeking aid from unlikely sources. It infuses actions with cheerfulness and purpose, unlocking the potential for remarkable achievements. The dynamic force of selfishness transcends barriers, turning failures into triumphs and reigniting ambition. Machiavelli’s counsel to “Be selfish in order to realise and achieve your goal” underscores its instrumental role in personal advancement. Notably, figures like Armstrong Pame, IAS, attribute their success to embracing selfishness in their educational and professional pursuits. Whether exhibited by leaders or the populace, selfishness harbours the potential for positive societal transformation. When wielded by compassionate and principled individuals, it catalyses productive growth and fosters harmonious political relations between nations. Indeed, the strategic alliances forged between countries, such as America and India, Russia and China, or India and Russia, exemplify the constructive outcomes of self-interest in international diplomacy.

Selfishness, often depicted as dark and malevolent, finds its roots in the familial fabric, particularly evident among siblings as they grapple with notions of possession and ownership. Its insidious influence extends further among the affluent and corrupt, perpetuating a cycle where the wealthy amass greater fortunes while the impoverished languish or sink deeper into destitution. The cherished adage “Blood is thicker than water” loses its meaning as familial bonds fray under the weight of envy, mistrust, and animosity, transforming brothers into bitter adversaries. This selfishness breeds resentment and fuels injustices that stoke instant rage within us all.

Its pernicious effects reverberate across national, international, and local landscapes, manifesting in contentious land disputes, power struggles, and political upheavals. Consider the ongoing conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, and the communal violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur, India. These conflicts spiral out of control, threatening to engulf the world in an inevitable third world war reminiscent of the struggles faced by preceding generations.

In these conflicts, countless lives are lost, families torn apart, and communities shattered, all casualties of the selfish impulses that drive such hostilities. The darker facets of selfishness also infiltrate development initiatives and political agendas, where leaders prioritise personal gain and familial interests over the welfare of their constituents. This malignant form of selfishness behaves akin to an incurable disease, spreading its contagion with devastating consequences akin to hereditary afflictions like AIDS or diabetes, leaving an indelible mark on society.

We must introspect whether we control selfishness or are consumed by it. It’s imperative to globally discuss the nuances and merits of selfishness, particularly among the younger generation. Selfishness, when channelled positively, fosters notions of altruism and a brighter future, under the mantra “Not me but you.” However, the practical application of selfishness raises crucial questions. The key lies in clear, deliberate thought processes—swift decision-making often leads to regrettable outcomes. Hence, prioritising thoughtful consideration over impulsive action is paramount. While the initial impulse may stem from selfish motives, subsequent rational deliberation is indicative of true intelligence. Humanity shoulders the weighty responsibility of shaping its collective destiny. Are we embracing a brand of selfishness that promotes peace and love, or are we succumbing to its darker manifestations—corruption, betrayal, and conflict? The choice we make will determine the trajectory of our shared future.

In conclusion, selfishness emerges as the primary arbiter of human existence. Inherent within every individual, its role in today’s competitive landscape is multifaceted and intricate. The dichotomy lies in its potential to either propel one towards success or plunge them into failure. Selfishness embodies both virtue and stigma, seamlessly integrated into the fabric of human nature. It remains an indelible, omnipresent force, shaping our actions and decisions indefinitely.

Kadilin Gangmei

MA Political Science Department

Tetso College, Chumoukedima

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By EMN Updated: Mar 08, 2024 12:11:01 am
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