Is Everything We Do Because We Are Selfish ?

Is Everything We Do Because We Are Selfish ?

So, Is everything we do for self benefit?
Definitions from dictionary.com
Egoism:
Excessive love and thought of self; the habit of regarding one's self as the center of every interest; selfishness; -- opposed to altruism.

Altruism:
Regard for others, both natural and moral; devotion to the interests of others; brotherly kindness; -- opposed to egoism or selfishness.

Egoism:(Another Definition)
In philosophy, egoism is the theory that one’s self is, or should be, the motivation and the goal of one’s own action. Egoism has two variants, descriptive or normative. The descriptive (or positive) variant conceives egoism as a factual description of human affairs. That is, people are motivated by their own interests and desires, and they cannot be described otherwise. The normative variant proposes that people should be so motivated, regardless of what presently motivates their behavior. Altruism is the opposite of egoism. The term “egoism” derives from “ego,” the Latin term for the English word “I”. “Egoism” should be distinguished from “egotism,” which means a psychological overvaluation of one’s own importance, or of one’s own activities.


Basically what I believe is that yes, everything we do is for self benefit. This makes me sound selfish and a bad person, but my reasoning behind this is because even if we do the opposite, which is an altruistic act, we still do it for self benefit.

For example, if we walk past a homeless person, we feel sorry for them and give them money. We now feel happy that we’ve given some money to a needy person. Now this at first seems like an altruistic act where we’re putting others before us, BUT with or without realizing we gave it to them for self satisfaction (happiness).

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Anonymous
22.8.09 delete

I do agree that ultimately, humans do whatever benefits them best; however not consciously, as OP's egoism or individualism entails.

Our inclination to protect ourselves first and foremost is a consequence--and indeed a crucial factor of--evolution: survival at all costs. Subconsciously, we are programmed to primarily protect ourselves, and after that, to protect our species. A manifestation of this is in the human method of survival during long-gone eras of hunter-and-gatherer societies. While they all appear to organize into groups out of altruistic concern, this inclination is actually fueled by individual interest; no-one would have a chance of survival on their own; whereas this chance greatly increases when in a group. If humans could survive on their own, they would not group together.

Altruistic acts that compromise oneself may occur, but only after a complete reversal of basic human instincts.

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