I have a friend who calls me only when he needs something. The initial pleasantries are so sincere that you forget that he is going to ask a favor in 1.2.3 or 5 minutes, but he always does. My parents call me when they need something done. They are old, and I don't see the favors as selfish, but they are. Selfishness is survival. To say that someone is selfish is meaningless. We all are. Every day, we wake up and think about things that pleasures, entertains, and enriches us. The short-term sacrifice is mean to meet our selfish goals and ambitions. The socialization is mean to take a break from our selfish goals, for most, but for many, the goals never blur.
What about the people who post about rights of the underprivileged? How are they selfish?
Nothing has come from posting or sharing the suffering of those you have not helped. The free PR hardly translates to help. Only the communication medium has changed. You are more likely to contribute if someone called you and shared about a family that is suffering than a school or college friend sharing about a random person on social media. They are selfishly trying to create an IMAGE as a Social Justice Warrior. Fame is the goal here.
Churches equates the suffering of existence with the suffering of poverty. They are not the same. One is the quest for meaning that you will perhaps never achieve, but you try to mask with money, family and success. The other, the unending run for daily existence, the skipped meals, the skimmed luxuries, and the nagging feeling of injustice that will occupy their mind to exhaustion. Even aspiring to be rich is seen as a sin. The majority of churchgoers in their weekly guilt overdose stops dreaming. They abdicate their responsibilities to an imaginary being. The organization propagates the myth while selfishly taking your time, money, intellect, and control you with the promise of an afterlife.
It is not that no individual is selfish. The selfishness of one always wins over the selfishness of the other. When you take time from another person, your selfish agenda wins over theirs. When you seek help from someone, you value your 'goals' over the other person. The meek shall get bulldozed by the strong. That is why you work on a meaningless job on the whims of an Entrepreneur. Salary is the drug, and you will sniff it away while selling your self-esteem and dreams, all for the vague notion of certainty.
Movie promotion and talk shows are the best abstractions of selfishness. The actor's goal with a promotion is to get the next job with better pay. He has taken a bigger risk than the audience. He chose to create while you chose to consume. The talk show host pretends that he cares about the actors, listens to a 'funny' anecdote and hopes that the audience will find the conversation natural. Deep down he is afraid of going back on the road as a stand-up comic or find a real 9-5 job. Consumption is a selfish act for distraction or entertainment. We shop more when we are stressed. We watch movies, youTube videos, and waste away our time reading gossip columns, because the daily grind of pursuing our goals, feel overwhelming. We need novelty, change, and new experiences. Travel, Sex, and Visual/Audio stimulation answers our need. Suppress any one of our three needs; our selfish pursuit aggravates and spills over into fights and conflicts.
Who are the selfless? The hundreds of Doctors who sacrifice their personal time for duty? They have been brainwashed from childhood that there is no profession even close to being a modern healer. And it is true. No profession gets the respect that a doctor receives. The drive to be different from the 'money' and 'fame' seeking professionals, pushed them down a rabbit hole. The trade off between time for patients and 'selfish' personal goals, have kept them in a conflicted state. The moment they acknowledge their selfishness over the charity of the profession, life will improve, but the search for meaning never stops.
What the society states as a selfless profession, is an attempt at confining the person to an unachievable ideal. Army Men guarding the Borders and Doctors working 16-hour shifts face the same dilemma - to live up to the expectations of the profession's charitable ideals or follow the instinctual selfishness.
Selfishness is beautiful.
Without Bill Gate's selfish drive to dominate the market, we would never have desktops. Without Desktops, the hundreds of codes for Mobile Phone would never have been created. Without Bill's selfishness, we would have never explored the Internet, the Social Media and dozens of new media livelihood. We would have been stuck in a 9-5 job, punching cards, staring at empty spaces, saving up for kids and retirement while debating about politics and religion, using talking points written by intellectuals over a generation ago.
Access to Information changed our lives.
The Selfishness of Entrepreneurs, Entertainers, Sportsmen, Musicians, Inventors and game changers, made our lives better.
Before you post about the 1% exploiting the 99%, remember that you would never have a platform to share your worries had the 1%, chose to kill the technology. 1% was incentivized to pursue their selfish goals when the markets flashed billions of dollars in return. Had the selfish Venture Capitalist chose to invest only in life-saving drugs and technology, and not on communication and media, you would not have known about the 1%.