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Thread: Why are some people more selfish than others?

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    Default Why are some people more selfish than others?

    Your opinion.

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    Because it is "evolutionarily advantageous" in a social sense.
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

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    I think it often has something to do with a lack of empathy. But that's just one aspect, there are different reasons why someone is selfish.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Define selfishness.

    IME, selfishness (or rather, the complaint of such) is a label some people slap onto other people who have the guts to go for what they want, when they themselves do not.

    If selfishness is defined as being true to ourselves and going after what we want, then selfishness is a duty everyone owes to themselves. It is everybody's right to pursue their own personal desires, and it is silly to accuse other people of being inherently selfish due to it, when we too are acting out of selfishness in the pursuit of our own desires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by InkStrider View Post
    IME, selfishness (or rather, the complaint of such) is a label some people slap onto other people who have the guts to go for what they want, when they themselves do not.
    Ahaha, c'mon you know it's not like that.
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    Jadedness or poor upbringing.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by InkStrider View Post
    If selfishness is defined as being true to ourselves and going after what we want, then selfishness is a duty everyone owes to themselves. It is everybody's right to pursue their own personal desires, and it is silly to accuse other people of being inherently selfish due to it, when we too are acting out of selfishness in the pursuit of our own desires.
    as Ashton said before: selfishness ≠ self-interest

    Of course it's right to improve your own personal situation, but in some situation, this can be easily called selfishness. For example when you don't consider any other people but negatively affect them with your actions.
    „Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.“
    – Arthur Schopenhauer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Jadedness or poor upbringing.
    Environment/association is huge. If people aren't taught to invest in people, build relationships, they don't know any better, than to think for themselves.

    Use the sanctuary model: don't ask why someone is a certain way, ask, what happened to them?

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    There are lots of reasons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by poli View Post
    There are lots of reasons.
    HOLY FUCKING SHIT YOURE RIGHT
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    There is a time early on in everyone's life when the world rotates around them (or at least it feels like it does) and they get everything they want.

    At some point as they grow, hopefully they learn that the world does not actually rotate around them, and hopefully they stop getting everything they want, and learn that it's OK to not get everything you want and it's fair for other people to get what they want some of the time too, even if it conflicts with what you want.

    Not everyone is taught that.
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    I suppose the factors are social conditioning and neurology/psychology.

    Not all societies are the same; at the collective level the degree of expected selfishness might be far greater than that of another. Even in the home, parents, especially in a nation with such varying cultures like the U.S., may carry a wide range of societal moral values. Generally, we are conditioned to "get along", respect and sometimes even to act with others' best interests in mind. The lack of such conditioning in individuals would definitely have them as selfish.

    Psychology is also important. Every person is a mix of chemicals and behavioral & mental arrangements; an extreme imbalance of chemicals and dysfunctional behavioral & mental arrangements are what is classified as pathological or psychological disorders. But its only when such conditions are extreme that they are clinically diagnosed, truth is, all people lean towards some area(s) of a disorder(s), such as psychopathy, narcissism and sociopathy.




    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Dew View Post

    Use the sanctuary model: don't ask why someone is a certain way, ask, what happened to them?
    That's the same thing, worse even.
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    Some scenarios:

    Someone is extremely isolated for a long period of time from other people, i.e. someone who is a loner or perhaps lives in a very harsh rural area. Many people aren't around them so instead it is natural and instinctive to immediately look after themselves without thinking of other people.

    Someone has dealt with a social situation that is highly competitive, something similar to a "crabs in a bucket" situation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_mentality. In this situation they learn to ignore the efforts of others and focus solely on their own interest, because any sense of cooperation has broken down.

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    Selfishness is speaking in first person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritella View Post
    Over here, we'll put up with (almost) all of your crap. You just have to use the secret phrase: "I don't value it. It's related to <insert random element here>, which is not in my quadra."
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    Abbie is so boring and rigid it's awesome instead of boring and rigid. She seems so practical and down-to-the-ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Director Abbie View Post
    Selfishness is speaking in first person.
    What about third person?
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
    What about third person?
    Nah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ritella View Post
    Over here, we'll put up with (almost) all of your crap. You just have to use the secret phrase: "I don't value it. It's related to <insert random element here>, which is not in my quadra."
    Quote Originally Posted by Aquagraph View Post
    Abbie is so boring and rigid it's awesome instead of boring and rigid. She seems so practical and down-to-the-ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mountain Dew View Post
    Environment/association is huge. If people aren't taught to invest in people, build relationships, they don't know any better, than to think for themselves.
    Wow, not all people need to be taught or forced to invest in people to think or care about them when it's in their power to do so. This is not directly related to being selfish.

    Use the sanctuary model: don't ask why someone is a certain way, ask, what happened to them?
    This predisposes that you think there is something wrong with them. If they don't agree that there is and you judge them this way indirectly, that makes you the selfish one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Director Abbie View Post
    Selfishness is speaking in first person.
    And happiness is having a horse.

    My LSE grandma speaks in first person when she's talking to me. She says stuff like "grandma don't know ______" or "well grandma went over there and _____" etc. This is actually more of a third-person view, because she takes the subject into consideration and feels its appropriate to address me and the rest of my cousins this way, that she feels we're still kids to her. There's some sort of relationship created by it that she doesn't have with her children, that she's used to speaking to us this way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
    Psychology is also important. Every person is a mix of chemicals and behavioral & mental arrangements; an extreme imbalance of chemicals and dysfunctional behavioral & mental arrangements are what is classified as pathological or psychological disorders. But its only when such conditions are extreme that they are clinically diagnosed, truth is, all people lean towards some area(s) of a disorder(s), such as psychopathy, narcissism and sociopathy.
    LOL CHEMICALS. The brain changes fluidly, what gives you the right to define certain changes as chemical imbalances, while others as chemically balanced?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker View Post
    There is a time early on in everyone's life when the world rotates around them (or at least it feels like it does) and they get everything they want.

    At some point as they grow, hopefully they learn that the world does not actually rotate around them, and hopefully they stop getting everything they want, and learn that it's OK to not get everything you want and it's fair for other people to get what they want some of the time too, even if it conflicts with what you want.

    Not everyone is taught that.
    Getting everything one wants, i.e. believing the world revolves around them, doesn't mean they don't think other people shouldn't get what they want. Deciding one's desires take precedence over another's can be selfish, but it depends on the motive. Would you like to define some selfish motives?

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    I might agree with Gilly that selfishness sometimes speaks to being less socialized. If one feels disconnected from others, wary of others, distrustful of others, etc. then they will be more likely to think only of themselves. This isn't because they don't inwardly wish others well, but that they know no one else is going to help them and so they feel left to fend for themselves and therefore don't have the time or energy to pay attention to others (sometimes even feeling overly burdened around others). I think isolation creates a more selfish character because one becomes more desperate as getting by on their own is far more difficult than getting by is when one has social support. Selfishness could also be a reaction to rejection or to feeling no one understands (not being able to relate or connect with others easily due either to lack of social skills or to lower "social intelligence").

    I might think that some highly emotional people could end up being selfish because they're overwhelmed by their own feelings so much that they don't have any room to notice other people's feelings. They might turn every conversation into being about them and their feelings and respond to others irrationally. Telling them that they're being one-sided and never listen might launch them into more emotional drama as they worry about what this says about them and how someone saying this to them makes them feel and so on, making this all about them as well. Maybe some of these people have over-active amygdalas or something, or maybe they became addicted to their own emotional responses or have abused too many substances or have some psychological disorder.

    I'd agree that lack of empathy or a deficit of emotion could also lead to selfishness. One feels little to nothing for others and therefore doesn't feel too bad when they use others for their own purposes (at the expense of others). However, there would be a difference between being this way and simply being an opportunist who tries to be fair in one's dealings, but who still doesn't really feel as much or empathize as much perhaps as the average person. Perhaps having a sense of ethics makes the difference, and that could in some cases just amount a difference in individual development.

    And then there are all the rest of the reasons and factors and what not. Like narcissism. And maybe adult narcissism is more along the lines of Slacker's example. Things like excessive praise, spoiling, high expectations, idealization, lack of boundaries (as in not discouraging bad behavior or not making it clear certain behavior isn't okay), and what not are attributed as causes of narcissism. So the narcissist was molded into a selfish being and can't grow beyond it because in being raised to believe they're a special idealized person (regardless of their actual accomplishments and actions in life), they weren't encouraged to examine their true thoughts and feelings (or abilities), and so there is a deficit of self-understanding. In their case, being selfish would amusingly enough, arise out of constantly trying to feed a self that isn't even real. They are selfish because they don't know themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcaudilllg View Post
    Your opinion.
    If you don't love yourself, you can never love people.

    Selfish people are those who never got past the first clause.
    She is wise
    beyond words
    beautiful within
    her soul
    brighter than
    the sun
    lovelier than
    love
    dreams larger
    than life
    and does not
    understand the
    meaning of no.
    Because everything
    through her, and in her, is
    "Yes, it will be done."


    Why I love LSEs:
    Quote Originally Posted by Abbie
    A couple years ago I was put in charge of decorating the college for Valentine's Day. I made some gorgeous, fancy decorations from construction paper, glue, scissors, and imagination. Then I covered a couple cabinets with them. But my favorite was the diagram of a human heart I put up. So romantic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Divided View Post
    LOL CHEMICALS. The brain changes fluidly, what gives you the right to define certain changes as chemical imbalances, while others as chemically balanced?
    Thanks for misunderstanding.

    Instead of cherry picking what you like, you can reread and realize I didn't give any of my opinions but merely stated the condition for a clinical diagnosis.

    Also:
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
    The resulting conclusion is that every human is a result of disorders,
    Quote Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post
    everyone has these innate qualities that comprise a "disorder", in some people it is just more prominent

    ..

    I'm saying that everyone has some kind of imbalance..
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    Misunderstanding? Most selfish people do that.
    She is wise
    beyond words
    beautiful within
    her soul
    brighter than
    the sun
    lovelier than
    love
    dreams larger
    than life
    and does not
    understand the
    meaning of no.
    Because everything
    through her, and in her, is
    "Yes, it will be done."


    Why I love LSEs:
    Quote Originally Posted by Abbie
    A couple years ago I was put in charge of decorating the college for Valentine's Day. I made some gorgeous, fancy decorations from construction paper, glue, scissors, and imagination. Then I covered a couple cabinets with them. But my favorite was the diagram of a human heart I put up. So romantic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loki View Post
    I might agree with Gilly that selfishness sometimes speaks to being less socialized. If one feels disconnected from others, wary of others, distrustful of others, etc. then they will be more likely to think only of themselves. This isn't because they don't inwardly wish others well, but that they know no one else is going to help them and so they feel left to fend for themselves and therefore don't have the time or energy to pay attention to others (sometimes even feeling overly burdened around others). I think isolation creates a more selfish character because one becomes more desperate as getting by on their own is far more difficult than getting by is when one has social support. Selfishness could also be a reaction to rejection or to feeling no one understands (not being able to relate or connect with others easily due either to lack of social skills or to lower "social intelligence").
    Less socialized? No...it can occur from over-socialization as well, just as easily if not more so, and definitely more often.

    [quote]I might think that some highly emotional people could end up being selfish because they're overwhelmed by their own feelings so much that they don't have any room to notice other people's feelings. They might turn every conversation into being about them and their feelings and respond to others irrationally. Telling them that they're being one-sided and never listen might launch them into more emotional drama as they worry about what this says about them and how someone saying this to them makes them feel and so on, making this all about them as well.
    Maybe some of these people have over-active amygdalas or something,
    Or under-active...

    or maybe they became addicted to their own emotional responses
    Rather common in varying degrees IMO

    or have abused too many substances
    Ehhh...that's not from the substances directly, as in an impact the chemicals have on your brain, but from the social mentality surrounding them and the

    or have some psychological disorder.
    Phony term. Everyone has "psychological disorders;" they are merely labeled as such when they interfere with productivity or endanger someone else's life or emotional well-being. It's just as important, though, IMO, to understand the functional variants alongside the dysfunctional ones, in order to understand the depth of the complex and discern generalities and trends from particulars and peculiarities.

    I'd agree that lack of empathy or a deficit of emotion could also lead to selfishness.
    I'd say it just reveals the inherent selfishness that is tamed by empathy; one could say the reverse of some people, as well. Selfishness certainly came first, but it's hard to discern which is, on "average, truly dominant in our real-world functioning. Which is itself truly meaningless; what is more relevant is in what degree each attitude expresses itself in crucial circumstances. That could be a chicken-egg argument though.

    One feels little to nothing for others and therefore doesn't feel too bad when they use others for their own purposes (at the expense of others). However, there would be a difference between being this way and simply being an opportunist who tries to be fair in one's dealings, but who still doesn't really feel as much or empathize as much perhaps as the average person. Perhaps having a sense of ethics makes the difference, and that could in some cases just amount a difference in individual development.
    Having a sense of ethics is nice, but it's poor when used as any kind of actual measuring stick; it ensures that anyone, no matter how ill-intending, stupid, crazy, or downright evil, can get a doggy treat, and have a shot at a slice of the real pie.

    And then there are all the rest of the reasons and factors and what not. Like narcissism. And maybe adult narcissism is more along the lines of Slacker's example. Things like excessive praise, spoiling, high expectations, idealization, lack of boundaries (as in not discouraging bad behavior or not making it clear certain behavior isn't okay), and what not are attributed as causes of narcissism. So the narcissist was molded into a selfish being and can't grow beyond it because in being raised to believe they're a special idealized person (regardless of their actual accomplishments and actions in life), they weren't encouraged to examine their true thoughts and feelings (or abilities), and so there is a deficit of self-understanding. In their case, being selfish would amusingly enough, arise out of constantly trying to feed a self that isn't even real. They are selfish because they don't know themselves.
    Sounds like selfishness arises out of selfishness...I think inflated self-image would arise more by consequence.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Only child syndrome.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agee The Great View Post
    Nobody here...besides me, seems to know what SLE is except for maybe Maritsa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Less socialized? No...it can occur from over-socialization as well, just as easily if not more so, and definitely more often.
    That's a very interesting idea, one at first would think the process of socialization would condition people towards selflessness, but it can also have the reverse effect.

    I find inn most cases you're dealing with layered factions. A typical person is going to first socialize with the cliche of peers/friends outside themselves, then above that more generally with a sense of local community, then above that politically or nationally, and finally above that in a broader philosophical sense. So you have subfactions within subfactions within factions. The more someone say socializes with their friends, this may cause them to desocialize away from previously held loyalties in other areas. A great example of this is how children are conditioned away from socialization with their parents and towards socialization with their peers in adolesence.

    So basically the effects of socialization are hard to gauge and complex. If someone socializes towards the mainstream American political current for example they may find themselves being more anti-social with respect to other societies and factions internationally. So to a fellow mainstream American you appear selfless in your service to your society, but to someone else in the world you appear self-interested and greedy.

    Ultimately I agree though, every individual psychologically is consistently dealing with the two aspects, but also every faction composed of individuals themselves are sociologically dealing with this as well.
    Last edited by male; 11-02-2011 at 01:55 AM.

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    Inherent
    Forced to
    To fend for themselves
    Raised to be

    Self oriented and selfish are two different things. To take care of oneself out of necessity is not a selfish act.

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    People see how most people are selfish, rude and arrogant - and not concerned at all with the welfare of others, and instead of using all that to be a nicer/giving person themselves, they say 'that's just the way things are' and they act the same way. Rude and obnoxious, laughing brutally at everybody's weaknesses, etc.

    It's like it spirals out of control.

    I remember a Buffy episode where Andrew was feeling sorry for Johnathon and then Warren goes "That's a weakness" and it kind of made me laugh. I think that is the typical American mentality you know. Empathy, feeling sorry for somebody is a weak thing and should be perished in the individual self, instead of festered. And so since most people think that way, that's why we have a world that feels dark and scary and brutal with no love in it. People sort of narcissistically and intellectually yap at each other instead of talking to people with their hearts. It's like the world has lost its heart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by octopuslove View Post
    Only child syndrome.
    I know an EIE who is an only child and the only male in his family (he's Chinese so his family places a greater importance on sons than daughters) and while he's spoiled, he isn't selfish at all so you're wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterNi View Post
    I know an EIE who is an only child and the only male in his family (he's Chinese so his family places a greater importance on sons than daughters) and while he's spoiled, he isn't selfish at all so you're wrong.
    Lol. By that logic, I also know an EIE who is an only child and is crazy spoiled and totally selfish, so YOU'RE wrong.
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    Samuel the Gabriel H. MisterNi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by octopuslove View Post
    Lol. By that logic, I also know an EIE who is an only child and is crazy spoiled and totally selfish, so YOU'RE wrong.
    What? How dare you disagree with me!

    I was just pointing out how only children aren't necessarily selfish and provided anecdotal evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MisterNi View Post
    What? How dare you disagree with me!

    I was just pointing out how only children aren't necessarily selfish and provided anecdotal evidence.
    Haha yeah, it's definitely not always the case, but when the circumstances are right... oh boy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by octopuslove View Post
    Haha yeah, it's definitely not always the case, but when the circumstances are right... oh boy.
    lol yeah. The human mind is like a tomato, you can do so much with and to it.

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    My thoughts: everything is relative. What's the difference between the vital functions and the mental functions? The vital functions emphasize the relative, the mental functions emphasize cultural normatives. Selfishness is relative, and this tells us that selfish people are merely more selfish than the norm. We discriminate against them because they engage in selfish acts in contexts that cause us anxiety. Thus we implement law as a means of controlling our anxiety. It is known that sociopaths and psychopaths are both highly impulsive. I have met a number of such people and I can affirm that they are highly impulsive. They create rationalization mechanisms by which to justify their acting on impulse, which in turn leads them into greater and greater rejection of social norms and eventually towards criminality. Impulse is a measurement and all measurements are relative... therefore, the selfish person must be more impulsive than is the norm.

    Is there a link between selfishness and the Id block? Are the Id block functions more impulsive than Ego block functions?

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    Everybody is the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Agee View Post
    Everybody is the same.
    (i)NTFS

    An ILI at rest tends to remain at rest
    and an ILI in motion is probably not an ILI

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    Heeeeheeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeSeeCold View Post

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maritsa33 View Post
    Heeeeheeeeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
    ...So you've really gone mad.

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