Tag: have it all

When Is It Good To Be Selfish And Greedy?


People say that to be happy you have to be unselfish. But are they right? Because we all know selfish and greedy people, who seem to have it all.

We have all been betrayed by someone who went on to live a seemingly perfect life. Who went on with seemingly no consequences… So there has to be something more to this – a more elegant explanation of the conflicts of life.

A root explanation of our selfishness… Of our altruism… About our DNA and “Nature vs. Nurture…” In today’s Book-Of-The-Day, “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins, we examine this question of whether we are born greedy and ‘evil’ or if we only learn it from our environment.

I consider this to be one of the 5 most important books that every human should read. Yesterday I was talking about it on my Book-Of-The-Day TV show (check out a new episode everyday at 11:30 am PST. One million people have read “The Selfish Gene” since Dawkins first wrote it in 1976.

He had a noble goal in writing it. He explained, “My purpose is to examine the biology of selfishness and altruism. Apart from its academic interest, the human importance of this subject is obvious.

It touches every aspect of our social lives, our loving and hating, fighting and cooperating, giving and stealing, our greed and our generosity.” Dawkins was right.

The question of selfishness vs. unselfishness is at the core of every major decision you will ever make. Who to marry. Who to make friends with. Who to protect. Who to ignore. Get this question wrong and you will get your life wrong.

Most people approach the question all wrong. Whether it’s people who believe in religion or atheists, the confusion knows no boundaries between the sacred and the secular.

So what did the scientist Dawkins discover and explain in this book?

1. Although selfishness is our natural inclination, we are not always destined to follow it: “Our genes may instruct us to be selfish, but we are not necessarily compelled to obey them all our lives.

It may just be more difficult to learn altruism than it would be if we were genetically programmed to be altruistic. Let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish.

Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to” I like that Dawkins recognizes that you and I have the chance for some level of enlightenment, however little it might be.

We have some mastery over our genes. We’re not doomed to take advantage of people or to act in a more base manner. No, you see it all around you. Altruism. And not just the kind of natural altruism that we have towards our family, friends, and loved ones (which in a sense isn’t really charity at all because of the possibility that we can be paid back).

You see people giving to people that have no chance to give back to them. There is still hope.

2. The secret is to become a simulation machine, not just a robotically programmed automaton:

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