You are selfish. So is the person next to you. We are all selfish.
Don’t believe me?
Think about it – everything that you do is done because you are hoping to satisfy some kind of need or desire. Acts of selfishness surround us. Some are obvious and some are not.
While it’s pretty clear that some celebrities, sneaky business people or dictators act in entirely selfish ways, there are actions that we might define as “selfless” which are also actually selfish. A woman who donates money to a charity does so because it makes her feel good. A man who jumps between his children and an attacking dog satisfies his need to protect his offspring. A student pays to sign up for a volunteering trip (see JCW) because they will have fun and form social connections on it.
I honestly can’t think of anything that someone would do that does not benefit them in any way at all.
The difference between peoples’ actions, however, is who those actions benefit. Do they benefit the individual only, or do they benefit a group?
Society cannot function if people’s selfish desires do not benefit others at all. Therefore, we need to all learn to make our goals those of peace, cooperation and mutual understanding, so that our selfish desires can motivate us to achieve what supports society.