An ethical thought:
When it comes to interacting with others — there are times in which your “selfless” actions are actually very self-interested. And other times when your “selfish” actions are actually quite selfless in benefitting others.
But when is one which, and when is it the other?
When not to yell at your partner
If you live with your partner, you gotta live with your actions.
For example if you yell at your partner or inflict pain upon them, you must live with the consequences.
Thus sometimes when you refrain from yelling at them (which seems “selfless”), it’s actually the smarter long-term “selfish”solution. Why? Long-term, it will be less stress for you.
Altruism from selfishness
When I’m the most “selfish” and focused on my own needs, I’m actually the most altruistic and “selfless”.
I need EXTRME focus and concentration to get anything done. I’m insanely easily distracted. Thus to get into a positive “zen zone”, I gotta block out the external world. No email. No phone. No communications.
Selfish doesn’t mean evil.
This is the problem with morality, ethics, and our modern vocabulary:
When we call someone selfish, we actually mean to call them “evil”.
But to be selfish isn’t evil. It’s natural. A human who isn’t self-interested would have perished a long time ago. We MUST be selfish in order to thrive.
Why is selfishness seen as evil?
For humanity, the bias is this:
The collective is more important than the individual.
This is a good bias. Without this bias, humanity probably wouldn’t have thrived as a collective. For example, there is a reason why most human babies aren’t independent until perhaps around 12 years of age. Long social nurturing time via the collective, for long-term thriving.
But in today’s modern world, being selfish won’t cause you to starve to death. In fact, current modern day society is the most optimal time for you to thrive.
Why today is the best day.
- How cheap food is now (I can buy pork for .99 cents a pound for “picnic pork”, and slow cook it).
- How technology is practically free. WiFi is virtually free. Coffee (if you buy it in bulk and brew at home) is so cheap it’s practically free. Assuming you can walk everywhere, transit is free (or you can take public transit which is quite cheap). Or you can opt to not own a car, and just Uber everywhere.
- Housing is quite affordable, assuming you don’t need to live in the heart of SF or NYC/London. Even the benefit of being a “digital nomad”— you can live in a brand new studio apartment in Hanoi for only $350 USD a month!!!
- Technology devices are so cheap. You can buy a brand new iPad for only $330! You can buy a brand new RICOH GR II for only $550 USD! You can buy a brand new smartphone for less than $400!
These are the ideal conditions to: