Saturday, 13 August 2011


If I were to say that "human beings are selfish" right now, I wouldn't purely be referring to the kind of destructive greed that ignores anybody else's needs, I'd be referring to the fact that we, in the most literal sense of the word, care the most about our self. Most of us can sympathise and the good ones among us will do a lot to help those who are in pain or in need of help, but the true altruists who solely care about others and pay no heed to their own welfare... well, they're few and far between.

There are sensible reasons for this. I myself would guess that it's because we can't know what other people are thinking, and our thoughts are the only ones that we know, so all we can do is trust our own judgment. But that's my subjective opinion, not a theory, but a hypothesis, based off of a limited understanding of the human race. Of course, that's not how I'd think about something that I'd thought of straight away, but when it comes down to it, most of what I say is opinionated. I'd like to think this goes for others, too.

Opinions don't have to be wrong, though. You could opine that Barack Obama is black, or that molecules are made up of atoms, or that Louie Spence is gay (which reminds me, happy pridday!) and you'd be absolutely right. But the fact remains that our judgment is usually the most important thing to us is any situation. It requires trust to go on the judgment of somebody else; usually, we trust ourselves anyway.

It can have serious consequences. Very often, people are so sure of their own way of thinking that they will shut out anybody else's, ignore any alternative philosophies, blindly claim that they're right and other people are wrong. Such has been the way with racism, homophobia, gender-role conformity, incest discrimination, among others (and I will address the last one in another post, as I promised.)

Our prejudices, our biases, they are fact and no less in the world of many. If we don't understand something, we're ever more likely to reject it based on that (I wouldn't be surprised if that was true elsewhere in the animal kingdom.) Picking between a food that we like and a food we've never heard of, it takes an adventurous person to try the latter. Choosing between a holiday to Spain and a holiday to a country most people can barely place on a map also requires a bold person to make the second choice. I imagine that there's a good Darwinian reason behind this, too; sticking with what we know is generally safer.

But a life spent within our own ego is a pretty boring one.


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