Thursday, March 27, 2008

What if?

What if everything we do in life is done out of self-interest? Do we really do anything for purely altruistic reasons? Is it possible to assume that actions we take for the public good, or for the good of another person are actually undertaken because they are self-gratifying? We are guided by natural self-interest. In short, that means we do things because they make us feel good. If I serve my country in the military, isn't part of the reason why I enlisted because I wanted to make a difference? I wanted to serve my country with honor & integrity, and secure the freedoms enjoyed by my fellow Americans. Or maybe I just wanted the chance to fuck up some terrorist assholes?

If I donate my kidney to my best friend, am I doing it out of altruism, or am I doing it because his company makes me happy, and I'd like to continue to have him around because he brings a level of enjoyment to my life? If I donate to the NRA, I don't do it because I think It increases public safety, I do it because I have a vested interest in the values & policies that the NRA promotes. The same goes for carrying a firearm. We all do so for selfish reasons, not because we want to protect "society."

I don't go to college because I think being an educated young person is in the best interests of the country. Thats not what my parents pay thousands for. I go to college because the benefits of an education serve my future interests. Likewise, my professor doesn't teach just to hear herself speak (and if she did that'd still be "self-interest" - Pride is a self-interest) She teaches either because shaping the minds of young people brings her enjoyment & a sense of fulfillment and / or because the University is paying her for her services.

I started this a few days ago and forgot to post it, so it's just going to have to end abruptly....

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