Selfishness

There are no generalizations in American politics that vested selfishness cannot cut through.

The only way to be loved is to be and to appear lovely; to possess and display kindness, benevolence, tenderness; to be free from selfishness and to be alive to the welfare of others.

Happiness begins where selfishness ends.

I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.

Civilized man has been more ruthlessly wasteful and grasping in his attitude toward the natural world than has served even his most material best interests. Possibly - as some hope - a mere enlightened selfishness will save it in time. Even if we should learn just in the nick of time not to destroy what is necessary for our own preservation, the mere determination to survive is not sufficient to save very much of the variety and beauty of the natural world. They can e preserved only if man feels the necessity of sharing the earth with at least some of his fellow creatures to be a privilege rather han an irritation. And he is not likely to feel that without something more than intellectual curiosity - that something more you may call love, fellow-feeling, or reverence for life. Without reverence or love the increasing awareness of what the science of ecology teaches us can come to be no more than a shrewder exploitation of what it would be better to admire, to enjoy, and to share in.

Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness – all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.

We can surely no longer pretend that our children are growing up into a peaceful, secure, and civilized world. We've come to the point where it's irresponsible to try to protect them from the irrational world they will have to live in when they grow up. The children themselves haven't yet isolated themselves by selfishness and indifference; they do not fall easily into the error of despair; they are considerably braver than most grownups. Our responsibility to them is not to pretend that if we don't look, evil will go away, but to give them weapons against it.

Those who cleanse their hearts of the embittering poison of selfishness, hate and greed shall find God as their own true Self. When you find and realize God, the problem of selfishness and its numerous expressions melts away like mist before the sun. In God and as God, all life reveals itself as being really one and indivisible, and all separateness created by identification with human or sub-human forms is seen to be illusory.

Through the higher love the whole life of man is to be elevated from temporal selfishness to the spring of all love, to God: man will again be master over nature by abiding in God and lifting her up to God.

Man, by nature, is a selfish creature. Even in his relationships with others he tends to focus primarily on himself or, at most, on his self-colored perception of his fellow. "Love" is the endeavor to transcend this intrinsic selfishness and truly relate to one's fellow, to be sensitive to and devoted to his/her needs as an individual distinct of oneself and one's own stake in the relationship.

A self that is only differentiated - not integrated - may attain great individual accomplishments, but risks being mired in self-centered egotism. By the same token, a person who self is based exclusively on integration will be well connected and secure, but lack autonomous individuality. Only when a person invests equal amounts of psychic energy in these two processes and avoids both selfishness and conformity is the self likely to relect complexity.

It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates. Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original feeling of hostility.

Before man can be free, and equal, and truly wise, he must cast aside the chains of habit and superstition; he must strip sensuality of its pomp, and selfishness of its excuses, and contemplate actions and objects as they really are. He will discover the wisdom of universal love; he will feel the meanness and the injustice of sacrificing the reason and the liberty of his fellow-men to the indulgence of his physical appetites, and becoming a party to their degradation by the consummation of his own.

In proportion as mankind becomes wise — yes, in exact proportion to that wisdom — should be the extinction of the unequal system under which they now subsist. Government is, in fact, the mere badge of their depravity. They are so little aware of the inestimable benefits of mutual love as to indulge, without thought, and almost without motive, in the worst excesses of selfishness and malice. Hence, without graduating human society into a scale of empire and subjection, its very existence has become impossible. It is necessary that universal benevolence should supersede the regulations of precedent and prescription, before these regulations can safely be abolished. Meanwhile, their very subsistence depends on the system of injustice and violence, which they have been devised to palliate.

In the world today many people think that one can do without religion, and that they themselves have outgrown religion by reason of their evolution. Many have no religious belief, and therefore the world has never been in a more chaotic condition. No doubt one finds in tradition and in history that in the name of religion the selfishness and ignorance of mankind have been given free reign. This is the reason why man, revolting against this state of things, has forsaken religion and forgotten that spirit which, in the name of religion, has also played its part in the world.

There is a selfishness even in gratitude, when it is too profuse; to be over-thankful for one favor is in effect to lay out for another.

But is the selfishness of children so very different from our own?

The position I have always adopted is that much of animal nature is indeed altruistic, cooperative and even attended by benevolent subjective emotions, but that this follows from, rather than contradicts, selfishness at the genetic level.

There is no pride on earth like the pride of intellect and science.

There is hardly a more common error than that of taking the man who has one talent, for a genius.