Are We Selfish Creatures?

I remember one time when I was driving and smelled the distinctive odor of gasoline. Being normally paranoid in that regard, I thought it was only my imagination at first. But then the smell started growing stronger and stronger to the point that it felt like it was coming from inside the car. Now that there was a reason to worry, I prepared to pull over to the right, and just before I hit the brakes I noticed the gasoline dashing from the car in front of me. For me that was a big relief, and I felt happy, but then I realized that the person in that car was in jam now, facing the same problem I was afraid to face moments ago, yet my initial reaction was being happy for myself instead of being sorry for them.

Now imagine yourself standing in a bank and 2 robbers break in, they start firing left and right, and then one of them aims at you, he fires, and just when you think the bullet is coming your way it goes astray and hits someone else. What would be your initial reaction?

You might smile, you might cry in disbelief, you might let out a sigh of reliefe, but the sure thing is, you will be happy to be alive.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of, that’s how human beings are: selfish by nature. We put ourselves first, and that what makes selflessness and altruism commendable qualities; because you have to fight your selfish tendencies in order to elevate yourself to a higher level of humanity.

You might not be a selfish person, yet you may experience this egocentric tendency every once in while. Like when you’re loved by someone that you don’t have feelings for. You know you have to turn that person down and you may feel sorry for them, yet, even if for a brief moment, you enjoy that feeling of being the subject of attention for someone. Maybe Robert Frost had it right after all when he said: Love is an irresistible feeling to be irresistibly desired.

But there’s a thin line between responding to natural instinctive qualities and indulging in them. A thin line and a big difference. A big, big difference indeed! And a big part of being selfish is expecting everyone to be selfless, especially when it comes to yourself.

After all, aren’t we all the heroes of our own stories?

3 responses

  1. The Q. should be “r we VERY selfish creatures” 🙂 because “selfish” we r!

    I blv u r right regarding the fine line btwen the 2; we have to learn to fight it, it`s a skill by itself.

    Some ppl make it alllll the way and live entirely for others, rare but present!


  2. Well thought through, Ola. I believe we are deeply selfish creatures, it is only by the grace of God we occasionally put others first. Rand is right, motherhood does help change that…but maybe only because one establishes a pattern of putting helpless little ones first because they would die without our care. 🙂

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