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The Selfish Rationale of Generosity

October 2, 2006

People are naturally selfish, yet it is in our best interests not to be selfish to others.

People dislike the quality of selfishness in others, not because it is present in themselves, but because it is in fact detrimental to their own personal well being.

However, being unselfish gains ‘brownie points’ with others and unconsciously, with oneself; that is  good for well being (physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, psychologically… name what you will). Being selfish reduces potential well being (prior dislike from a person makes it less likely that he/she will be unselfish towards one later).

Anyway what I’m trying to say is… altruism may not be as generous as it might appear – pure unselfishness is unlikely; there is always a benefit to onself, consciously or not. But does that make unselfishness  selfish, and thus ‘tainted’? Does it make an act of generosity  any less ‘nice’? I don’t think so.

Above were a huge truckload of unconfirmed generalizations and postulations though not completely unfounded. Read with a grain of salt. (Perhaps I should’ve put the disclaimer at the beginning. Oh well.)


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