Saturday, June 6, 2015

According to Adam Smith the human being is selfish and only selfish reasons are his main motivation. Indeed, we cannot perceive reality from outside of ourselves and everything is done or assessed from that subjective perspective. Psychologically, the first human crisis is when he/she realizes that he/she is not the centre of the universe and parents won't do everything wanted! So selfishness is natural and central to explain primordial human behaviour, any other behaviour being learnt later by interaction with other human beings and reality. Under this perspective, selfishness (i.e. to put our conscience first, the remaining of reality including other beings, second) is not immoral and it is a natural consequence of our perception: everything is thought from our perspective. Now the obvious question here is in what instant selfishness becomes immoral and why. We need to broaden the original definition given by Smith. The human being is a dual entity, subjective and selfish from his/her point of view, but at the same time member of a group that exist outside of himself/herself. Humanity is the permanent struggle between being ourselves and make the effort of putting that into a social context. From that struggle morality is created and from the idea of "outside" combined with morality the idea of a higher entity follows. Because of this struggle, moral rules need to be stated and written down; the contract/compromise that we will sacrifice our subject when is time to put it in the social context, which is outside of ourselves. Because this structure cannot be proved from the subject, the idea of higher rules that are valid outside have to be introduced. I think I have answered from where comes the moral, God and the struggle, however I cannot address the moral value of being selfish because such assessment is done in the structure outside the human being and from that perspective selfishness is always immoral. Along the same lines, assessing the moral value of selfishness from the subjective perspective produce the opposite result. Because a moral system should apply in the dual perspective, it follows that it cannot assess concepts that are not part of the duality like itself.

1 comment:

  1. There is nothing wrong with egoism. That word has been misunderstood through centuries but the word comes from the greek EGO ( I ). To be egoist in the HIGHEST sense means to love ourselves, to develop our capacities. No one develop his or her capacities just for himself because the human evolutionary design implies that we have to teach what we know in order to keep growing. Pedagogy is a natural step in the human growing and origin the most beautiful relationships among humans.Unfortunatelly the word selfish or egoism are commonly understood in the worst sense of the term maybe due to Christian or orwelian influences where people is transformed in a herd.