What is selfishness? We tend to use this word very loosely. If some one desires something strongly and acquires it – which he is not prepared to share easily with others – we immediately tend to call him selfish. Is that actually selfishness? Working for wealth, larger income, greater comforts, additional possessions, sound financial security, stability in life, self preservation, emotional security, better education for children, better family welfare, more pleasures in life etc …. None of them can be classified as selfishness! They are all simple mechanisms of enhancing one’s own survival potential against the possible future challenges in life.
Some people argue that selfishness is the basic drive behind all human actions – that there is a selfish motive behind every simple action of a human – be it in friendship, marriage or even worship of God. Even falling in love has a selfish motive. A mother’s or parental love has hidden selfish motive to get back something in future from their children. All these arguments betray nothing but ignorance. Self preservation and self enhancement can never be called selfishness – as that is the basic instinct – the absence of which can be called unnatural. Ambitions and aims of life can never be classified as selfishness – as that is the purpose of life. Then what is selfishness?