The Weekly Rant with Gary Patella

Thoughts and ideas on various grievances that are relevant to everyday life.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

On Selfishness

It is completely normal for everyone to have some self interest. And sometimes being concerned only with oneself is perfectly acceptable. But selfishness can go too far, and there are too many people that don't know when to draw the line.

In Ayn Rand's works, she constantly emphasises her view that it is good to be selfish. Her philosophy is probably best summed up by quoting John Galt from Atlas Shrugged: "I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

I have no problem with those few individuals that live by this quote. But Ayn Rand was clearly delusional if she felt that this is the type of selfishness existing in the world. Selfish people are not following a life philosophy, and they are nothing at all like Rand's protagonists. When it comes to the real world, selfish people follow the quote only up to the point where they vow to never live for the sake of another. But the remainder of the quote is clearly thrown out the window.

The problem with selfish individuals is that they constantly ask others to live for them. These people will constantly burden others by asking for favours. They will stab people in the back, stick others with a bill at a restaurant, and try to take as much as they can. The selfish people that we encounter in everyday life are nothing like the John Galts and Howard Roarks that Rand created. They are outright human parasites!

Trying to get as much as you can out of others is simply wrong. People are not around to serve you. This doesn't mean that you can never ask another for a favour. But it does mean that you can't live your life relying on others, and never giving anything in return. Constantly taking and never giving is a very poor trait. There comes a point where you have to either give something back, or start learning a little self-reliance.

In summary, if you are selfish, try following the quote. Although, changing your parasitic nature at this point is probably close to impossible, so in that case use someone else. I have no desire to be sucked dry, so leave me the hell alone. As it says in the Nirvana song, "If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to ask someone else first."

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