I wasn't good enough for abnegation," I say, "and I wanted to be free. So I chose Dauntless." "Why weren't you good enough?" "Because I was selfish." I say. "You were selfish? You aren't anymore?" "Of course I am. My mother said that everyone is selfish," I say, "but I became less selfish in Dauntless. I discovered there were people I would fight for. Die for, even.
It is important that when pursing our own self-interest we should be 'wise selfish' and not 'foolish selfish'. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate.
The dictionary describes a selfish person as one who is 'concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking pleasure or well-being without regard for others.' May we add, a selfish person is often one who refers to 'I,' 'me,' and 'mine' rather than to 'we,' 'ours,' 'yours,' or 'theirs.' This person is anxious to be in the limelight, to be on center stage in life's little dramas. He or she may be a poor listener, or a conversation monopolizer. Selfishness is the great unknown sin. No selfish person ever thought himself to be selfish.
You will think me cruel, very selfish, but love is always selfish; the more ardent the more selfish. How jealous I am you cannot know. You must come with me, loving me, to death; or else hate me, and still come with me, and hating me through death and after. There is no such word as indifference in my apathetic nature.
We have the power to defy the selfish genes of our birth and, if necessary, the selfish memes of our indoctrination. We can even discuss ways of deliberately cultivating and nurturing pure, disinterested altruism - something that has no place in nature, something that has never existed before in the whole history of the world. We are built as gene machines and cultured as meme machines, but we have the power to turn against our creators. We, alone on earth, can rebel against the tyranny of the selfish replicators.
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