We are at a pivotal moment in society where the future of humanity will ultimately be determined. One school of thought believes that all individuals are selfish and there is nothing that will ever change that. These individuals abide by the philosophy of Egoism, and their actions are generally motivated by self-interest. In contrast to this mentality, the philosophy of altruism believes in the good that exists within each individual. These individuals are often philanthropists and idealists who would give you the shirt off of their back.
Unfortunately, humans are often creatures of imitation. Throughout the development of civilization the Egoists have ruthlessly held power, leading to a society of micro-Egoists. These people are needlessly selfish with the hopes that it will further them in life or enhance their social status. The Altruists still exist, too, but they are seldom the ones with money and power and thus their altruistic acts go unnoticed…we only hear about the selfish Wall Street CEO’s and the latest phone company merger.
Looking toward the future, we will probably always have Altruists and Egoists in some concentration. If things do not change, the Altruists will slowly become an artifact of the past while the Egoists will prevail. This may seem like the best outcome to an Egoist, but is it? Would a world composed strictly of selfish and greedy people and extreme social inequality really be a world worth living in?
Lets consider the alternative – a world filled with Altruistic philanthropists. Social inequality is much less exaggerated because of philanthropic acts. To be clear, I’m not talking about Communism or any scenario where the government regulates wealth distribution. I’m talking about people uniting to do the right thing for our planet and all of its present and future inhabitants. The system only works when the tipping point is reached. Letting the Egoists run wild will only serve to encourage wasteful consumerism and destroy the environment.
I consider myself strongly altruistic at my core, although I do not have much that I can physically give. For now, I dedicate my time and my thoughts to finding solutions for the issues we are currently facing. I see Altruism as a fail-safe way to ensure that the quality of life worldwide continues to increase. This is not to be confused with the standard of living – the two terms are not the same. I believe the former should always increase while the latter has already increased too much…but this is a discussion for another day.
What do you think about Altruism/Egoism? We will always have both, but pretty soon the bucket is going to tip one way or another. What would you like to see more of?