1: unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others charitable acts motivated purely by altruism
2: behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but that benefits others of its species
Though we’d like to think that we as a society – as a planet of living, breathing human beings – are altruistic. But we aren’t. In an ideal world, we definitely would be and then laws would not be required because we’d truly care about the welfare of others. We wouldn’t steal from them; we wouldn’t take their life; we wouldn’t have abusive situations.
The fact is, we’re all selfish at one time or another in our lives. As good as I strive to be in my own life, I know I have moments of selfishness. Most of the time I regret that selfish moment, because I see how it affects another, perhaps someone I love. If I am totally honest, though, there are times when my selfishness doesn’t have a direct affect on someone I love and it’s in these moments that I truly don’t care that I am selfish.
I see stories all the time of people having their altruistic moment when they help someone from a burning wreck of a car. When they help foil a robber who is trying to take what doesn’t belong to them. I see that happening and I’d like to think that I would stop and help were a similar situation presented to me, but honestly I don’t know.
People are in an uproar these days over the police’s treatment of certain suspects. If you look at the whole of all of the arrests and other confrontations, those who shoot first and ask questions later are but a tiny percentage of the over-all law enforcement community. Something I remember learning in sixth grade (that’s how much of an impression it left on me) that the good always suffer for the bad. In this case, the few police officers who take the law into their own hands give police across the country a dark stain. Sometimes, the case may be that the officer in question truly wanted to take the law into his hands, but there are more, I think, who don’t react as one might expect to the situation and it goes bad. To those who criticize the police forces around the United States, I say this: if you think their job is so straight forward, so clear cut black and white, why don’t you sign up for the job? Police forces are always looking for new recruits because those truly dedicated to the job do retire at some point; others can’t handle the stress; and still others are bad apples that get kicked out. I know I personally could never be a police officer or a military officer. Why? Because I don’t care about perfect strangers enough. I don’t care to offer my life up at any given moment for someone who, in the end, probably wouldn’t give a damn. I’d rather reserve that for those I love, who I know would care.
Altruism isn’t just something we deal with on a personal level – caring about your friends or neighbors. It’s something that is severely lacking even at a professional level. The major on-struggle the United States has with healthcare is the biggest form of selfishness you can imagine. Why is it so difficult for a certain segment of the government to accept that everyone deserves quality healthcare that they can afford? Everything else is being deregulated, but regulation is necessary. Corporate people are not altruistic; not even for a second. They will do whatever it takes to keep profits high, including stomping on the very people on whom they rely for profits. Industries that pollute the environment certainly don’t care about their actions as long as their profits remain the same or increase. And most of all, the rich don’t care about the poor on any level unless the rich are affected by something in equal measure to the poor. It makes me sick to see this kind of thing happening because if it weren’t for the people who slave away at corporate jobs, the company would not exist. How far do you think Jeff Bezos would get if no one bought the products from Amazon? Or how far would Bill Gates have gotten if no one was interested in computing? Even if there were people interested in buying, they both need people in the middle to produce the items wanted. Not one company owner or CEO would have a company to make money from if not for workers. And yet it’s the employees and consumers who are constantly shit on by those higher up the ladder.
No, as much as we’d like to think we’re selfless, human beings are anything but selfless.
Edit to add this article demonstrating how selfish people are. Why pay a disabled worker full wages when you can sign a waver and get away with paying them pennies??