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Comment by luciano_dondero on Fake Selfishness · 2007-11-08T10:52:38.000Z · LW · GW

In my above comment at 5:49 AM, the sentence "Whether we chose to declare ourselves selfish or unselfishness" should actually read: "Whether we chose to declare ourselves selfish or unselfish"

Comment by luciano_dondero on Fake Selfishness · 2007-11-08T10:49:06.000Z · LW · GW

It seems to me that this discussion is somewhat misleading. Each one of us members of the Homo Sapiens species operates to pursue his/her own interests, as dictated by her/his genetic code. But in order to do so, we have got to cooperate with some of our fellow human beings. Each and every one of our actions is in some ways a combination of these two typical aspects of our behavior. There is no such thing as a totally selfish or a totally unselfish behavior/action/activity, much less can we talk of a totally selfish or a totally unselfish person -- only extreme psychopaths (of the kind that become serial killers) may get close to represent an exception to this. However, we define selfish or unselfish behavior in others with respect to ourselves, either directly or indirectly, and our perception is inevitably biased. This is particularly obvious in personal relationships, where the pull of the distinct genetic programs mandates both cooperation and conflict -- and we may perceive selfishness or unselfishness in our partner, at times in ways that are somewhat contradictory to his/her intent and/or his/her deeper interests/needs/whatever. Whether we chose to declare ourselves selfish or unselfishness, and try to govern our actions to implement that self-description, or not, again, this is in part related to our genetic pull to fulfill our "destiny" mediated by our experience, culture, material interests, sexual inclinations, and so on. But it seems to me that it would be wrong to actually take for good any such self-description, and it's worse still to actually demand that people be consistent with that. In the end, that's not very far from judging someone's character from his/her zodiac sign...