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Selfishness: A natural human tendancy

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Kenan Besen

on 9 June 2015

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Transcript of Selfishness: A natural human tendancy

works cited
"CAPITALISM: Capitalism Is a Social System Based on the Principle of INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS." The Capitalism Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 May 2015.

Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. London: Faber, 1954. Print.
Martel, Yann. Life of Pi: A Novel. New York: Harcourt, 2001. Print.
"Louis XIV." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 09 June 2015.
Cause of selfishness
The first primitive nature of all organisms is to survive. The human species is no different, our first instincts are naturally geared towards living. To quote from the novel Life of Pi, “When your own life is threatened, your sense of empathy is blunted by a terrible, selfish hunger for survival” (Martel, 151).
Examples in The Lord of the Flies (cont.)
Another example in The Lord of the Flies is a further argument between Jack and Ralph over the importance of rules, as Jack retorts," We don't need the conch anymore. We know who ought to say things...it's time that people knew they've got to keep quiet and leave deciding things to the rest of us" (Golding 102) Here, Jack clearly states his case for a totalitarian rule, one which can only be based around personal greed. It also supplements the theme in the novel that once in a survivalist environment, humanity will shift away from civilization and towards a system dictated by personal gain for the sake of survival.
Historical Example
A primary historical example of human selfishness occurred in West Europe, from 1450-1700. Here was the establishment of absolute monarchies, monarchs who felt that they had divine power vested in them by God to govern a nation single-handedly. Clear examples of absolute monarchies during this time period include the French monarch Louis XIV, who famously stated "I am the state". Other examples include the Spanish King Ferdinand, who encouraged and funded many voyages of exploration while maintiaining complete control of his country. In England, King George the III tyrannically taxed the American Colonies without allowing the colonies to have any representation in his government
Modern Example
A modern example of human selfishness is the primary global economic system, known as capitalism. Capitalism is an economic system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit. Capitalism is a perfect example where the wealthy and those in power prosper due to a supreme sense of self-motivation, while the less privileged and wealthy struggle to provide. Capitalism is structured around the goal for the rich to get richer, without maintaining any responsibility for the lower classes. A specific example of selfish capitalism in modern history is the Bernie Madoff scandal of 2008. The scandal uncovered the greatest ponzi scheme of all time, as Madoff had facilitated more than $170 billion through his fraudulent accounts.
Selfishness: A natural human tendency
Selfishness in The Lord of the Flies
William Golding's Lord of The Flies, written in 1954, provides a great context for the theme of human selfishness. A good example of this occurs after Jack and Ralph experience a conflict about implementing rules, as Jack exclaims,"Bollocks to the rules! We're strong-we hunt! If there's a beast, we'll hunt it down! We'll close in and beat and beat and beat-!" (Golding 91)
This quote relates to the notion of human selfishness through Jack exclaiming that because the boys possess strength, they are able to hunt for themselves rather than cooperate together and function as a society. This represents humanity's primitive instinct to simply hunt for personal survival rather than the ability to cooperate in a survivalist state.
this video provides an explanation as to how human's are scientifically affected by power
Historical Example
Another example of selfishness is slave trade from the 16th century to the 19th century. The English wanted to make money off their natural resources. This desire for resources led to a clear exploitation of colonized countries in Africa. To add to this, the Europeans satisfied their desire for personal wealth by establishing a system of forced labor. Not only did the English make the slaves do hard labor, but they also forced the slaves into harsh living conditions and work environments purely for monetary gain.
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