Selfless is another form of selfish

People usually don’t like selfishness. Selfishness manifests in many forms, sometimes as actions which neglect the need of others but sometimes also as inaction and ignorance of others.

By contrast, people admire selflessness. To be selfless often means to be in service to others, and to act with care and concern towards others.

One is often seen as the opposite of the other. It is selfish to be first. It is selfless to be last. Thus selfish is ‘self-first’, and selfless is ‘self-last’.

But what if both selfishness and selflessness share a common ground? What if the basic reason why people display such behaviours is the same?

One of the basic reasons is that either selfishness or selflessness is an attempt to satisfy the self. Selfishness thinks that I will be satisfied when I have or consume something here and now. Selflessness, by contrast, says that life has given me enough and now it is my turn to do something to others. Both forms try to satisfy something in the self. Hence it may as well be said that being selfless is another form of being selfish. Being selfless is not having less interest in one’s own self. On the contrary, one becomes selfless because one knows well what will satisfy the self. Although of course, whether or not the self is eventually satisfied by selfishness or selflessness is a quite different story.