Posted at 10.03.2018
"Humans are selfish by nature" is a generalisation which is both refuted and backed by religions and moral rules around the world. However, from my experience as a learner, I believe that the validity of the affirmation is subjective, a matter of personal interpretation; much like many other honest and moral issues inside our lives. I've selected Christianity and Scientology to demonstrate two major perspectives on this, and I believe they can both be considered to validate this offer, although in very different ways.
The first discrepancy of the statement arises whenever we consider what is meant by the term, "selfish". According to the Collins dictionary, to be selfish is to be "unduly worried about personal revenue or pleasure". Already this is a subjective matter, because who decides what degree of personal regard is "unduly", or abnormal, and therefore considered selfish? The choice viewpoint is present in the Webster 1913 dictionary where selfishness is referred to as "believing. . . the principle motives of individuals action derive from love of personal". This classification can be viewed as to reflect a more positive thoughts and opinions, because "love of personal" implies general respect for one's well being, instead of egotism. I believe in our modern culture we are generally expected to admit the word of power to be an appropriate way of finding fact, but the variations between both of these authoritative sources make me question if it's the most effective way of finding real truth about selfishness. Is it right therefore, to simply allow what one reads in a chemistry textbook as concrete reality? I believe such inconsistencies should encourage us to ask questions as learners, because it is obviously possible that an authoritative, educational source might be mistaken!
Another way of finding fact relating to this is through beliefs. Are humans selfish, in light of either definition, as a result of mother nature? If we are to accept the Collins meaning of the word and put it on to Christianity, i quickly believe the answer is yes. Selfishness is mentioned in The Bible to be a incorrect way of obtaining "wisdom" or fact, informing believers that "where you have. . . selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every other wicked practice. . . [because] such 'wisdom' will not come down from heaven but is. . . of the devil". Therefore that selfishness isn't just a characteristic of mankind, but instead a sinful way of knowing - rather than obtaining fact through God, or faith, and serving others. Thus, the validity of the declaration, "humans are selfish by nature", in conditions of Christianity boils down to; are people sinners naturally? For believers, The Bible also provides the answer to this - "as sin entered the entire world through one man, and fatality through sin. . . in this way death came to all men, because all sinned". This informs followers that we are all blessed as sinners, and thus by faith within the Bible and the fact that selfishness is a sin, humans are indeed "selfish naturally". Even the most selfless or simply godly of serves can be viewed as selfish. For example, if I was to complete my service hours for CAS simply for my personal "ambition" of concluding the IB diploma, I'd actually be looked at selfish and so sinful, because I am applying "wisdom. . . of the devil".
If this is true for the Collins explanation of "selfish", then what does Webster signify by, "love of self applied"? Matching to L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology, this means to "maintain. . . self-assurance in home. . . [because] what's true for you is what you have discovered yourself". This code thus asks its believers not to find truth by faith, but rather through personal belief. This principle can be viewed as selfish regarding the Webster description, or even by the Collins definition if someone else perceives this personal respect to be "unduly", as everyone's real truth is different and no consideration is given to anyone else's point of view. But is this principle selfish naturally or nurture? This is answered in a few form through young children, because they very often act as a result of dynamics, or instinct, instead of developed habits. For example, whenever i was about four yrs. old, the ball I used to be playing with rolled onto my road. My first instinct was not to check for cars, but to get the ball because that was the only thing I was able to perceive at the time. Naturally, I believed there was no risk because I assumed that the ball, which was very important to me in that instance, was equally as significant for everybody else. It had been only when I learned from my parents, characters of authority, that it is dangerous to cross the street without looking which i began to mistrust myself. This shows I normally had a selfish view of the world because of my very own biased notion, and it is only when identified authoritative figures offer an alternative perspective that we mistrust ourselves. Hubbard believes that "nurturing" this self-doubt, and in this framework selflessness, means "you have lost everything", because you no longer respect your own personal conception of the world. However, I assume that if we did not have the ability to consider other's perspectives then we would be blinded by our own self-importance, and of course struggling to write TOK essays which attempt to consider several viewpoint!
Through discovering these alternate perspectives, we can see that even works of service can be thought selfish based on intention in Christianity, whereas in Scientology selfishness might simply signify "confidence in self". However, despite their distinctions, both moral rules validate that humans can be viewed as "selfish by nature" it doesn't matter how one acts, because it is a subject of personal perception and interpretation. If that is so, is it actually selfish for all of us to seek real truth about this assertion, when our motives are based on innate curiosity and ambition?