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To be unselfish is to be completely Selfish

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/10/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 700 times Debate No: 42107
Debate Rounds (3)
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I'd like your opinion on this opinion...

Only a very deeply selfish person can be truly unselfish.

It may look like a paradox but the first basic thing about being selfish is to be self-centered. The second is to always look for ones own blissfulness. If your self-centered you'll be selfish whatever you do because you are doing it for you, you enjoy it and you feel happy.

A self centered person is always seeking their happiness. You cannot be happy if all those around you are unhappy as man is not an island or made of stone. You are very sensitive to our surroundings, very delicate and a miserable atmosphere will affect you. Therefore the more you seek your own happiness, the more you'll help others to be happy.

An unselfish person is always serious, deep down ill and in anguish. They are fighting to be unselfish when that is going against nature. Only selfish people can be unselfish. When you have happiness inside you can share it. To share you must in the first place have it.

A happy person belongs to himself. Rooted in themselves. An unhappy person needs to belong to something, some group because they have no roots in themselves, don't belong. That creates anxiety as they should belong so they create a substitute belonging. But if you are rooted in a crowd you belong to an impasse; from there no further growth is possible.


From a standpoint of language, the argument is not valid. The terms selfish and unselfish are antonyms and preclude each other.

However, it is possible to debate the harmony of these concepts in different states as they relate to an individual. I will therefore dispute that an individual is better suited to unselfish BEHAVIOR by adopting a selfish STATE OF BEING.

I will begin to refute the claim that a self-centered person will act unselfishly due to self-interest.

The assertion that a person who is self-centered will be interested in personal bliss or happiness does not hold up to scrutiny. Selfish motivation is unique to the individual. No two individuals desire precisely the same things. But if we were to speak in generalities, I submit that selfishness is concerned more often for personal desires and is more likely to be focused on base needs, such as physical resources and pleasures. It is the brutal nature of humanity to desire the tangible more than the intangible.

In nearly every way we can look at human relationships " individual, group, even primitive interactions " the competition for resources, a primary element to the evolution of the species, is undeniable. The scarcer the resources are, the less likely it is that a selfish motivation can give birth to altruistic acts.
Debate Round No. 1


'The terms selfish and unselfish are antonyms and preclude each other.'

Selfish would not be without unselfish. Wouldn't be lucky without being unlucky, grateful without being ungrateful. One can not be without the other.

I would like to thank you for clarifying as I am referring to a STATE OF BEING.

'I submit that selfishness is concerned more often for personal desires and is more likely to be focused on base needs, such as physical resources and pleasures.'

I'll quote my earlier point

'If your self-centered you'll be selfish whatever you do because you are doing it for you, you enjoy it and you feel happy'

and argue again that one may appear to be concerned with personal desires, when really that's the nursery of personal acceptance and inner happiness. Concern in desires is beneficial as in seeking can they realize desires are forever changing and always somehow unsatisfactory; even when it was exactly as they wished.

You were right, we are more likely to be focused on base needs. Is blissfulness/happiness not a base need? Is it not a desire?


Philosophically, concepts cannot be defined without the existence of its opposite. Existentially, though, this is not the case. "right" cannot EXIST without "wrong", but "right" cannot BE "wrong." This is true with the ideas of "selfish" and "unselfish" as well.

Bliss is not a base, or carnal, need. It is a metaphysical need. Without conceding my point that the base needs dominate general human selfish desires, my argument allows even a selfish need for bliss. This is because the physical interactions between people, especially the accepting of selfless acts, are not greatly affected by the motivation to act. Motivation encourages a behavior, but once acted upon the "why" is of secondary importance.

I will now argue that the mechanics of your proposed relationship, namely that a selfish desire for happiness will encourage us to promote happiness in others through selfless acts, is not an effective behavior model.

One is not assured bliss, happiness or any other selfish desire simply by being in the presence of someone who is happy " even if our actions are the root cause of their happiness. While that may sometimes occur, it is not an absolute. Likewise, one is not assured that any selfless acts will promote happiness in others. Too many other factors influence this.

A person who is selfishly motivated would be compelled to act in a way to assure, as much as possible, that his desires are fulfilled. It would be a tremendous waste of energy with inconsistent results to act selflessly in order to satisfy selfish needs.
Debate Round No. 2


Shelley113 forfeited this round.


I will also forfeit this round for the sake of fairness.
Debate Round No. 3
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