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The Age of Selfishness

s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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6/16/2015 10:19:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
For most of human history, most societies stressed the importance of a strong collective identity with very little emphasis on the identity of the individual.

In an attempt at individuation, the individual has revolted, primarily, in Western culture, indoctrinating recent generations with a greater value placed on independence and personal liberties. However, in our present age, the need for autonomy has led the pioneering rebel further down the trail of self-realization than our founders may have envisioned. It has in turn demonized the collective as the cause of all social ills while deifying the Self. We have gone from seeing God in our collective values to seeing God as unanimous with ourselves.

Lately, I have seen the tendency for extremes, the propensity for our collective psyche to go from one extreme to the other. I believe there is both value in the collective and the individuals that create the collective. I'm not saying the individual has value, exclusively, as a member of the collective but the individual as well as the collective have value in and of themselves and as they relate to each other.

In building a society based, primarily , on the virtues of individuality while dismissing the need for a collective, I believe we are undermining the very foundation of society, namely social cohesion; and, the once integrated whole is lost to fragmentation. We are creating a culture of selfishness, and in so doing, we are investing too much into the notion of self-worth. Selfishness and self-worth in modest doses can be healthy, in unbalanced proportions lead to isolation and death.
slo1
Posts: 4,351
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6/16/2015 11:48:02 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 10:19:29 AM, s-anthony wrote:
For most of human history, most societies stressed the importance of a strong collective identity with very little emphasis on the identity of the individual.

In an attempt at individuation, the individual has revolted, primarily, in Western culture, indoctrinating recent generations with a greater value placed on independence and personal liberties. However, in our present age, the need for autonomy has led the pioneering rebel further down the trail of self-realization than our founders may have envisioned. It has in turn demonized the collective as the cause of all social ills while deifying the Self. We have gone from seeing God in our collective values to seeing God as unanimous with ourselves.

Lately, I have seen the tendency for extremes, the propensity for our collective psyche to go from one extreme to the other. I believe there is both value in the collective and the individuals that create the collective. I'm not saying the individual has value, exclusively, as a member of the collective but the individual as well as the collective have value in and of themselves and as they relate to each other.

In building a society based, primarily , on the virtues of individuality while dismissing the need for a collective, I believe we are undermining the very foundation of society, namely social cohesion; and, the once integrated whole is lost to fragmentation. We are creating a culture of selfishness, and in so doing, we are investing too much into the notion of self-worth. Selfishness and self-worth in modest doses can be healthy, in unbalanced proportions lead to isolation and death.

The 80's were the age of selfishness. Most people today would agree that collective rules and regulations are needed to limit the bounds of human selfishness while at the same time admitting that individual freedom centers around being free from moral bounds when there is no collective benefit or violations of another rights to limit personal freedoms.

Not only that, but society is beginning to take it to the next step by promoting individual payments into the collective to provide a base care for each other in terms of health care, food, and other essentials. That is not a selfish. The collective has become stronger and more relevant as a result.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,291
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6/16/2015 3:13:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 11:48:02 AM, slo1 wrote:
At 6/16/2015 10:19:29 AM, s-anthony wrote:
For most of human history, most societies stressed the importance of a strong collective identity with very little emphasis on the identity of the individual.

In an attempt at individuation, the individual has revolted, primarily, in Western culture, indoctrinating recent generations with a greater value placed on independence and personal liberties. However, in our present age, the need for autonomy has led the pioneering rebel further down the trail of self-realization than our founders may have envisioned. It has in turn demonized the collective as the cause of all social ills while deifying the Self. We have gone from seeing God in our collective values to seeing God as unanimous with ourselves.

Lately, I have seen the tendency for extremes, the propensity for our collective psyche to go from one extreme to the other. I believe there is both value in the collective and the individuals that create the collective. I'm not saying the individual has value, exclusively, as a member of the collective but the individual as well as the collective have value in and of themselves and as they relate to each other.

In building a society based, primarily , on the virtues of individuality while dismissing the need for a collective, I believe we are undermining the very foundation of society, namely social cohesion; and, the once integrated whole is lost to fragmentation. We are creating a culture of selfishness, and in so doing, we are investing too much into the notion of self-worth. Selfishness and self-worth in modest doses can be healthy, in unbalanced proportions lead to isolation and death.

The 80's were the age of selfishness. Most people today would agree that collective rules and regulations are needed to limit the bounds of human selfishness while at the same time admitting that individual freedom centers around being free from moral bounds when there is no collective benefit or violations of another rights to limit personal freedoms.

Not only that, but society is beginning to take it to the next step by promoting individual payments into the collective to provide a base care for each other in terms of health care, food, and other essentials. That is not a selfish. The collective has become stronger and more relevant as a result.

I think a combination of the death of interpersonal communication with the abdication of personal social responsibility to the authority of a welfare system has made people even less motivated to look out for their local neighbor. I'm not so sure that the 80's era of "Keeping up with the Jones's" was exactly good for neighbor relationships either.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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6/16/2015 4:44:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
The 80's were the age of selfishness. Most people today would agree that collective rules and regulations are needed to limit the bounds of human selfishness while at the same time admitting that individual freedom centers around being free from moral bounds when there is no collective benefit or violations of another rights to limit personal freedoms.

Not only that, but society is beginning to take it to the next step by promoting individual payments :into the collective to provide a base care for each other in terms of health care, food, and other essentials. That is not a selfish. The collective has become stronger and more relevant as a result.

I believe there is a faction in our country that began as a backlash to the policies, primarily, of F.D.R. and Lyndon B. Johnson. It came to prominence with the Reagan administration. Its chief goal is a smaller weaker central government; with legislation to defund and in some cases eradicate social welfare, deregulate Wall Street, and lower capital gains taxes, it has garnered the ire of the poor and lower middle class.

The upsurge in social consciousness is, only, the provocation of an already existing element of society who sees its income and benefits being taken away by the increasing power of the top 1% wealthiest Americans. Since the recession of 2008, wealth in America has only grown for the wealthiest households.
slo1
Posts: 4,351
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6/16/2015 5:00:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 4:44:56 PM, s-anthony wrote:
The 80's were the age of selfishness. Most people today would agree that collective rules and regulations are needed to limit the bounds of human selfishness while at the same time admitting that individual freedom centers around being free from moral bounds when there is no collective benefit or violations of another rights to limit personal freedoms.



Not only that, but society is beginning to take it to the next step by promoting individual payments :into the collective to provide a base care for each other in terms of health care, food, and other essentials. That is not a selfish. The collective has become stronger and more relevant as a result.


I believe there is a faction in our country that began as a backlash to the policies, primarily, of F.D.R. and Lyndon B. Johnson. It came to prominence with the Reagan administration. Its chief goal is a smaller weaker central government; with legislation to defund and in some cases eradicate social welfare, deregulate Wall Street, and lower capital gains taxes, it has garnered the ire of the poor and lower middle class.

I agree, but that backlash is just rhetoric. I have yet to see anyone create a smaller weaker central government. It may have been applied in certain segments, but even in the Reagan years government grew. Heck the land of small government shrills, TX, the state institution just ruled that a locality can't ban fracking within the city limits. The small government folks are actually proponents of gov strength and regulation to benefit business owners and elite. That is not new though. That has been what our nation was largely founded upon.

The upsurge in social consciousness is, only, the provocation of an already existing element of society who sees its income and benefits being taken away by the increasing power of the top 1% wealthiest Americans. Since the recession of 2008, wealth in America has only grown for the wealthiest households.

I think we are just ebbing and flowing on a long term battle and the US in the long term will turn more and more to social democracy. The proof is in the pudding. If the Republicans can repeal Obama care and the features such as no preexisting conditions then I will stand corrected, but I don't believe they can or want to do that.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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6/16/2015 6:53:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I agree, but that backlash is just rhetoric. I have yet to see anyone create a smaller weaker central government. It may have been applied in certain segments, but even in the Reagan years government grew. Heck the land of small government shrills, TX, the state institution just ruled that a locality can't ban fracking within the city limits. The small government folks are actually proponents of gov strength and regulation to benefit business owners and elite. That is not new though. That has been what our :nation was largely founded upon.

I agree. Government is just a tool that serves the purposes of the most powerful.

However, power in America has not always been in the hands of the rich elite. We have had a tug of war between the interests of the majority and the interests of the wealthiest Americans. In many cases, the rich have used the social values of the majority to win them over.

I think we are just ebbing and flowing on a long term battle and the :US in the long term will turn more and more to social democracy. The proof is in the pudding. If the Republicans can repeal Obama care and the features such as no preexisting conditions then I will stand corrected, but I don't believe they can or want to do that.

I believe in the short term power will teetertotter between socialist and libertarian factions in America but in the long run the libertarian will exceed. The reason for me saying this is not because I am hopeful of this reality but because I believe we, as a species, are heading away from collectivism. The Renaissance and the Reformation on a global scale and the Age of Enlightenment on a local scale ushered in a new emphasis on the individual, taking away power from the Church and putting it in one's capacity to reason. The symbol for both the Reformation and this fledgling country is the revolution, a revolt against the collective in the form of the Church in the Old World and a revolt against an unelected government by the American colonies. With democracy, we put the power of governance in the hands of the people. Since the Renaissance, we have gone away from collectivism not towards it.
FaustianJustice
Posts: 6,225
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6/17/2015 3:25:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If you want the reason and proof, one look no further than the purse or pocket while out and about.

The cell->smart phone has been the number one tool resulting in society's selfishness. Mass communication on the whole is part of this, however putting all that into the palm of people ill equipped to use it was the beginning of the end for "polite" society.
Here we have an advocate for Islamic arranged marriages demonstrating that children can consent to sex.
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jkerr3
Posts: 177
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6/17/2015 4:17:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/16/2015 10:19:29 AM, s-anthony wrote:
For most of human history, most societies stressed the importance of a strong collective identity with very little emphasis on the identity of the individual.

In an attempt at individuation, the individual has revolted, primarily, in Western culture, indoctrinating recent generations with a greater value placed on independence and personal liberties. However, in our present age, the need for autonomy has led the pioneering rebel further down the trail of self-realization than our founders may have envisioned. It has in turn demonized the collective as the cause of all social ills while deifying the Self. We have gone from seeing God in our collective values to seeing God as unanimous with ourselves.

Lately, I have seen the tendency for extremes, the propensity for our collective psyche to go from one extreme to the other. I believe there is both value in the collective and the individuals that create the collective. I'm not saying the individual has value, exclusively, as a member of the collective but the individual as well as the collective have value in and of themselves and as they relate to each other.

In building a society based, primarily , on the virtues of individuality while dismissing the need for a collective, I believe we are undermining the very foundation of society, namely social cohesion; and, the once integrated whole is lost to fragmentation. We are creating a culture of selfishness, and in so doing, we are investing too much into the notion of self-worth. Selfishness and self-worth in modest doses can be healthy, in unbalanced proportions lead to isolation and death.

to be honest with you I think the last 2 generations have been the least selfish generations in human history. We are the first generations to shun mass discrimination, we've made huge progressions in curtailing world hunger, violence, and domestic abuse. I don't see how you could consider us to be the most selfish.

I see you mentioned God several times in your post, many people today are not religious and as such don't value many of the biblical values that their parents or grandparents may have valued but that doesn't make us selfish by any means.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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6/19/2015 8:55:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
to be honest with you I think the last 2 generations have been the least selfish generations in human history. We are the first generations to shun mass discrimination, we've made huge progressions in curtailing world hunger, violence, and domestic abuse. I don't see how you could consider us to be the most selfish.

First of all, I don't believe bigotry, world hunger, and domestic abuse are uniquely problems of selfishness. Most people discriminate based on group identity. For instance, a white person may discriminate against a black person not based on personal differences but on group or racial differences. The same goes for being apathetic towards the victims of hunger and violence or abuse. Most people take care of their own. Being selfish is not one group, collective, or family's interests against another's but one individual's interests against that of his, or her, collective's.

I see you mentioned God several times in your post, many people today are not religious and as such don't value many of the biblical :values that their parents or grandparents may have valued but that doesn't make us selfish by any means.

Being selfish is neither unique to religion nor secularism.
jkerr3
Posts: 177
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6/22/2015 5:35:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/19/2015 8:55:15 PM, s-anthony wrote:
to be honest with you I think the last 2 generations have been the least selfish generations in human history. We are the first generations to shun mass discrimination, we've made huge progressions in curtailing world hunger, violence, and domestic abuse. I don't see how you could consider us to be the most selfish.


First of all, I don't believe bigotry, world hunger, and domestic abuse are uniquely problems of selfishness. Most people discriminate based on group identity. For instance, a white person may discriminate against a black person not based on personal differences but on group or racial differences.

slavery isn't selfish? To force someone to work for free at your benefit is perhaps the most selfish thing a person can do. Treating people like second class citizens, telling them they can't eat at certain places or sit on certain buses just so you can feel more superior is very selfish.

The same goes for being apathetic towards the victims of hunger and violence or abuse. Most people take care of their own. Being selfish is not one group, collective, or family's interests against another's but one individual's interests against that of his, or her, collective's.


If you have the money to buy all the food and water you desire and another person is starving and you don't help them then you are selfish.

You make valid points in that hunger and discrimination are societal issues but that just means the society as a whole is selfish by favoring one group over another.

I'm curious as to why it is you think that millenials are the most selfish when we treat people with a greater degree of equality than any other generation. I mean if you treat everyone including yourself equally then wouldn't that be the opposite of selfishness?

I see you mentioned God several times in your post, many people today are not religious and as such don't value many of the biblical :values that their parents or grandparents may have valued but that doesn't make us selfish by any means.

Being selfish is neither unique to religion nor secularism.

I'm just trying to understand why your bringing up God/religion, what relevance does that have to whether people are selfish or not.
JMcKinley
Posts: 314
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6/23/2015 11:13:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/17/2015 3:25:25 PM, FaustianJustice wrote:
If you want the reason and proof, one look no further than the purse or pocket while out and about.

The cell->smart phone has been the number one tool resulting in society's selfishness. Mass communication on the whole is part of this, however putting all that into the palm of people ill equipped to use it was the beginning of the end for "polite" society.

When looking back on societies that we've left behind I don't think any of them would be more polite than the current one. I personally believe that we are living in a golden age of enlightenment and empowerment. Yes there are still major problems with the world, but in almost every way we are better than generations past.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
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6/23/2015 10:47:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
slavery isn't selfish? To force someone to work for free at your benefit is perhaps the most selfish thing a person can do. Treating people like second class citizens, telling them they can't eat at certain places or sit on certain buses just so you can feel more superior is very selfish.

I never said slavery and bigotry were not selfish; I said bigotry was not uniquely selfish, meaning bigotry does not exist apart from group identity. I believe bigotry is indeed selfish because it involves a superior understanding of one's self as it identifies with the group; however, it doesn't stand alone; because, without the group, there is no group identity.

Being selfish is not one group, collective, or family's interests against another's but one individual's interests against that of his, or her, collective's.

Im curious as to why it is you think that millenials are the most selfish when we treat people with a greater :degree of equality than any other generation. I mean if you treat everyone including yourself equally then wouldn't that be the opposite of selfishness?

On social issues, I see we have taken great strides to treat people more fairly. However, on matters of wealth, the middle class is shrinking and the divide between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest Americans is increasing, significantly. We have here in America and around the world the greatest concentration of wealth the world has even seen.

With Libertarians preaching the virtues of selfishness, deriving their gospel from the prophecies of Ayn Rand, they through the popularity of the Tea Party have hijacked our political system, demanding our laws favor the rich at the expense of the poor, bringing Congress to a halt for an overwhelming disgust for compromise.

I'm just trying to understand why :your bringing up God/religion, what relevance does that have to whether people are selfish or not.

I'm using the term "God" in the sense of "highest good", as in idolizing our selves as opposed to the collective.