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Have you ever noticed how some people are more selfish than others? So, the question is are we born with it or is it a learned trait?
SmartSweet1 SmartSweet1 51-55, F 13 Answers Jul 29, 2011

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Without material things, selfeshness maybe would be much less prominent in our lives. <br />
Have u seen the gods must be crazy? <br />
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and anthropologists have been giving monkeys stuff, they started to steal and get angrey.

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Now that's interesting.

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That is a great movie. Who knew what evils could be wrought by an empty Coke bottle? :)

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haven't thought of that movie in years, but it IS one of the best I've ever seen about human nature and possessiveness/selfishness, and funny too

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I think we are all born with the instinct to take care of ourselves as best we can and an instinct to interact with and care for others as well. People are social animals. How the equation plays itself out in one's personality is a complex formula involving environment, culture, upbringing and genetic tendencies.<br />
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I will say this, from my years of observing borderline personalities and personality disordered mental patients where I work, people who are very selfish to the point of narcissism, are often people who, through their formative life experiences, have come to feel that they are very alone with their needs and suffering, that others don't go through suffering like they do and that others are unkind and cannot be relied upon for help and support. People who feel like this believe that only if they manipulate, fuss to get attention and hassle others will their needs be met.

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Wow...thanks for the insight.

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I believe some who are born with a more dominant personality have a higher risk at selfishness if not properly educated. So I guess it's a bit of both.

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You have a good point regarding education. We learn not only academically but from those around us. Those who set examples in a positive way often rub off on those who have had no exposure to sharing etc. :)

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Parents should be that positive example. However, my generation has failed to teach their children. The competition and greed that has changed the world also changed parenting.

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I think it's nature then nurture then experience.<br />
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To start with a babies first reactions are to just get what it needs. If it can grab something it desires(a toy etc) it'll crawl right over and grab it. If there's something it wants but can't get without help, it cries. Selfishness therefore natural.<br />
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Nurture is the all important second step which is developed primarily by the parents. If the parents are feckless and selfish then the child will see it's okay and carry on in the same vain become selfish and have no consideration for others. However, if the parents bring their child up with proper teachings then consideration will be learned.<br />
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Lastly...experience. *sigh*. Now my parents taught me really well. I'm a guy who now feels more natural being considerate then being inconsiderate and selfish. <br />
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I'm the guy that will always check his shoulder when going through a door to see if I need to hold it open for someone.<br />
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I'm a guy that will see someone sat on a side road and wave them in front of me to keep traffic flowing.<br />
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Considerate.<br />
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Then I get days where the flips side keeps happening. I'm walking along and expect the person in front of me to check their shoulder and keep the door open. Nope, I get a door in my face.<br />
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There are days when i'm on that side road and have to wait about ten cars before someone begrudgingly lets me in OR I have to force my way in.<br />
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OTHER PEOPLE cause me to question why I bother being considerate and are therefore a catalyst for making me selfish and inconsiderate. Because when I try to be considerate I get used as a carpet so I change my act believing that society doesn't deserve me to be considerate because in general it shows me no consideration in return.

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Life makes no sense sometimes. Thanks for taking the time to post such a well thought out response. :)

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a little of both, but I think it's learned as well. like alcoholism, there's genetic predisposition, and it seems that kids of alcoholics either become drunks or hardly if ever touch the stuff. If you have a really self-centered parent, you learn to take care of yourself and become really self-reliant--basically blocking them out to protect yourself, which makes you distrustful of others and kind of isolated later in life. If the parent expects you to be attuned to their every need, you become a caregiver and tend to live out that pattern in your life, or you just reject the parent and become rather selfish yourself. If you can look at your parent for what they are, a flawed human being, you have a shot at a normal life.<br />
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My dad has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and my half-sister is basically his housekeeper and maid. I pretty much ignore him, because extended periods of contact with him just cause emotional distress and drama that I don't like to deal with. I used to think that if I was smart enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, etc. my Dad would approve of me and praise me. However I've come to realize that no one can ever get the approval of a Narcissist.

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Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience. It was very enlightening. :)

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i think that some of it comes with are inate senses., to survive among others and some of it is learned. try to do a good deed that doesn't make you feel good inside, so wether we do good in this world or are selfish, everything helps us in the end wether it is emotionally or physically.

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As long as the good deeds are not for self serving motives.

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it is a learned bad trait !! Everyone needs to learn to let go of bad habits and take on new ones.............like selflessness

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agreed

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As babies we are very selfish. Human infants are so selfish and intent upon their own needs that they even seem to believe that their mother is an extension of themselves. Babies do not have the capacity for othermindedness, so we are at our most selfish during our early years of development. Humans don't really develop the capacity for othermindedness until they are beyond the toddler stage. Then we develop an appreciation for other people in the recognition that their needs are as valid as our own, and we begin to develop psychologically beyond the most basic and self serving purposes of the id. <br />
If a child learns and is encouraged to care for others, then usually that is how it will develop. Some children seem to develop a sense of empathy in spite of the most adverse conditions. Some people are very compassionate as children, but they lose that or discourage it in themselves as adults.<br />
So I think the answer is that we are born very selfish. Whether we develop beyond that as we are meant to at a certain age depends on several things. What we are encouraged and learn to do, as well as our own individual personalities.

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Your analysis does have merit. :)

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I think it is linked to our survival instincts. The more competition we sense, the more selfish we become.

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Perhaps, but when it comes to giving of one's time for example, I often wonder why people are reluctant to be less selfish.

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a bit of both? me thinks

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Now there's an objective answer and probably so :)

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learned

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I tend to agree.

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I believe it is learned.

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I'm beginning to think so too.

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