It is effortless to describe altruism and egoism in their pure forms. Altruism is the selfless actions of a person for the benefit of another; egoism – human actions aimed at maximizing benefits for themselves, ignoring others’ interests. The films and books The Hunger Games demonstrated that selfishness could be useful for the survival of an individual, but the manifestation of altruism can inspire people and give them strengths (Collins, 2011). However, ordinary acts regularly performed by people in everyday life, and rated by others as selfish or altruistic, are not absolute but have mixed natures.
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Hybrid nature means that in any acts, selfish or altruistic, one can find features characteristic of the opposite. Good can be done in the name of personal interests, and evil – for the sake of some goal, regarded as a universal good. People regularly show altruism, guided by selfish motives, and vice versa (Yong, 2018). For these reasons, I believe that these concepts do not exclude each other, but are interconnected, and in ordinary life, it is necessary to find a balance between them. Such a balance will allow a person to both perform charity acts and take care of themself.
Based on these philosophical concepts, some political doctrines also arose. Ayn Rand created a philosophy of rational individualism, according to which the main human desire is personal happiness (LibertyPen, 2009). I do not believe that such a philosophy can completely undermine America’s moral values. The moral values that we are guided by today also include respect for personal life, and if somebody chooses happiness as the goal of life, one should not intervene. Nevertheless, the opposition of individualism, collectivism, allows establishing a particular framework beyond which even a person striving for happiness should not go through.
Thus, I believe that it is essential not to go to extremes – a person can implement desires, and if there is no harm to others, he or she is free in actions. If somebody continually suppresses individual aspirations, serving others, he or she will not be able to unlock personal potential. Individualism and collectivism, as egoism and altruism, should not be perceived in pure form. Attempts to please everybody at the cost of one’s personality, as well as the desire to achieve the goal at any price, will ultimately bring no positive results.
Collins, S. (2011). The hunger games trilogy. Scholastic.
LibertyPen. (2009). Ayn Rand – Objectivism vs altruism [Video]. YouTube. Web.
Yong, H. (2018). Confucian ethics: Altruistic? Egoistic? Both? Neither? Frontiers of Philosophy in China, 13(2), 217-231. Web.
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