Essay # 1
A selfish man aims at obtaining as much happiness as he can for himself and does not care whether other people are happy or unhappy. In order to attain his objective, he tries to obtain as large a share as possible of the good things around him. Whenever he has an opportunity of doing something that he likes, he enjoys himself even at the expanse of his fellow men.
One can find many notable examples in History by throwing light on selfishness shown by despotic monarchs. They believed that they had nothing else to do in the world but only search for the satisfaction of their different hunger. Selfishness is not only limited to kings and emperors, but also among common people belonging to different sections of society. All over the world, most of the people have a tendency of taking an unfair share of everything and trying their best to use others as means to the attainment of their personal pleasure.
Children should always be taught to share all they get with other children. If such practice is taught from childhood, they are not so likely to grow up selfish. However, the habit of living alone seems to make people sometimes selfish.
Some people are quite foolish to understand the fact that they must always sacrifice their general happiness for the sake of a limited number of not very valuable pleasures. It is quite possible that a selfish man will cunningly persuade his relatives and friends to sacrifice their interests to his. Sometimes a selfish person in a family gets their own wishes satisfied at the expense of the good-natured members of the family who are known to be unselfish and are not expected to dislike any wrong done to them.
Most of us accept that selfishness is both wrong and unhealthy. Acting for only one’s self-interest makes a person selfish. Choosing to pursue the career against the parent’s wish, choosing to have children or not, claiming freedom and individual rights rather than living under strict rules, shows the selfish nature of a person. Even ordinary things such as breathing, eating, and avoiding an approaching car while crossing the street can be counted as selfish acts. However, such acts are necessary for human survival.
Essay # 2
Proper self-love and self-respect.
Selfishness is self-love carried to excess.
Selfishness is the root of all sins.
Unselfishness has to be learnt.
Unselfishness leads to true happiness. Selfishness means unhappiness.
Selfishness must not be confused with self-love. A proper amount of self-love and self-respect are not only good but necessary, for the moral nature. They are to it what the salt is to the sea-they keep it clean and fresh. We have a duty to ourselves as well as to others, and a man who has lost his self-respect is capable of any mean and dishonorable action.
But there is little need to warn people against loving or respecting themselves too little. The danger is all the other way; for most of us are naturally selfish, and have to learn, often painfully and with a great effort of will, to be unselfish. Most vices are virtues carried to excess. Selfishness is self-love carried to excess. It is this excess that makes selfishness the ugly and hateful thing it is.
Indeed, selfishness is really the root and essence of all sins and evils. All true religion teaches us “Islam,” that is “submission” to the will of God, as the first duty of man. But selfishness is exalting one’s own will even above the will of God. Selfishness is defiance, rebellion; for the god of the selfish man is himself. All true religions also teach that love is the essence of religion-love to God, and love to our fellow men. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and thy neighbour as thyself.” But selfishness is the exact opposite of love. Love teaches us to try to make others happy, to think of the needs, feelings, and desires of others, even to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. But the selfish man thinks only of his own happiness, interest, and success, and cheerfully sacrifices his brethren for his own advancement. Pride, meanness, theft, murder, cruelty, luxury, lust or dishonesty, are forms of selfishness. They are the bitter fruits that spring from this bitter root.
Unselfishness has to be learnt. Since we are naturally selfish, we have to learn to be kind, considerate, sympathetic, generous, and merciful. To become unselfish is, of course, easier for some natures than for others; but all must learn it. We shall not learn it by deploring our selfishness; for that is another way of thinking about ourselves. We must try to forget ourselves, and we can only do this by trying to remember others, and their needs and sorrows and weaknesses.
Unselfishness leads to true happiness. A thoroughly selfish person is rarely happy, and he is heartily disliked by his fellows. But an unselfish person is loved, and only he knows the deep joy of doing well to others.