Selfishness Is Learned

  • metta

    Posts: 38644

    Jul 09, 2016 1:30 AM GMT
    Selfishness Is Learned
  • bro4bro

    Posts: 992

    Jul 10, 2016 12:12 AM GMT
    Anyone who thinks selfishness is not a natural human instinct has never been around very young children.

    For the first few years, a child's world view is extremely self-centered. Every parent goes through hell to teach a child to share. If it's default behavior later in life, it's due to strong programming from an early age that's very difficult to overcome - the same way toilet training makes it nearly impossible for many people to willingly piss in their pants.

    The researchers also seem to be quick to jump to a convenient conclusion rather than examining all possibilities. In the "public goods" game, for instance, they took the stance that forcing people to make a quick decision reveals their fundamental nature, when it could just be that adults have learned to make a value judgment that says sharing with others is a more expedient way to get to a desired result.

    Either the researchers are naive, or they're force-fitting the results to support their predetermined conclusion. In psychology, that seems to be the prevailing strategy.
  • Fireworkz

    Posts: 606

    Jul 10, 2016 6:20 AM GMT
    Young children grow up. Each stage of child hood had its own needs and different behaviours. A child needs to be selfish to establish its own wants and needs. It then grows out of this phase and learns to socialise with others children don't remain naturally selfish. Most organisms rely on cooperation all the way from single cell organisms to human beings.
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    Jul 11, 2016 8:20 PM GMT
    I'd think selfishness & generosity can be learned but that there's a genetic component. I was always generous with my toys and that was from even before I learned about sex, so much so that even when I was a little kid I remember myself feeling badly for my friends whose parents didn't throw them birthday parties even back in the single digits. It affected me so much that I'd be sad for them during my own party, knowing they didn't get one of their own. So I always looked out for them that they had a good time. Later in life as an adult when I learned of sex I did the same thing. Always made sure everyone had a good time.

    And then as a grown up I watched from when they were kids my niece and nephews and there was a big difference from when they were also in single digit ages. My niece, though a good kid, was always in it for herself, whether playing games or whatever. Strikingly different was my nephew who is like me in so many ways. This kid was always a generous soul. From when he was very little he exhibited empathy and caring for others in great quantity.

    Just a quick example. At lunch one time when he was a little kid, he wanted to show me "a magic trick" or illusion whatever it was with a bill. So I gave him a 10 spot I had in my pocket. He did his little trick. It was cute. And I told him to keep the bill as payment for his performance. He refused. I insisted. Thought I won that one. On our way to the car, he takes the bill and quickly--so this kid put thought into that--he puts it back into my pocket as we're walking. Refused to take it again when I tried to give it back.

    He'd later join the civil air patrol in high school or junior high, whenever that was, and now he's studying to be a paramedic in college so he can help people. This kid was born that way. Outside of learning to defend himself and not letting others take advantage of him, life will never be able to teach him how to be selfish.
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    Aug 02, 2016 8:32 AM GMT
    bro4bro saidAnyone who thinks selfishness is not a natural human instinct has never been around very young children.

    Thank you to @bro4bro for that comment! I confirm that. I though I was in purgatory when I taught elementary school one year! All the ways many of those youngsters did to get attention. Now I have great respect for nannies, teaching assistants and elementary teachers for their extreme self-restraint in dealing with children.