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Selfish Beings

November 7, 2008

I have a female friend. She is a classmate of mine since first year. Little did I know that we share the same familial views, yet we disagree on most political issues and philosophical matters. We usually argue a great deal on matters concerning business. Like me, this friend of mine— who I’m sure does not want to be named here— wanted to be a businesswoman someday. Like me, she’s also a struggling law student.

But for the sake of this blog, let’s call her Jungle Girl or JG. I used to call her jungle girl because of some of her ‘barbaric and out of this world’ views. We usually debate on anything under the sun. Despite our philosophical and personal differences, I and JG have a lot of things in common.

About five years ago, she vowed not to see and talk to her parents forever. She’s not that tough-looking lady, but when you get to know her deeply, you would be shocked to know her “eccentric” personal convictions. Like a woman scorned, JG was deeply disappointed when her parents refused to give the needed capital to start her own business. A graduate of business course of a good university, JG’s childhood dream is to become a businesswoman someday. Of course, her primary ambition is to be a lawyer. And she confidently knows that she will definitely become successful in business.

She belonged to a clan that does well in business in their province. Her parents make good money; however, they don’t know how to encourage their children to follow their footsteps or to even exceed what they have achieved. Instead of inspiring them to stand independently, her parents even discouraged them. This pissed her off. From then on, JG promised not to see her parents anymore.

I understand her situation and I know what she feels about her parents. I’m not that close to my parents because I was not raised by them. It was my caring and kind grandparents who raised me. They may have failed to impart to me some conventional ‘Christian values,’ but I honestly believe that they did well in showing me the right direction. I don’t believe in self sacrifice and altruistic values which are cherished by the Christian faith. I don’t believe that it is your duty to serve others and that it is your duty to love all human beings indiscriminately. That is impossible. To demand the impossible is immoral, because one cannot put the interest of others above his own and above those of people he values.

We share the same convictions and beliefs when it comes to these matters. And I think JG is more cruel and ruthless than I. One day we took notice of the plight of beggars mooching in the streets of the city. She told me without blinking an eye— “Let them die!”

In response to the communists and socialists in this country, I told her: “Let them suffer and die in vain…” I said this because these people believe in suffering. They talk much about freedom and individual rights yet they subscribe to a philosophy that totally ignores the rights of man.

JG works in a call center. In order to earn extra money, she also sells bread in their workplace. She’s also took a part-time job with a popular law firm in order to enhance her legal writing skills and earn more extra money. See? How can she not get rich with that kind of attitude. She’s selfish according to objectivist definition and not according to the lexicon of our time. She’s not ashamed to tell these things to some of her friends. I admire her for being what she is. She has to do what she does in order to support her studies. She’s unlike most call center agents who live an extravagant lifestyle, spending the money they have slaved for like there’s no tomorrow. JG told me that she has to think tomorrow.

There’s no doubt she’s good at selling and marketing. And there’s no doubt, too, that she will do well in business. We share the same beliefs in business. I, too, would like to put up my own business. I have told my mother about my business plans but she just gave me a minute-long lecture over the phone. Instead of encouraging me to pursue what I do best, my mother even tried to discourage me. I’m not asking for seed money for drugs or to support my lavish lifestyle. I’m asking— no, borrowing money— to start my own business. I’m honestly thinking of my own future.

I followed what JG did. I swore by my life not to ask for money anymore. In business, one just has to be patient, competent, and honest. An employer is one who values competence. And an employer values competence by paying the right salary to his/her employees. Otherwise, such an employer can never keep the good ones. This is an open credo in a capitalist society.

First, capitalists compete over good and competent employees. They have to attract good workers who will work for them. Then they compete over consumers or clients. You cannot keep your employees by just being good with them. They have their stomachs to feed. Other employers miss this point.

As for the employees, it is their personal duty to give their services to the highest bidder. They don’t work to do charity works. They are working for their personal, selfish purpose— to stay alive.

There’s no such thing as altruism in business or in a capitalist world. When I told this to my former colleagues— that “I am selfish”— they gave me a baffling look. And I was amused at their reaction, as if I uttered a heretic statement.

Based on the conventional standards and the moral code of this society, JG and I can be considered as contemptible individuals. I don’t care being called contemptible and selfish. In fact when someone called me selfish, I simply took it as a compliment. I am selfish, and I don’t have any plan to give a single penny to a charitable institution. I give whenever I selfishly believe that I have to give.

JG also shares the same view.

One day I told her, “we may be selfish but we do not abuse others.” At home JG never treated their housemaids indifferently. I don’t treat people indifferently. I complain whenever I feel that my rights are being trampled upon. However, JG is the one who would pursue her ambitions by hook or by crook. In regard to this matter, I rest my case.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 29, 2010 3:38

    Hey, I just wanted to write that page is not working correctly with Safari

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