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I recently came across a book with the title ‘conquering the egoist in yourself’ or something similar. That set of a train of thought: What is wrong with egoism? Why do we think that it is bad to be egoistic? Is it even true?

Those are just some of the questions that pop up when I see a title like that.

At its core, every (human) being wants to survive and produce offspring. Without that drive there would be no life on earth. Every animal thus must be selfish. If an animal were to give all its food to another animal, it would die pretty soon. The same is true for humans. If we give everything away, we would die.

So clearly we have to use some of the stuff we get our hands on for ourselves. If we call that egoism, then egoism has a significant positive effect.

However ego can be detrimental, that is when we get too invested in certain idea’s that don’t hold up well. But if our investments (for example a whole career) is too high, then we will cling to that idea even though it might turn against us.

Originally posted at: 2017-01-11
Last modified on: 2017-01-11