Monday, December 14, 2015

Isn’t Everyone Selfish?

Animals seek their own pleasure and do not think about the consequences to others. Those species that do live together have the fewest appetites to gratify. This clearly shows that selfishness is not only the trait of humans but it is also prominent in animals. The plant species is also the same. They try to absorb minerals and water for themselves first. They even change their directions for getting enough sunlight which decide their growth. “Evolutionary biology is quite clear that “What’s in it for me?” is an ancient refrain for all life, and there is no reason to exclude Homo sapiens,” writes David Barash. .[15]
As I already mentioned any living organism has an intrinsic call towards selfishness. Man being at the top of the pyramid with intellect, reason out this intrinsic nature a bit more intensely for his own self-interest. “Everyone does what he really wants to do — otherwise, he wouldn’t do it.” Or “No one ever really sacrifices himself. Since every purposeful action is motivated by some value or goal that the actor desires, one always acts selfishly, whether one knows it or not.” .[16]
It is pretty clear that the nature of existence catapult a drive in every living organism to take care of its growth, sustenance, and survival. May be we call it as selfishness. However, we need to question ourselves, how can we survive in the competitive world without looking to one’s own needs and progress? It is a healthy note for anyone to be what one ought to be. But some of us go a few steps further than this limit in the world of ‘me and me’ only.

Ayn Rand in her essay, The Virtue of Selfishness, defines selfishness as “concern with one’s own interests.” .[17] It is very dangerous as it leads to corruption and manipulation in the world. A genuinely selfish man chooses his goals by the guidance of reason — and because the interests of rational men do not clash — other men may often benefit from his actions. But the benefit of other men is not his primary purpose or goal; his own benefit is his primary purpose and the conscious goal directing his actions. .[18] For Spinoza, “The more each person strives and is able to seek his profit, that is to say, to preserve his being, the more virtue does he posses; on the other hand, is so far as each person who neglects his own profit, is impotent.” .[19] What I mean by selfishness here is the tendency to seek and promote my own comfort and satisfaction before that of anybody else. They grab the best for themselves before anyone else. Selfish people in this sense are the people who (for instance) always try to get the finest piece of chicken, or the largest glass of wine, or the best seat for themselves.

Dawkin’s argument would substantiate the selfish gene theory that everyone is born selfish and we are selfish at our gene level. The fundamental unit of selection, and therefore of self-interest, is not the species, nor the group, nor even, strictly, the individual. It is the gene, the unit of heredity. .[20]

Thus, I would not hesitate to doubt that it is the man’s selfish gene and the ability to reason which drives him to be selfish and thereby leads to egoism.

(For more details read the book "CSR an Antidote to Selfishness by Joji Valli)
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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Selfishness as the Core Human Nature

Selfishness is a pre-requisite for survival and maintenance for any living being on earth. Richard Dawkins argues that a predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness. This gene selfishness will usually give rise to selfishness in individual behavior. .[5]
To be selfish is to be motivated by concern for one’s self-interest. This requires one to consider what constitutes one’s self-interest and how to achieve it — what values and goals to pursue, what principles and policies to adopt. If a man were not concerned with this question, he could not be said objectively to be concerned with or to desire his self-interest; one cannot be concerned with or desire that of which one has no knowledge.
The selfish person is interested only in himself, wants everything for himself, feels no pleasure in giving, but only in taking. The world outside is looked at only from the standpoint of what he can get out of it; he lacks interest in the needs of others, and respect for their dignity and integrity. He can see nothing but himself; he judges everyone and everything from its usefulness; he is basically unable to love. .[6]
According to Thomas Hobbes, “man in the state of nature seeks nothing but his own selfish pleasure, but such individualism naturally leads to a war in which every man's hand is against his neighbor.” .[7] Hobbes describes man as being naturally vain and selfish. He declares that:
Whatsoever is the object of any man’s appetite or desire that is it which he for his part calleth good; and the object of his hate and aversion, evil; and of his contempt, vile and inconsiderable. For these words of good, evil and contemptible are ever used with relation to the person that useth them….[8]
In other words, man by nature perceives a thing as being good or evil not in terms of how it may affect the interests of others, but in terms of how it affects his own self-interest. Hobbes argued that the basic attribute of human nature is egoism, which inevitably leads to a savage and brutal competition for resources in the absence of constraints imposed by a ruling monarch. .[9] John Stuart Mill Wrote, "Of the social virtues it is almost superfluous to speak; so completely is it the verdict of all experience that selfishness is natural." .[10] Selfishness makes human beings individualistic rather than a social being. Because, man has a code of ethics primarily for his own sake, not for anyone else's. .[11] Human beings operate on this code which is intrinsic to their nature. No one is devoid of this nature. Thus, this traditional understanding of human behavior by exalting a psychological mind-set utterly divorced from anything outside the self. .[12] Hence, there is a need for breaking that core nature which is selfishness. And Dawkins would put it sarcastically yet seriously, let us try to teach generosity and altruism, because we are born selfish. Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to. .[13]
It is almost impossible to think about CSR when people operate with selfishness. The “selfish individual who is the product of the stunted moral development environment is not likely to contribute to the social good,” .[14] because there is very little to be said in favor of an individualism which takes its orientation from a conception of the individual as essentially “the proprietor of his own person, for which he owes nothing to the society." But the next question that persuades us would be, is everyone in the world selfish? What is the level of selfishness that can be noticed around? Unless we delve into the nitty-grittys of this concept, it is difficult to bring an awareness in the society to work for the progress and development of it.
(For more details read the book "CSR an Antidote to Selfishness by Joji Valli)
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Monday, November 9, 2015

Illumine Lights Within… -- Happy Diwali

Lights, lights and lights…
Eyes can see every light that is around.
Different colors and different shapes…
All man-made lights of marketed celebrations and fanfare...
Celebrations are time for rejoicing, forgetting everything…
Just being in the moment, being in the NOW, and forgetting the self.
Are we trying to cover-up something that is within?
Festival of lights will not remain for whole life.
Light needs energy to sustain forever.
Once the fuel is over lights will be out.
Again, the darkness prevails everywhere.
Celebrations are for the moment,
Covering up the real lights.
Where is the real light then?
It is within you.
Light it in this Diwali, that the ego cannot shine.
Light the lights of friendship, compassion, empathy…
That the rays of light within will shine brightly around.
Making your light shone around.
A celebration that is lasting and sharing…
Which needs no money to be spent…
Rather, it just needs a bit of transformation,
Light the lights of love within…
Let your heart radiate lights of love.
It will illumine us all internally and externally.

Wishing you all a happy Diwali.

Friday, July 31, 2015

An Excerpt about Dr. Adbul Kalam from the book "The Canvas of Life"

(About 4 years ago i had written about Dr. Kalam in my book "The Canvas of Life". 
Interestingly, today as he has left behind a beautiful canvas for generations to come, 
my writing has manifested it as a reality. As a proud author, i would like to share an excerpt from the book.)
Click below any link to read the entire book. 

Let us go to a class room. Here I start with a succession
of questions and some of my questions are pretty
arrogant as you can see it and the first question is:
How many of you like A.P.J. Abdul Kalam?
I can see that they jump out of their seats and every
hand irrespective of religion or caste or color instantly
flies in the air. As I see this I feel that even the nuclear
reactor which Dr. Kalam (pioneer and an outstanding
figure him being a nuclear scientist) makes do not react
so instantaneously as the hands of my students. You
can immediately feel the pulse of the youngsters for the
missile man of India who is turning an octogenarian in
less than 365 days. As I see it my respect and admiration
for him vibrates through every cell of my body.
Now I begin to make it more subjective or personal by
asking questions like:
Q: Is he your friend?
A: No.
Q: Is he your father?
A: No.
Q: Is he your brother?
A: No.
Q: Is he your father-in-law? (being aware of the fact he
is chronic bachelor, yet I ask this question just to get
the feel and pulse)
A: No.
And the next question of mine is really crucial and
provocative and I really pick one of the prettiest girls
in the class to answer this question. And that question
Q: Is he your husband?
A: No.
Infact in many classes I even would look for a shy girl
as it is too straight and too personal. But to my great
surprise it has never been so. Well. In one of the classes
a girl straight on my face told me, “If I have a chance I
would consider it as my privilege and it is worth the
effort.” I was really taken aback with this answer and
the tone of her clarity and decisiveness. This answer
sounded me like the saying I have heard in my mother
tongue, “puli onnu perunnathum poocha pathu
perunnathm thuilliyamennu” (it is as good as having
one tiger cub than having the cat delivered ten times
and having a couple of dozen kittens).
Then I asked them if you say he is no way related to
you then why do you have so much feeling and
admiration for him? They don’t give me a paragraph
answer but they give me a very crisp and concise answer
in their native tongue (Tamil) “aavan namma aluthane”
(he is our man). In Hindi we say “vo apana admi hai”
(he is our man). That concise answer has a much deeper
meaning than all your verbal gymnastics put together.
It comes straight from the heart. And that is the
difference. Yes. He is our man. He is the missile man
of India and pride of every Indian who hailed from the
poverty ridden little village of Rameshwarm in Tamil
Nadu. Even for the hardcore Hindutva propagator
whose dharma (duty) is to annihilate a Musalman also
would indisputably say he is our man.
Well. I do a little more postmortem about why they
like him. I tell them that the following reasons that he
is a Tamilian; he was the 11th president of India; a selfmade
individual, is the missile man of India and a nuclear
scientist; a good hearted human being and a
humanitarian; an inspiration and inspiring icon for the
young and old alike are all the adjectives for Dr. Kalam.
But for me only one thing that catches my eye is nothing
but his successful canvas. Dr. Kalam has painted his
canvas so well and meticulously that none of us can
bypass it without giving a look and with loud Wow!
— He is our Man.
Yes. Dr. Kalam we all Indians are proud of you. And
you are the living hero for all of us. I am sure my
readers would unquestionably agree with me and extend
our love and respect for the selfless services you have
been rendering for each of us. Dr. Kalam these words
are straight from our hearts for your dedication and
commitment you have for your country and your fellow
beings. You are the living patriot, humanitarian and
real inspiration to all of us. Your canvas is one of the
most successful, unique and unmatchable — you are
the one in a 1.16 billion. Yes. He is our Man.

1. Scribd - Joji Valli - Canvas of Life
2. Kobo- Joji Valli - Canvas of Life
3. Appannie- Joji Valli - Canvas of Life
4. Rockstand- Joji Valli - Canvas of Life
5. Barnesandnoble- Joji Valli - Canvas of Life
6. Inktera - Joji Valli - Canvas of Life
7. Scribd - Joji Valli - Canvas of Life