Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions


Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 22

The term selfishness refers to the excessive and immoderate love that someone feels about himself and which makes him take disproportional care of his own interest. Therefore, someone who is selfish does not take any interest in his neighbor’s needs and governs his acts in accordance with his absolute convenience.

We people do not behave usually generously nor selfishly all the time, we rather find ourselves in an intermediate point in which we act depending upon several factors, including our vital moment.   

A great many times we ask ourselves the following question: Am I being selfish if I do or do not do this? This issue arises when someone makes a reasonable request and we need to assess whether we agree or not, when saying yes means a cost or when we think of ways to help which may or may not be excessive for the responsibility we have. We surely have gone through moments in which we have asked ourselves that question, and the answer to that question is very often not easy.

A common and selfish reason for not helping is the fear of showing weakness, of trying and exposing ourselves by feeling that our action is not very helpful. People that behave selfishly believe that their environment tries to belittle their work and potential. These are typically not tenacious people when pursuing their goals, who might even think that  success will always be on their side, without caring about who they might have to get rid of on their way to achieving it. 

These kinds of individuals prefer easy criticism and stabbing someone in the back. Deep down they fear being wrong and they do it from the distance so that reality cannot spoil their idea of how they have shaped the world in their heads. One of the most important and evident defects of somebody who is selfish has to do with the lack of humility. Humility is a precious and human virtue, it is also necessary to grow as human beings and sociable individuals with our environment. Egocentric people will only abandon this potential and try to highlight and enhance their achievements instead. 

They are afraid to take risks; they do not consider failure because they never get exposed to it. Of course, they do not hesitate to criticize in a hard or stern way, when others do not achieve their goals. They are the first ones that will tell you: “I already saw that coming…” 

The lack of solidarity is the attitude of social indifference of that person who lets himself or herself be carried by individualism and looks elsewhere, avoiding by doing so getting involved in social issues in which he or she could do his or her bit for the construction of the common good. It shows the emotional distance of the one living imprisoned in his or her own comfort bubble to live worried about his or her own ego. 

It can not only be shown from a physical point of view but also through the emotional attitude. For instance, someone may not show his or her collaboration towards a friend who is going through a tough personal moment whereas solidarity enhances mutual collaboration and reciprocal support for the well-being of the community. On the contrary, the lack of solidarity shows the attitude of that one who evades his ethical responsibility as a person. This might be a one-time attitude or go on in time. However, it has negative consequences on a personal level; one of the most remarkable ones might be loneliness.  

The indifference of people before the needs or calamities that one person or a community in general might be experiencing. In the face of these things one must not only feel moved and bad for the unfortunate people, but do something about it. Concerning major catastrophes population in general usually responds positively, as do Governments. Poverty is one of the greatest enemies of disasters because victims are ultimately those who are left in sheer helplessness and lack the contacts and strategies they need to face what they lost. On the other hand, before the possibility of disaster risk, Governments should implement action protocols, since those establish the way of proceeding before each action: what type of assistance is needed at a given moment: it is not the same in an earthquake, in a forest fire or in a flood.  

In times of crisis an organizer is always required. Someone who defines and communicate what the needs are. The problem arises when Governments improvise and society finds itself at a crossroads of not knowing what to do.  

For all of these reasons we live in a world where solidarity is very rare, but it is known worldwide that people go out to help on a massive scale when a major catastrophe occurs; it is an expression of solidarity. That one who was not injured feels obliged to collaborate that one that was injured. Political issues should always be put away from disasters, which means; discussing whether aid should or should not arrive due to any given reasons. Broadly speaking, Civilian protection, the Fire Brigade, the Military Emergencies Unit, the State Security Forces and Corps, etc. are ready to face such events, they have been proving it with efficiency all along. 

Domingo Pérez Auyanet