When a vacation by the sea collides with the arrival of refugees

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It doesn’t have to be cynical, neither does it have to be the case that these people did this for bragging rights. Our society has split human motive into two moralistic sides–altruism and egoism (gasp!), where the former is akin to Mother Theresa and the latter is synonymous with taking candy from an impoverished baby (and laughing). However, to assume that anything done in service of a selfish urge is wrong is, well, wrong.

We’ve become so accustomed to thinking in terms of black and white in regards to the dichotomy of human motive that we become shrill when someone suggests selfishness as the motive. Why? The negative connotation the word suffers is not fair. Consider the following: A mother sacrifices herself against some evil so that her child may live. A majority of onlookers may regard her as ultimately selfless; however, let us assume the mother did this because *she* wants for her child’s safety. Her motive was her own desire. Is her goodwill then nullified by her selfishness? Now consider this: A man creates a cure for cancer. His purpose was not to show benevolence to the dying. Choose any scenario as to his motive (money, solving a problem, fame, etc.). Now, do certain scenarios make him more or less good? Furthermore, does the cure itself become more of less good? One last scenario: A woman throws her coworker under the bus (figuratively) so that she may advance in her career. This is also a selfish act. See what I’m getting at?

What I’m trying to say is this: 1) The end does not have to be justified by the motive; 2) Believing someone to be selfish does not imply the negative connotation of cynicism; 3) Being selfish does not mean I am a monster; and, finally, 4) ain’t no such thing as a saint. Humans are complicated animals who are easily misguided by moral absolutes. Moreover, they are animals who created the word “I.” Don’t be ashamed of it. Go be selfish and kiss someone (with their consent, of course).

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