Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Narcissism and Altruism

When I was at a restaurant, a woman sitting next to me started a conversation with me asking “What do you think about narcissistic people?”

My response is that, if you are dealing with a person who cares only about himself, the best solution is to make your interest his interest. Specifically, it is to make it in his interest to care about you and give to you the best of what he has to offer.

Some people are selfish; others aren't. Some people are selfish in some ways and not in others. Some people are selfish at some points in their life but not at other points in their lives. As a being that exists as himself, a part of humanity, and a part of life, the human being will be expected to have an orientation toward all of the preceding. And this will be the case, in different people, in different mixes and at different times in their lives.

If someone is naturally selfish – as many people are – then the way to win is to make your interest their interest. It is to make it in their own, selfish, interest, to care about you. If the person then wants to become less selfish, then it should be possible to deal with that as well. In either case, this is a solvable issue.

Both self-interest and other-interest are inextricable from humanity. This is inevitable. Human being is himself; he is part of humanity; and he is part of life. Both selfishness and altruism will be a part of the human makeup. If someone is fully into himself, then the way to wake him up is to alert him of your own interest as another human being. That being done, it will become more possible to work with him and achieve your goals as well as his.


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