Egoism contains the word “ego”, which means “I”. That we can think of ourselves as an ā€œIā€ means that we can perceive, understand and reflect ourselves separated from our surrounding. This is the precondition for egoism, but egoism is not a necessary consequence.

Egoism means to act or take decisions prioritising our own good before the well-being of others or even not caring about bad consequences our action might have for others. Some people explain this behaviour as a consequence of living in a world with limited resources and that we always had to fight others to survive. But this leaves out the other option we had and still have: cooperation. And this theory ignores the fact, that we can feel empathy, that we are social beings and always have and will need others. Or we fight against each other, and the winner takes it all or we work together and share the resources there are.

Egoism differs from Self-care in the ruthlessness it implies. Self-care is a healthy consciousness about our personal needs and wishes, which can make us even more aware about the fact, that other people as well have needs and wishes. In an egoistic action I consciously devaluate the needs and wishes of others and put myself first.

Where does egoism come from and what does enhance it? I personally think that comparison of people with some “being better” than others is problematic and seduces people to forget empathy. Also, economics and education that is only about competition and comparison of achievements, without questioning the way towards them, often rewards egoistic behaviour and ignores lateral damages for people and nature.

Is egoism an effective strategy to survive? My personal answer you can hear in the audio. What do you think about the topic? Share your thoughts with us on Instagram!