The Venom in the Veins of Modern Success

Manchester United is 2:1 down. Paul Pogba has the ball on his feet and is making a run into the enemy eighteen yard box. Mikhitaryan is in a better position to score but the Frenchman denies the Armenian a pass, opting to shoot for goal but can’t convert his attempt.

Pogba’s selfishness squandered that big chance and brought down United’s hopes for silverware. Had he opted otherwise, the Red Devils may have ended the season with something in their hand.

Selfishness is the state of being excessively or exclusively concerned for oneself or one’s own advantages, pleasure or welfare without regard whatsoever for the interests of others.

From the religious and moral perspective, selfishness is an outright vice. However, the philosophy and psychology of success view it rather differently. John Locke is among thinkers who argued that selfishness is a social virtue and a root for social progress.

Propounding that excessive concern for self has fueled divergent views within religion, testing human tolerance. It has charged contradistinctional ideas in philosophy, psychology, economy, evolutionary contexts and political contexts, increasing the bulk of knowledge and engineering the great multimillion dollar education industry. 

In recent years, jealousy, the epitome of selfishness has been instrumentally indispensable in hitech acceleration in the  fields of Information Communication Technology and the automobile. Thus easing transport and communication, even giving them a touch of convenience, efficiency and speed.

Music, film and sports have witnessed exciting developments because of this super effective fertilizer, selfishness. The acid desire for success in this fields of entertainment and others not named is catalyzed by a me first me all attitude.

However, the merits of selfishness there above and wherever else they may be do not give it the magnitude required to qualify it as a social gem.

Wars and conflicts; political or economic or religious, social or cultural, and acts of corruption; moral and in kind are offsprings of selfishness. These beget holocaust, genocide, massacre and poverty and the pandemic AIDS status.

In all fields characterized by competition, but especially in politics, selfishness is an almost ‘necessary evil’. It produces bitter jealousy, hatred, torture and fatally death. The volatile political atmospheres of many young democracies in majority of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America can testify to this.

Going back in time, the murderous inquests and witch hunt of the dark ages vividly portrays how blinding selfishness can be, even to the so called ‘servants of God who walk in His light’. 

It grieves me to hear that up to date there still survive societies, governments, religions and individuals with zero tolerance for beliefs contrary to theirs. It is a daily ache waking up to racially segreggative government policies and populist political movements awash in the media.

Humanity claims to be more civilized today than centuries ago. Planet Earth’s population teems in billions. Nowadays we live in a ‘global village’. A ‘global village’ of vain men and women of all age brackets expending themselves, some to their own financial and social dementation to paint a false picture of themselves to the world.

Someone has five thousand friends on Facebook but has hardly and will scarcely ever know let alone see any of them. Cyber crime such as bullying, fraud and sexual harassment is in the endemic. 

True, more humans are crowded in one place, physical or digital but fewer are really together and connected. Each is buried in the addictive pursuit of self first excellence.

The apostle Paul was right to counsel the Roman Christians in Romans 12:3 that they should not think more of themselves than is necessary. And in Romans 15:3 ‘…even the Christ did not please himself…’ 

Selfishness is far from a social virtue. Neither does it occupy a place in the middle. It is a vice as poisonous as the African Black Mamba. It is the venom that secretes through the veins of modern success.


What do you think?

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