In Response to Hamlet

In response to hamlet

The prime motivation of any living being is to survive, selfishness is the first and mandatory characteristic developed in an infant. the impulse to breath will strike nearly all newborns, the withdrawal from painful stimulus is inherent and the urge for food does not need to be taught. admittedly all these examples have a clear biological and primal root, yet consider the adult’s instinct to crave power or acceptance, to cower from danger or bravely defend, these acts have a similar root. the “self’s” urge to survive can be shown to be the cause of the wide range of dramas, comedies and tragedies played out in human history.

the “self” must be defined as a human body defines the “self”; it is an individual’s body, but also extends to include that individual’s biological and intellectual offspring. the strong urge to procreate is driven by the specie’s need to survive and pass genetic information along to the next generation, in human society information is also passed along in art and technology. thus the “self” may mean a man, his children and his “mark on the world”.

all good and bad deeds, all beautiful and grotesque creations can be traced back to self-interest as the original motivation. the difference between these seeming opposites is the manner in which self interest was sought. well-planned and thoughtful actions benefit everyone but rash and irrational actions injure all involved. For simple illustration imagine a small tribe in a vast grassland, populated by herds of nutritious animals. Food and shelter is hard to come by but available, a young male in the group is able to survive through tedious and often dangerous work, one such hungry male has two options to acquire food. one option is the theft of animal meat or vegetation from other members of the group, the other option is cooperation with the other members of the group in hunting or farming. the first option of theft may provide a large amount of food for relatively little work, but it may be more dangerous than the hunting would have been and eventually the pool of victims will over power the thief or abandon him. the second option can result in a more highly organized plan to catch buffalo or more specialized roles in farming, either way it will increase output or likelihood of success. one option hurts everyone, one benefits everyone yet both options were in the pursuit of the same goal, survival.

the difference between a good outcome and a bad outcome is knowledge and rational minds to interpret that knowledge. given any situation or problem, the best solution will arise when all parties involved have self-interest as their prime objective and apply foresight and wisdom to achieve that goal. morality and ethics help to substitute for perfect knowledge when making these decisions. while the prime objective of all living organisms is the same, their make and circumstances differ greatly, in other words, we’re all different. a young boy in Iceland will interpret and respond to a threat differently than an old woman in a Portuguese mental institute, their widely different life experiences, environments and minds will account for different responses to identical situations. the fact that every human is unique in genetic code, time and space means that there have been trillions of manifestations of the daily driving force of self-interest. these manifestations of self-interest may be simple and obvious or convoluted and multi-tiered. an abused girl will learn to shun affection and warmth as a way to protect her self. a man will seek admiration and respect, which will improve social standing and opportunities, which in turn will aid in his abilities to acquire food and shelter and thus maintain his self. there may also be counter intuitive attempts to survive, such as a drug addict numbing emotional pain which is perceived by the irrational mind as harmful to the self. art can be seen as an externalization of the self, to preserve one’s self not in the DNA of offspring but in writing, paintings or achievements made in gains of human knowledge.

imagine two opponents in court, the plaintiff has brought forth a complaint of a breach of contract against the defendant, the accusation is met with a counter-suit of defamation of character, all the while a judge, bailiff and attorney take their usual parts. there is no doubt, if either side of the case were to win the case they will receive an immediate benefit which they will feel has served there need for survival, the court staff is earning income and contributing to a safe and orderly society thus serving their respective selves. no matter the outcome of the trial these superficially unique and different roles played by each character share one original motivation and through twist and turns of life and biology have come to oppose each other in pulling in opposite directions for the same goal. now given this same situation and characters while also granting perfect knowledge and wisdom the dispute and even the contract would be a moot point as cooperation would prevail. not surprisingly damages or injuries to any one person in any given situation is the result of a lack of the ability to attain and apply knowledge perfectly. another conclusion can be that any true and meaningful benefit to the self necessarily benefits the group that individual belongs to and paradoxically an injury may be a benefit when all factors are considered.

modern man has an opportunity to simultaneously serve all three aspects of his self and obey that immutable drive to survive. a common man living in these last few decades can easily have safe and gainful employment, healthy children and a means to truly leave a mark on the world. in essence the billions year old mandate passed along ancestor to descendant is to survive or most simply put to “be”, this is hardly a question.

What do you think? Amateurish? Illogical? Naive?

I think: :sleeping-boring:

Wow, this post almost put me to sleep. I have read it about a dozen times already, 10 years ago. Tell us something NEW.

Everybody is selfish? Check.
Everybody wants to survive? Check.
Everybody cooperates are not, to increase survival rates? Check.

Everybody wants to read something NEW and INTERESTING that hasn’t been written on a philosophy forum before? Checkmate!!!

I understand the need to entertain and be topical, maybe a Lindsay Lohan joke? Or Jersey Shore perhaps? I wonder how the classics manage to maintain circulation without yearly revisions and bedazzled book covers?

unless i’m mistaken the conclusions i touch upon replaces the notion of human nature as inherently good or evil, it suggests an origin of morality and is in direct opposition to many of the views expressed by people on this forum and elsewhere. so was everything i wrote just that obvious?


I’m off tomorrow (so I won’t be posting) and I don’t have much time tonight. For now, I will just say that I would not be overly concerned with critiques that don’t offer the substance (and, by substance, I just mean specifics, not necessarily length) of your original essay. I plan to be on again on Thursday and will offer a constructive criticism of your essay, if there is even anything to constructively criticize.

Welcome to ILP, PM me if you need anything.

Yes, jam, it really is THAT obvious. Truth be told, this stuff has bee told and retold a million times already. What makes you think Lindsay lohan jokes are new? I am talking about NEW NEW. I am talking about where we are going to be in the 22nd century. I am talking about which energy sources are going to replace fossil fuels this century. I am talking about solutions to quantum mechanics. I am talking about synthesizing multiversal theories. I am talking GAME TIME. Bring something NEW NEW to the table.

You first.