Home Life Challenges Uncategorized Why are human beings greedy and selfish?

Why are human beings greedy and selfish?

Q: Why are human beings so greedy and selfish?

A:  We probably picked up these instincts from our earliest primitive ancestors, when life was such a great struggle. There probably was a time when these instincts were of use to us in an evolutionary sense. Or maybe these drives are things that were meant to be corrected by Adam and Eve...and we missed out because of the default

Nonetheless, we see this around us every day. We see it in our toddlers and we help them grow up to understand that sharing is better...some folks don't get the message, or they just don't choose the better way. I think your blanket assessment of humanity may be a bit dim, though. It seems to me that not all of humanity suffers from these problems, although many do suffer when these traits are allowed free rein...

The Urantia Book says that "social peace" will be a cure for fear and greed. Well, all we have to do is look around us and see that that goal has not been achieved...our societies are anything but peaceful. As a result, we have selfish people, and even governments and societies.

52:6.4 Brotherhood is impossible on a world whose inhabitants are so primitive that they fail to recognize the folly of unmitigated selfishness. There must occur an exchange of national and racial literature. Each race must become familiar with the thought of all races; each nation must know the feelings of all nations.

And I think that could be said of our fellow brothers and sisters. We need to get to really know each other better, and ignite that flame of true brotherhood with one another on a personal level, too..

Chronic selfishness and greed are marks of people who are spiritually immature...material-minded people who are fearful of tomorrow, and worried that there is not enough to go around. And such a one can't "transcend the selfishness of personal interests unless he meditates in the presence of the sovereignty of God and reckons with the realities of divine meanings and spiritual values."

103:2.10 Man tends to identify the urge to be self-serving with his ego—himself. In contrast he is inclined to identify the will to be altruistic with some influence outside himself—God. And indeed is such a judgment right, for all such nonself desires do actually have their origin in the leadings of the indwelling Thought Adjuster, and this Adjuster is a fragment of God.

Probably most of us have been both greedy and selfish at one time or another—especially in our youth. I know that I can plead guilty to both...but the good news is that we all have the choice to be unselfish, and following the Adjuster's guidance is important, for it opens the heart and soul:

102:3.3 Material feelings, human emotions, lead directly to material actions, selfish acts. Religious insights, spiritual motivations, lead directly to religious actions, unselfish acts of social service and altruistic benevolence.

Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in that it: ...Contributes to the continued survival of altruism in spite of human selfishness, social antagonisms, industrial greeds, and political maladjustments.

I guess I can think of reasons that we might have these unfortunate emotions, but I can't explain why some choose to harbor and feed them, except to say that I think a lot of that is driven by unreasoned fear, which is really a lack of faith. And as we see above, faith is a key element for overcoming selfishness, But I do know that we all have a choice. The more the truths of the Kingdom permeate our societies and our lives, the less we'll see of greed and selfishness. In the meantime, we can try to be a good example for others in the way we live by keeping the flame of altruism alive.

Thanks again for writing to us with this question. I hope my reply is helpful...

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:: Author: Staff