The 1980s have been characterized as a period of selfish individualism that threatens the cohesion of society. But th...

on July 28 at 03:29PM

can i please get a explanation on this question please

how is selfishness being used in two different ways?

2 Replies

Shunhe on July 29 at 12:27AM

Hi @Masada,

Thanks for the question! So let’s recap what the stimulus is telling us to figure out how “selfish” is being used in two different ways. First, we’re told that the 1980s have been characterized as a period of selfish individualism that threatens the cohesion of society. But, says the author, this is true of any time in history (this is the conclusion). The author then goes on to say that throughout history, all human actions have been motivated by selfishness. And when we consider deeper implications, then even acts that we think are “unselfish” are actually selfish concern for the human species

Now think about how the author used the word “selfish” in the first sentence. They were talking about “selfish individualism”; in other words, a kind of “every person for themselves” policy. So this kind of selfishness is referring to people being selfish/greedy and acting in their own self-interest on an individual level.

But now let’s look at how the author uses the word “selfish” in the last sentence. There, the author is talking about “selfish concern for the human species.” So that’s acting in favor of the species, which is definitely not the same thing as being motivated by selfishness for yourself. Acts of altruism, for example, might be “selfish concern for the human species,” but definitely aren’t “selfish individualism.” This second use is more of a “for the greater good of humanity” type thing. And so there are two different uses of the word “selfish” here.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions that you might have.

on October 1 at 02:58PM

thank you very much!