Selfishness or Selffulness, Does It Matter?

Pepe Estrepo's picture
Submitted by Pepe Estrepo on Tue, 2013-10-22 19:51

Lindsay Perigo’s idea of replacing the concept of selfishness with selffulness, or something similar, is a bright light of forward thinking in a rather conformist Objectivist culture that often treats Ayn Rand as the living God.

What would be the difference now if Rand named her book, “The Virture of Rational Self-Interest,” and followed it up with a whole slew of articles and books on the subject, depicting the lack of a concept for the independent man and woman who just wants to live, and create and enjoy life? Why they didn’t stick with the concept of rational self-interest instead of going, many times, with selfishness could turn out to be a horrendous mistake and tragedy.

Objectivist conformists and dogmatists treat Rand as a God, and because she challenged the concept of selfishness, and wanted to rescue it from the pits of hell, they follow meekly in her lead. Yet how do you challenge one of the most reviled words in the English dictionary, a word used to describe the worst of murder, rape, robbery, pillage, along with people who will do anything in order to seek their advantage?

Can you battle a whole culture and all the institutions with a pea shooter?

Lindsay says the process of reclaiming the concept of selfishness is a lost cause and I agree with him. Much better to invent a pleasing word to describe Rand’s vision. Enemies of Objectivism use the Hitler version of selfishness to smear Rand, and Objectivists, often, make a mockery of the word with their bad behavior.

Along with a change in concepts, another crucial area is how the concept of selfishness has been tainted, corrupted and stained by many Objectivists. Lindsay uses the words asshole-ism, anal-retentiveness and solipsism which equal a new concept: Binswanger and boys. Do I have to say more? Do these creepy crawlers have anything to do with Objectivism except for the fact they claim to have epistemological expertise that almost always results in some fantasy-ridden view of reality like Binswanger’s essay on immigration?

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tvr's picture

If you read my post again you will see that I agree with both you and Lindsay, just not fully. What Lindsay might classify as being a strategy I would call a tactic, but our goals are the same. Trying to establish the meaning of "self-interested" without "selfish" having a corresponding meaning is like trying to establish the meaning of "blue-looking" without "bluish" having a corresponding meaning, or "boy-like" without "boyish" having a corresponding meaning. If "bluish" were accepted as meaning "red-looking", and "boyish" as "girl-like", how would that not lead to an epistemological corruption?

And FYI, my reference to deviancy concerns any person who would take a term that objectively refers to the good and then sexualizes it so as to make it a pejorative. That is what I meant by deviant-minded. My reference had nothing to do with sexual practice or preferences.


If you read my posts you

Pepe Estrepo's picture

If you read my posts you would see that I don't agree with your main points so why go through one of these
exhausting exchanges. Besides, from your posts you seem like an orthodox and rigid type of Objectivist in the
mode of Binswanger, very much in contrast to Perigo's Authenticism, and thus, in support of my self-interest,
I have to avoid you. (Your attachment of deviance to sexuality further convinces me we have nothing in common.)


tvr's picture

You miss the main point of my article, which is that long term, "selfishness" should still be fought for and not be allowed to continue to be accepted as a pejorative, while neologisms have an important role to play in the short-medium term.

My proposed neologisms are just that, proposals. I use them on occasions when they benefit communicating the concept of enlightened selfishness per Rand's definition to the uninitiated where using "selfishness" would result in a closed mind.

Ayn Rand wrote that "Man is an end in himself", so the term "self-endedness" is fitting. I have recently conceded on SOLO that for the deviant-minded the term may be twisted into being an insult with a sexual connotation. There is no term "selfisher", so there is no term "self-ender".

If you agree with the main point, and you don't like "self-ended", then the next question is what is a better alternative neologism. Lindsay has mentioned he has one up his sleeve. If you do not agree with the main point, then I'd be interested to know your reasons why.



Pepe Estrepo's picture


Self-ender? Inaltruish? Are you kidding me?

Anything that helps

Tom Burroughes's picture

Anything that helps reduce the chance of ethical egoism being smeared as a licence for viciousness and so on is a good idea.

Like Minds

tvr's picture


My first article on SOLO was also on this subject:

Let me know if it answers your question.


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