Ever hear a piece of news and have a reaction to it, only to realize afterwards that your reaction was not socially proper?
Today my brother said he was being bullied in summer camp. Apparently some kid told him his face was ugly then encouraged the rest of the class to laugh at him.
My immediate reaction: HOW DARE SOME LITTLE BRAT INSULT MY BROTHER?!? I WILL HAVE A TALK WITH THIS KID'S MOTHER!
After a few split seconds I had another reaction: lol, kids these days with their idiotic insults
Then I switched back to the original reaction: LITTLE IDIOTIC BRAT DEFILES THE NAME OF HUMANKIND WITH HIS/HER LAME INSULT!
And then: Well kids are kids and they don't have the ability to come up with anything better... they'll learn
Which finally concluded to: Hey, I dealt with bullies when I was a kid, my brother'll just have to learn to do the same thing. It'll strengthen him up if he survives it.
But does this mean I will sit by calmly and allow some random kid to bully my brother? Actually yes I think I will... but at the same time I certainly don't think I would if I had not had a secondary emotional response.
Lately (some time ago) I've been reconsidering what makes a person who they are (nature/nurture). And I say it's the former (nature).
At this moment there is actually nothing I'd like better than to find the kid who told my brother his face was ugly and demand an apology for such insolence. But of course, I won't. A: it'll be pointless since screaming at little children does not look very good and B: I doubt the kid knew what (s)he was doing. So following through my multiple reactions to the news of my brother's bully I've concluded that my instinctive self is of an evil and selfish nature.
It may be cynical, but I stand by the belief that as a person, individually, all human beings are evil and selfish. The only reason we're good is because it's to our benefit to be selfless.
Consider this: You're lost and alone on an island. What do you do? You survive; killing innocent animals. If you're trying to be selfless and vegetarian, you kill innocent plants. If you choose to not kill or hurt ANYTHING, you die. Selflessness kills.
Now consider you're lost but not alone on the same island. The number of prey and resources has not increased. But in this situation it'd probably be a good idea to partner up with whoever else is with you as to increase your chances of survival. Out of selfishness for your own survival, you'd probably be willing to share food and water. If you were truly selfless you'd hunt and gather resources with the other person but eat and use nothing. This results in your death.
Now maybe the other person's a better hunter so you allow them to eat more, to increase their chances of survival since they can increase your own chances of survival. But I truly cannot think of a good reason to offer them more food otherwise. Unless you're just a nice person and would feel bad if they didn't eat more than you (in which case you're only being nice to avoid the guilt you'd feel otherwise).
I suppose in the end I feel like a functional society is the only reason we're even nice to each other at all.
Back to the case of my brother, society has deemed it unacceptable for me to yell at the bully, and... well if we didn't have other people around the whole incident wouldn't even have happened.
This is why I like it much better living on the island in my head. I can be as selfish and evil as I want and it would not impair me IRL at all.