Rational or Antisocial? For the last few years I've focused solely on my own self-interest without regards to ethics or morality. Though I understand the importance of social restraint and exercise it regularly, it's never for an altruistic reason. The traditional Right/Wrong no longer makes sense to me. I've found that under this mindset, things like war, dystopia and all things negative don't seem to affect me on an emotional level as they normally would. I can rely on my ego to maintain mental stability under all negative situations and can then act in a rational manner to overcome them. And also under this condition, I can comfortably commit "wrong" actions towards other individuals if it results in my gain. Though I do view life as being under a constant struggle to overcome a very indifferent environment, I am glad to be alive with the ability to freely make my own decisions. So I guess what I'm asking is why would most consider this lifestyle/mindset wrong when I can live happily and function in society?

You've pointed out that you're quite comfortable committing "wrong" actions if it suits your needs. That should already suggest a pretty clear reason why most people wouldn't be too happy about your outlook. If I were around you and I believed that you really look at things the way you say you do, I'd watch my back. I wouldn't trust you, and I'd be worried that you might do me harm if it served your purposes.

Of course, as stated, that's not a reason for saying that your outlook is wrong -- not unless you're willing to admit that some things really are wrong, and the presupposition of your question seems to be that you aren't. But even here there's something strange about the way you press your point. You ask why people would think your way of looking at things is wrong when you are perfectly happy living that way. But what does that have to do with it? If I'm trying to decide whetheryour way of life is right, I'm not asking whether it makes you happy.

If you want an argument that doesn't make any moral assumptions, but demonstrates that you should give up amoralism, it's doubtful that I can give you one. Although the issues are tricky here, there's lots of room to doubt that we can derive a moral "ought" from a non-moral "is." But even if I could provide you with an argument, that might not do any good. Without the motivation to be moral, all the arguments in the world won't matter.

Still, what you say implies that some things I'd count as evils once bothered you. That suggests that you're capable of the moral sentiments. And you're also asking for reasons, which suggests something else: you recognize the force of at least some imperatives: rational ones. And so I'll offer a couple of shopworn thoughts. First, if there's nothing special about you, then there's something irrational about making a special case of yourself. When people or institutions treat you badly (I'm assuming that happens from time to time) do you ever have the feeling that you've been wronged? Do you ever find yourself feeling that you were treated unfairly or unjustly? If not, there's probably nothing I can say. But if the answer is yes, why resist that thought? If you do a job for me and I refuse to pay you just because I can get away with it, why shouldn't you feel that what I did was unjust, unfair? But if we can get to that step, we can go further. There's nothing special about you or your reaction. If the tables were turned, the person you just stiffed could be expected to feel that they had been wronged. If you're rational, you'll have to admit that their reaction isn't any less valid than yours. If you're capable of empathizing -- of thinking your way into their situation -- you're apt to find their reaction compelling and you won't be able to come up with any good reasons for setting it aside.

This isn't meant to be a proof of anything, and it doesn't pretend to pick out everything that's relevant to what makes things right or wrong. But perhaps it's a way to open the door at least a crack. If you are brave enough to perform the exercise of really, truly trying to imagine your way sympathetically into the situations of other people, it might open a little wider. But I also have a guess: I'm guessing that there's some hurt beneath your words. I could be wrong about that; I don't know you. But if I'm right, letting yourself really come to terms with that, perhaps with the help of someone who's willing to show you some empathy, just might swing the door wide open and let you walk on through.

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