Quotes about selfishness

A collection of quotes on the topic of selfishness.

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Jiddu Krishnamurti photo

„But even when the choice is made, you must still remember that of the real and the unreal there are many varieties; and discrimination must still be made between the right and the wrong, the important and the unimportant, the useful and the useless, the true and the false, the selfish and the unselfish.“

—  Jiddu Krishnamurti Indian spiritual philosopher 1895 - 1986

§ I
1910s, At the Feet of the Master (1911)
Context: In all the world there are only two kinds of people — those who know, and those who do not know; and this knowledge is the thing which matters. What religion a man holds, to what race he belongs — these things are not important; the really important thing is this knowledge — the knowledge of God's plan for men. For God has a plan, and that plan is evolution. When once a man has seen that and really knows it, he cannot help working for it and making himself one with it, because it is so glorious, so beautiful. So, because he knows, he is on God's side, standing for good and resisting evil, working for evolution and not for selfishness.
If he is on God's side he is one of us, and it does not matter in the least whether he calls himself a Hindu or a Buddhist, a Christian or a Muhammadan, whether he is an Indian or an Englishman, a Chinaman or a Russian. Those who are on His side know why they are here and what they should do, and they are trying to do it; all the others do not yet know what they should do, and so they often act foolishly, and try to invent ways for themselves which they think will be pleasant for themselves, not understanding that all are one, and that therefore only what the One wills can ever be really pleasant for any one. They are following the unreal instead of the real. Until they learn to distinguish between these two, they have not ranged themselves on God's side, and so this discrimination is the first step.
But even when the choice is made, you must still remember that of the real and the unreal there are many varieties; and discrimination must still be made between the right and the wrong, the important and the unimportant, the useful and the useless, the true and the false, the selfish and the unselfish.

William Wilberforce photo
William Wilberforce photo
Ludwig Van Beethoven photo
Arthur Rimbaud photo
Buckminster Fuller photo

„Those with financial advantage reason that selfishness is necessary and fortify themselves even further.“

—  Buckminster Fuller American architect, systems theorist, author, designer, inventor and futurist 1895 - 1983

From 1980s onwards, Norie Huddle interview (1981)
Context: Humanity is moving ever deeper into a crisis which has no precedent. It is a crisis brought about by evolution being intent on completely integrating differently colored, differently cultured, and intercommunicating humanity, and by evolution being intent on making integrated humanity able to live sustainedly at a higher standard of living for all than has ever been experienced by any. Probably ninety-nine percent of humanity does not know that we have the option to make it; we do. It can only be accomplished, however, through a Design Science Revolution.
Those in supreme power, politically and economically, aren’t yet convinced that our Planet Earth has anywhere nearly enough life support for all humanity.
They assume it has to be either you or me, that there is not enough for both. Those with financial advantage reason that selfishness is necessary and fortify themselves even further.

Matka Tereza photo

„If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway!“

—  Matka Tereza Roman Catholic saint of Albanian origin 1910 - 1997

This is a variant or paraphrase of The Paradoxical Commandments, by Kent M. Keith, student activist, first composed in 1968 as part of a booklet for student leaders, which had hung on the wall of Mother Teresa's children's home in Calcutta, India, and have sometimes become misattributed to her. The version posted at his site http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com begins:
Misattributed
Context: People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

Marcus Garvey photo
Anne Frank photo

„Everyone thinks I'm showing off when I talk, ridiculous when I'm silent, insolent when I answer, cunning when I have a good idea, lazy when I'm tired, selfish when I eat one bite more than I should.“

—  Anne Frank victim of the Holocaust and author of a diary 1929 - 1945

Variant: If I talk, everyone thinks I'm showing off; when I'm silent they think I'm ridiculous, rude if I answer, sly if I get a good idea, lazy if I'm tired, selfish if I eat a mouthful more than I should, stupid, cowardly, crafty, etc., etc.
Source: The Diary of a Young Girl

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Marilyn Monroe photo

„I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.“

—  Marilyn Monroe American actress, model, and singer 1926 - 1962

Attributed to Monroe in self-help books and on social media, this quotation is of unknown origin and date.
Misattributed

Greg Graffin photo

„Our faith should be expressed in working toward a better planet for our children and not the selfish, juvenile hope for a better afterlife for ourselves. I don't think anyone is going to Hell, because it only exists in the minds of people who wish ill will on others.“

—  Greg Graffin American musician 1964

Bozell, Brent, Punk Rockers Knock Christmas, townhall.com, December 20, 2013, http://townhall.com/columnists/brentbozell/2013/12/20/punk-rockers-knock-christmas-n1766181, 2013-12-25

Booker T. Washington photo

„We all should rise, above the clouds of ignorance, narrowness, and selfishness.“

—  Booker T. Washington African-American educator, author, orator, and advisor 1856 - 1915

Source: The Story of My Life and Work

Amos Oz photo
Jane Austen photo
John D. Rockefeller photo

„I believe in the supreme worth of the individual and in his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.

I believe that the law was made for man and not man for the law; that government is the servant of the people and not their master.

I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.

I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living and that economy is a prime requisite of a sound financial structure, whether in government, business or personal affairs.

I believe that truth and justice are fundamental to an enduring social order.

I believe in the sacredness of a promise, that a man's word should be as good as his bond, that character—not wealth or power or position—is of supreme worth.

I believe that the rendering of useful service is the common duty of mankind and that only in the purifying fire of sacrifice is the dross of selfishness consumed and the greatness of the human soul set free.

I believe in an all-wise and all-loving God, named by whatever name, and that the individual's highest fulfillment, greatest happiness and widest usefulness are to be found in living in harmony with His will.

I believe that love is the greatest thing in the world; that it alone can overcome hate; that right can and will triumph over might.“

—  John D. Rockefeller American business magnate and philanthropist 1839 - 1937

Steph Davis photo
W. Edwards Deming photo
African Spir photo

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