1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself:
selfish motives." --Dictionary.com--
The above is quoted from the dictionary, I've only colored the important distinction in red.
Now lets imagine everyone doing the same thing, in every instance of every difference between peoples; chaos, anarchy! Sounds like human evolution regression to me.
Yes, I agree with your observation.
Selfishness is to be avoided if one knows his/her ethics. As good dictionaries define the terms, one cannot be selfish and considerate at the same time.
Ayn Rand, in her bitterness toward the Soviet Communist experience she escaped from, did us all a disservice in teaching that selfishness = self-concern.
It was a "loss in translation" from Russian to English on her part.
Rand is not that difficult. Here’s a real situation. Two grandkid cousins, tug-o-war over a new toy.
One owns the new toy. She wants to play with it.
The other one has been taught that she must share her toys. She expects others to share with her, on demand.
So grandpa explains it, age appropriate to capacity.
The owner gets to play with the toy as long as she wants, with no pressure.
Sharing does not mean borrowing.
When you share, you first offer.
When you borrow, you first ask.
Asking to borrow does not obligate the owner.
If the owner wants to share the toy, fine.
If the owner doesn’t want to share, fine.
I’m pretty sure Ayn Rand would agree with grandpa’s reasoning.
Selfishness and altruism are emotional issues, as these four-year olds know. We were all once four years old.
The fighting stopped. The owner played with her new toy. The one taught to share thought it over, because these instructions from authority were contrary to the world view that had already begun to cure like concrete in her noggin, and concrete cures for decades. And I could tell that she agreed with the reasoning, even though she wasn't playing with the toy. Maybe when she grows up she won't be conflicted about refusing to loan her beemer to anyone who asks.
Awhile later, for her own reasons, the owner decided to share. She was not required to explain her reasons. Maybe she felt pity. Maybe she realized the future implications of not sharing now. But whatever, the pair of fours reasoned out their subsequent actions within context of emotional upheaval which included tears and toy-cherishing attachment, where the lessons that are repeated throughout life are learned.
Sure it's a virtue. No one has an ethical claim to your mind and what it produces.
Just because the hero wants the toy does not make the owner of the toy a villain.