While I understand that how a person comes to understand ethics is likely to change throughout his or her lifetime, I seem to be especially confused when it comes to how I should center my own life.
Our local cultures, our widespread media, our beautiful entertainers, our powerful politicians and other bewilderingly impressive leaders send the most confusing messages on this topic.
Selflessness is often considered the highest of virtues in that it enables us to remove the pressures our ego allows us to enjoy life by experiencing it through the joy we give to other people. Plus, it's just plain nice.
But, our modern way of thinking, particularly in America, which focuses heavily on individual rights and general individuality, completely opposes the previously mentioned system of morality. We have all heard "you have to do what's right for you," "just worry about yourself," and a whole host of attempts to beat down co dependence. In hand with this often comes selfishness with a healthy helping of hedonism, at least it has in my own life.
Still, if I were to be totally selfless, I could be taken advantage of, in fact, my good will has been abused pretty extensively in the recent past.
So, what is to be done? How do we orient our lives in a way that is balanced?
Today is not about my wanting to make a specific argument, it is a genuine question. It could go in all sorts of directions: from very simple thoughts, to sharing personal experiences, to an argument on the interpretation of Jeremy Bentham's writing.
Your thoughts and experiences are always appreciated.