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Egoism, Self-Construction and Existence


Fırat Devecioğlu


However, we complain that the people surrounding us work for themselves or always think about themselves! 

The streets are full of people who always think themselves and who always make things about themselves. But on the other hand there are people who, as they age, think "I wish I had lived for myself"...

So the last examples of our kind, us, are we really as egoist as we think we are? Do we live for ourselves or for others?

For example George Orwell who is accepted as a legend in the literature, says this in one of his articles; "Most of the humans are not so egoist. Most of them give up their feelings to be an individual and begin working for others."’ 

The deceiving modern era deceives us by persuading us who think we work for ourselves on a subject; this is our seeking of our own value which is a basic occupation for most these days, in the outer world, in the eyes of others.

No matter how egoist we are, we walk through a time in which we are most far from ourselves... Modern era humans, us, who think they work "for themselves" feel free to dedicate ourselves to being worthy for others. 

"All those who determine their own wishes and reject to any kind of impositions are my equals."...  We get further away from this threshold of equality which Friedrich Nietzsche mentions as the years go by.

We, humans who should have a world enough for themselves can't get rid of our adolescent childish behaviours which make us try to prove ourselves before others. This is like the effort of a child who tries to show his family that he can swim in the sea but who is seen to be standing on the sand... He loses his path in the effort to be visible, he agonizes to draw attention, and we try to take part in the ridiculous hierarchy of the society.

The human soul of our era is dragged into competitions it does not belong.

Humans who give up their "feeling to be an individual" and get lost in the crowd will eventually cease to exist in the dark in pursuit of his desires (power, ambition, recognition etc.). At the end, no selfishly-obtained benefit can recompense the insufficiency of those who are deprived of their ability to build themselves as it is.

Montaigne says this in a chapter of his renowned "Essays" book; the extreme egoist people (those who think they are egoist) are those who know themselves superficially. According to them, keeping to himself, trying to enrich his soul and to make himself a good person is dreaming in vain. "As if we were someone other than ourselves, as if someone stranger"

The common man who wish to have more and who think that he seeks his own interest actually run after the things others wish to see when they look at him. Seeming strong, the effort to influence people, being appreciable, building one's own existence in the value given by others and putting all these in the centre of their lives point out an insufficiency of the world of the human.     

Those who are not enough for themselves try to complete themselves by running to other worlds. They feel out of the circle there, they never feel the belonging.   

Those who look for their own value in the eyes of others forget the unique significance of their existence. Most of those who think that they run after their interest and happiness selfishly are those of us who seek their own significance in stories of others. It is the job of the weak, not the lonely, to get lost in the crowd, music, splendidness, women, men, brands and the strong.

Existentialist thinking for which we can name Kafka, Sartre and Albert Camus as representatives mentions that the human must be completely free. Nietzsche defines this exact understanding when he says "Every human is uniquely wonderful as it will never be repeated in history." Every human being first begins to exist (comes into the world) and then chooses his own self... 

Someone who takes his ambition, ego or others (being strong, recognized in their minds) into centre and tries to catch these with selfish behaviours in his self-choosing has long lost his freedom in his own gap.   

Modern people are deprived of the depth to read the things written in his book although he thinks that he selfishly serves himself. Those who look at him and think that he is selfish may not see that he is someone who is lost in the crowd. But in fact, he is lost. 

A person's freeing himself begins with his creation of a space belonging only to him rather than proving himself or searching himself in other places. A person who can get rid of the selfishness, of "those who just say don't to it just to do it", his desires and looking for his values in the opinions of "others" will break themselves off from crowds and build their own existence, selves and reach self-satisfaction.


"Being unable to get free, to build oneself"... The lack in these important matters causes close relationships to be "unable to do without the other". Effort to live with mutual dependences is a great delirium for humans.

Famous American poet and writer Sylvia Planth marries another poet, Ted Hughes. She loves him very much. Here are some of the expressions she used for her husband in the journals which were found after her death.

"Ted, my dear saviour..."

"Living with him is like listening an endless story; the greatest mind I have ever seen is his mind. I will live in the realms which get bigger and bigger within that head".

Famous philosopher Sylvia Plath had such a deep connection to her husband that she forgot her own existence. Ted is the most important thing for her. She feels that she lives thanks to him. But Planth who sees her husband as someone worth worshipping gets disappointed when she has a few problems in marriage. When she learns that she was being cheated, the world comes down on her. Her existence which she built in another person ceases to exist before her eyes. The facts that she forgot about herself and ceases to exist as a separate world or a person cause her to be unproductive as a poet. Sylvia Planth commits suicide at the age of 30 because she can't stand all these.

The ability of a person to live as an "individual" in the world will save him from the lack of living according to the behaviours of others. In this way, he can live the "ego" he has with the values he has. However, seeking his own values in the eyes of others, thinking to be living as the surrounding crowd gets bigger and maybe trying to maintain these with behaviours which seem "selfish" will continue to be an effort in vain. This indicates a person who tries to fill the gaps within himself, who get further away from himself as he does this and who has even bigger gaps as he gets further away.  




Fırat Devecioğlu 



In recent years, a book which resounded heavily in the world has been published. Author Bronnie Ware makes a set of interviews with patients who had few days and asks them about their biggest regret in life in his work named "Most common 5 regret of people who are about to die". The common answer of these people who are very close to dying about regret is;


"I wish I had the courage to live the life I wanted rather than doing the things what others wanted from me."’

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