Today I heard on the radio the term "enlightened self-interest" and I thought it might be interesting to define it.
Generally it means persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest. It's a term in ethics/philosophy which is an area of study that has to do with right behavior and good life.
It has often been simply expressed by the belief that an individual, group, or even a commercial entity will "do well by doing good".
Alexis de Tocqueville discussed the concept in his work Democracy in America. This quote from that work comes from learningtogive.org:
The Americans, on the contrary, are fond of explaining almost all the actions of their lives by the principle of interest rightly understood; they show with complacency how an enlightened regard for themselves constantly prompts them to assist each other, and inclines them willingly to sacrifice a portion of their time and property to the welfare of the state.Here's how the Dalai Lama puts it: If you think in a deeper way that you are going to be selfish, then be wisely selfish, not narrow-mindedly selfish.
The idea is that a "universal sense of responsibility" is "doing the right thing."
So don't you think if we taught our children to be "self-interested" in the way described above rather than teaching "selflessness" or "self-sacrifice" we as a nation would be a lot better off?
Why don't you tell me what you think in the comments...