During my time as a medic in the Army, my work environment was definitely one of impersonal egoists, myself included. No one was out to be cutthroat or sabotage others, but competition was extreme to be recognized as the best at their job. We had a common agreement that every person must look out for themselves as no one else would be more invested in your own self interests than you would be. This may sound like a place that could be hostile, but we had great comradery and a close brotherhood. But like I said, in terms of professional development and success, no one came before self. I would even say it made us better medics, as the desire to be the best pushed us as individuals to seek the latest training and education.
For me, this is a great example of how egoism isn’t necessarily an evil or morally wrong mindset to abide by. Of course we cared about the well-being of the medics in our section and the people we were medically responsible for, that went without compromise. The difference was that we simply had to look out for ourselves at the end of the day, and though it may be difficult for some to understand as many people are stuck in the “team” mentality, you’ve got to realize this method worked for us. We were competitive, and we were better for it.
4 Comments for “M2 (Mendoza)”
Mike, I can relate and understand what you are saying. The last thirteen years of my law enforcement career I was deeply involved in a narcotics task force. I was a marked unit patrolling and looking for the “Mulesâ€. The only reason I became so good at what I did was because of egoistic motivation. My goals were to become the best of the best by continually improving my training and education. I was a single man unit, never had a partner, and not unlike you the boys and girls in blue shared a common comradery and close brotherhood. So I agree with your excellent post, ethical ecoism principles shouldn’t be considered evil nor morally wrong. Especially when practiced for self-improvement in effort to promote the good for all concerned.
You’re very right. I think that many people often take “egoism” to be some harmful thing, which it can be, but often it is not. The truth of the matter (in my opinion) is that we live in a “dog eat dog” society. Parents usually teach kids to trust no one but family and always look out for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with that, as ultimately, we are responsible for our own fate and our success or failure is always ours alone to hold. We may credit others for helping us along the way, but there is no substitute for our own work, effort and drive. In fact, I would say that a person’s desire to succeed is the ultimate egoism. I don’t wish failure upon anyone, ever. But I can’t remember the last time I wished someone more success and achievement than myself, other than my son and siblings.
I appreciate reading your post and the honesty you provided. Having never been in a career or situation like yours, it gave me a great change of perspective on the idea of egoism. Although it seems like an intensely personal question, the first one that came to mind while reading about your experience was “would he sacrifice another for his own life?â€ I am absolutely not trying to be judgmental, critical, or intruding, but I sometimes understand these principles of ethics easier when imagining extreme circumstances. And of course, thank you for your service!
On another note, I think that while egoism is not a bad thing like some might interpret it to be, I am starting to believe that it is crucial for different ethical ways of thinking in the world. Because you have been capable of living in an egoist manner (even if just while you were serving) you were able to deal with certain things that I, for instance, might not have been. I believe that my motivations for decisions have more to do with the greater good of those around me. I lived many years trying to do what was best for me with little regard to those around me, and am grateful to have learned how to live by being of service to others. I am convinced that this world requires the different kind of people living in it to work.
I also found Mike and Rogers take on egoism to be from a positive stance. I can’t help but see the connection between the two of your stories and that being in a “uniform” so-to-say. One of you in the Army and the other in law enforcement which both encourage an environment of “brotherhood”. I definitely do not see the comadre in the corporate structure of business. I am a lot like srlevenson, in that I find satisfaction in helping others. I enjoy practicing good customer service with everyone I may encounter and I am always willing to assist someone to the best of my ability. I see the other end of egoism at my place of employment. People only looking out for their own best interest and how a situation would benefit them. I remind myself regularly that other people are not me and that I cannot be upset with them for not making the same choice I would, to help others.