We are survival machinesrobot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes. This is a truth which still fills me with astonishment.Richard Dawkins: 1976 The Selfish Gene, ch.2.
Ihave precious little sympathy for theselfish proprietyof civilized man, and if awarof racesshould occurbetween the wild beasts and Lord Man, I would be tempted to sympathise with the bears.john muir: A Thousand-Mile Walkto theGulf, ch.5,'Through Florida Swamps and Forests' (published1916).
In marriage, a man becomes slack and selfish, and undergoes a fatty degeneration of his moral being.Robert Louis Stevenson: 1881Virginibus Puerisque,'Virginibus Puerisque', pt.1.
Teach me how to talk to you. WANT. Is my wanting you so bad, wanting your cock so bad, wanting the feel of your lips on my lips just me being selfish and egoistic? Teach me a new language.kathy acker: Blood and Guts in High School (1978)
Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.john adams: XVIII, p. 484
The world is a king, and like a king, desires flattery in return for favor; but true art is selfish and perverse — it will not submit to the mold of flattery.Ludwig van Beethoven: Conversations (March 1879)
We are the earth his word must sow like wheatAnd, if it finds no earth, it cannot grow.We are his earth, the mortal and the dying,Led by no star — the sullen and the slut,The thief, the selfish man, the barren woman,Who have betrayed him once and will betray him,Forget his words, be great a moment's spaceUnder the strokes of chance,And then sink back into our small affairs.And yet, unless we go, his message fails.stephen vincent benét: Innkeeper's wife
Curiosity is natural to the soul of man and interesting objects have a powerful influence on our affections. Let these influencing powers actuate, by the permission or disposal of Providence, from selfish or social views, yet in time the mysterious will of Heaven is unfolded, and we behold our conduct, from whatever motives excited, operating to answer the important designs of heaven.daniel boone: As quoted in the opening lines of "The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon; containing a Narrative of the Wars of Kentucke" in The Discovery, Settlement And present State of Kentucke (1784) by John Filson
You do have to be fairly selfish when you have a gift. You cannot afford to let too many outside things get in the way.sarah brightman: The Independent (1997)
"However little you may esteem them as individuals, it is not pleasant to be looked upon as a liar and a hypocrite, to be thought to practise what you abhor, and to encourage the vices you would discountenance, to find your good intentions frustrated, and your hands crippled by your supposed unworthiness, and to bring disgrace on the principles you profess.''True; and if I, by my thoughtlessness and selfish disregard to appearances, have at all assisted to expose you to these evils, let me entreat you not only to pardon me, but to enable me to make reparation; autorize me to clear your name from every imputation; give me the right to identify your honor with my own, and to defend your reputation as more precious than my life!” Are you hero enough to unite yourself to one whom you know to be suspected and despised by all around you, and identify your interests and your honour with hers? Think! it is a serious thing.'anne brontë: Helen to Gilbert (Ch. XII : A Tête-à-tête and a Discovery)
"I can't love it - what is there to love? It can't love me - or you either; it can't understand a single word you say to it, or feel one spark of gratitude for all your kindness. Wait till it can show some little affection for me, and then I'll see about loving it. At present it is nothing more than a little selfish, senseless sensualist, and if you see anything adorable in it, it's all very well - I only wonder how you can."anne brontë: Arthur to Helen (Ch. XXVIII : Parental Feelings)
"Mamma does all she can,' said she, 'to make me feel myself a burden and incumbrance to the family, and the most ungrateful, selfish, and undutiful daughter that ever was born;"anne brontë: Esther to Helen (Ch. XLVIII : Further Intelligences)
The worst tempered bit of a sickly slip that ever struggled into its teens! Happily, as Mr. Heathcliff conjectured, he'll not win twenty! I doubt whether he'll see spring indeed — and small loss to his family, whenever he drops off; and lucky it is for us that his father took him. The kinder he was treated, the more tedious and selfish he'd be! I'm glad you have no chance of having him for a husband, Miss Catherine!emily brontë: Nelly Dean on Linton Heathcliff (Ch. XXIII).
And who can suffer injury by just taxation, impartial laws and the application of the Jeffersonian doctrine of equal rights to all and special privileges to none? Only those whose accumulations are stained with dishonesty and whose immoral methods have given them a distorted view of business, society and government. Accumulating by conscious frauds more money than they can use upon themselves, wisely distribute or safely leave to their children, these denounce as public enemies all who question their methods or throw a light upon their crimes.Plutocracy is abhorrent to a republic; it is more despotic than monarchy, more heartless than aristocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. It preys upon the nation in time of peace and conspires against it in the hour of its calamity. Conscienceless, compassionless and devoid of wisdom, it enervates its votaries while it impoverishes its victims. It is already sapping the strength of the nation, vulgarizing social life and making a mockery of morals. The time is ripe for the overthrow of this giant wrong. In the name of the counting-rooms which it has denied; in the name of business honor which it has polluted; in the name of the home which it has despoiled; in the name of religion which it has disgraced; in the name of the people whom it has opprest, let us make our appeal to the awakened conscience of the nation.william jennings bryan: Speech at Madison Square Garden, New York, 30 August 1906, at a reception welcoming Bryan on his return from a year's trip around the world. Speeches of William Jennings Bryan, Funk & Wagnalls, 1909, pp. 90-91
The One Unbounded, Undivided Good,By all His Creatures partly understood.If therefore Sense of its apparent PartsRaise not His Love or Worship in our Hearts,Our selfish Wills or Notions we may feast,And have no more Religion than a Beast.john byrom: St. 5.
Be these people either Conservatives or Socialists, Yellows or Reds, the most important thing is — and that is the point I want to stress — that all of them are right in the plain and moral sense of the word. . . I ask whether it is not possible to see in the present social conflict of the world an analogous struggle between two, three, five equally serious verities and equally generous idealisms? I think it is possible, and that is the most dramatic element in modern civilization, that a human truth is opposed to another human truth no less human, ideal against ideal, positive worth against worth no less positive, instead of the struggle being as we are so often told, one between noble truth and vile selfish error.karel Čapek: R.U.R. supplement in The Saturday Review (1923)
If we desire to do what will please God, and what will help men, we presently find ourselves taken out of our narrow habits of thought and action; we f1nd new elements of our nature called into activity; we are no longer running along a narrow track of selfish habit.james freeman clarke: P. 536. (Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895))
Beneath a mask of selfish tranquility nothing exists except bitterness and boredom. I am one of those whom suffering has made empty and frivolous: each night in my dreams I pull the scab off a wound; each day, vacuous and habit-ridden, I help it re-form.cyril connolly: Part I: Ecce Gubernator (p. 6)
Glory, builtOn selfish principles, is shame and guilt.william cowper: Line 1.
In 1879, American economist Francis Walker tried to explain why members of his profession were in such "bad odor amongst real people". He blamed it on their inability to understand why human behavior fails to comply with economic theory. We do not always act the way economists think we should, mainly because we're both less selfish and less rational than economists think we are. Economists are being indoctrinated into a cardboard version of human nature, which they hold true to such a degree that their own behavior has begun to resemble it. Psychological tests have shown that economics majors are more egoistic than the average college student. Exposure in class after class to the capitalist self-interest model apparently kills off whatever prosocial tendencies these students have to begin with. They give up trusting others, and conversely others give up trusting them. Hence the bad odor.frans de waal: from "Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are", page 243
Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under diverse names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty.baron d'holbach: ibid., preface
If my love is without sacrifice , it is selfish . Such a love is barter , for there is exchange of love and devotion in return for something. It is conditional love.Sadhu Vaswani, in How to OVERCOME DEPRESSION and other Heart-to-Heart Talks, p.23
It is absurd to suppose, if this is God’s world, that men must always be selfish barbarians.'charles fletcher dole: The Coming People (1897)
I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually.john edwards: An interview with the website . Reported also by Boston Globe, March 5, 2007. 
The plans of all of the powers have always been entirely selfish as far as Turkey was concerned. For years Russia has coveted Constantinople, to say nothing of the rest of Turkey along the Black Sea and south of the Caucasus, and Britain has endeavored to keep us just strong enough to prevent Russia from realizing these ambitions. Finally came the Kaiser with his scheme of a chain of German-controlled states from the Baltic to the Persian Gulf. Russia would wipe us off the map, England would keep us weak, and Germany would make us strong. All selfish motives on the face of them, no doubt, but- can you wonder which alternative is the least repugnant to us Turks, especially to us Young Turks, who have done our best to avoid being enmeshed in the nets of British and Russian diplomacy and intrigue which held helpless our predecessors? I think I will not need to say more to answer your question as to why it was Germany obtained the Bagdad railway concession, why the Hedjaz line was built by Germans, and why the Germans are recasting our military establishment.İsmail enver: Quoted in "The American Review of Reviews" - Page 184 - by Albert Shaw – 1915