Do you agree that hedonism (or some related ethical egoism) is the best life philosophy in this turbulent world? Eighty years is the average timespan of a human life on Earth in which dependency on parents during youth and dependency on others in feeble old age take almost half that time. Pain or sickness, dealing with problems of urban living, climbing the corporate ladder, and menial tasks take almost half of the rest. So what is life for but for enjoyment or pleasure? It is for this reason that I and many other people find the well-dressed gentlemanly self absorbed playboy to be much more worthy of admiration than the monk who tries to save starving children in a far away land that ordinary people would not want to set foot on. We are the helpless straw dogs of the natural forces that made us, that gave us our unchosen ancestry and inalienable character. We ought to embrace and accept this fate without complaint, and not be fooled by all the artificially constructed nonsense of Gods, religious dogma, inherent virtue, universal love, or charity; in other words, man should only be concerned for himself and maybe close friends or family only and resist fighting or interfering in the affairs of others because that would only be a distraction and not serve his internal nature. Self-expression and finding contentment are themselves spiritual goods. One ought not strive for life beyond one’s natural ability (a beggar should not strive to become a CEO), nor should one unnecessarily shorten one’s life by living recklessly (e.g. Clark Gable).

I've been trying to find the argument here. It seems to be "Life can really suck. Therefore you should look out for Number One." Am I missing anything?

I think that's called a non sequitur.

Now it's true that self-expression and contentment are goods. (Not sure what the word "spiritual" adds here.) But there are lots of goods, many of which aren't self-centered. Or so most of us think, even though we all know that life can really suck. It's also true for some people that helping others doesn't fit with their "internal purpose." (I assume that means something like "their own predilections") But your conclusion only follows if we agree that a person's "internal purpose" is the only one that should get any weight. And since that's exactly what's at issue…

(Not to mention that it's not obvious that you yourself would be better off if most of us only gave a damn about ourselves.)

But all of this is pretty obvious, which is why I have the feeling that you're pulling our legs. ("well-dressed gentlemanly self-absorbed playboy" <giggle>.)

Read another response by Allen Stairs
Read another response about Value