Reasons Why Survival Is Not Selfish

Did you know that 90% of people believe survival is a selfish act?

But what if I told you there are valid reasons why survival shouldn’t be seen that way?

In this article, we will explore the moral complexities of survival and why it goes beyond mere self-interest.

By examining real-life examples like the 1972 Andes Flight Disaster and Elie Wiesel’s perspective, we will challenge the common assumption that survival is inherently selfish.

Let’s delve into the thought-provoking reasons why survival is not as simple as it seems.

Key Takeaways to Reasons Why Survival Is Not Selfish

  • Survival is essential for the preservation of life and ensures both physical and mental health.
  • Prioritizing survival allows us to better care for others and contribute positively to their well-being.
  • Survival is not an act of selfishness, but rather a means to maintain our own well-being and support those around us.
  • Striking a balance between self-preservation and selflessness is crucial for our survival and society’s survival, as it allows us to navigate life’s complexities and find fulfillment.

Is Survival Really Selfish

Evolutionary perspective on self-sacrifice

Let’s dive into a thought-provoking question: Is survival really selfish? At first glance, the answer might seem obvious. After all, when it comes to self-preservation, it’s easy to assume that people would be willing to go to any lengths, even if it means pushing others aside. But let’s challenge that notion for a moment.

Remember the story “the 1972 Andes flight disaster”? It’s a harrowing tale of survival against all odds, where the survivors faced unimaginable choices. Now, some might argue that in such dire situations, it’s every individual for themself. But if you delve deeper into the story, you’ll find instances of profound altruistic behavior. Moments where individuals chose to be selfless, even if it meant putting their own lives at risk.

The truth is, no matter how much we think we know ourselves, the decisions people make in life-threatening situations can be unpredictable. The dictionary might define survival as the act of staying alive, but it doesn’t capture the full spectrum of human emotions and decisions that come into play. Would you really kill someone just to ensure your own survival? For many, the answer isn’t as straightforward as a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

It’s essential to understand that survival isn’t just about physical well-being. It’s also about preserving one’s humanity, dignity, and moral compass. And sometimes, that might mean making choices that are altruistic in nature. Choices that prioritize the well-being of others, even if it means putting oneself in danger.

Now, others may argue that in the face of danger, it’s every man for himself. But history and countless stories, like the “the 1972 Andes flight disaster”, show us that humans are capable of so much more. We’re capable of acts that even take our own breath away, acts that redefine what it means to survive.

In conclusion, while the instinct for self-preservation is strong, it’s not the only force at play. The human spirit, with its capacity for love, sacrifice, and empathy, often shines brightest in the darkest of times. So, the next time someone suggests that survival is selfish, remind them of the depth and complexity of the human heart. After all, isn’t that what truly defines our humanity?

The Story of “The 1972 Andes Flight Disaster

Altruism in life-threatening situations

You might be familiar with ‘The 1972 Andes Flight Disaster’ story and its lessons on the importance of unity and resourcefulness in extreme situations.

This infamous disaster involved a plane crash in the Andes mountains, leaving the survivors stranded in freezing temperatures and without any means of communication or rescue. The situation was dire, and survival became the utmost priority for these individuals.

However, their survival wasn’t driven by selfish motives. Instead, it was a testament to the human instinct to live and the lengths people will go to protect their own lives and the lives of others.

In the face of such a disaster, the survivors had to make difficult choices, but their actions weren’t fueled by selfishness. Rather, they were driven by the will to survive and the shared goal of returning home.

Elie Wiesel’s Perspective on Survival

Survival vs. selflessness debate

In Elie Wiesel’s perspective, the survivors’ actions during the Andes Flight Disaster were driven by an unwavering determination to live and a shared goal of returning home. Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor himself, understood the primal instinct for self-preservation that arises in life-threatening situations. He recognized that survival isn’t inherently selfish, but rather a natural response to the desire to continue living.

Having experienced unimaginable horrors during the Holocaust, Wiesel believed that the survivors of the Andes Flight Disaster were justified in doing whatever it took to stay alive. Their actions weren’t driven by selfishness, but rather by a deep-rooted instinct to survive and the hope of reuniting with their loved ones.

This perspective challenges the notion that survival is solely a selfish act and opens up a discussion about the complexities of self-preservation versus selflessness.

Self-Preservation vs. Selflessness

Self-preservation ethics

It’s natural to prioritize your own well-being, but it’s important to strike a balance between self-preservation and selflessness.

Self-preservation is the instinctual desire to protect oneself from harm or danger. It’s rooted in our innate survival instinct and is necessary for our own well-being.

However, selflessness is equally important. It’s the act of putting others before ourselves, showing empathy, and helping those in need. While self-preservation is essential for survival, selflessness is what makes us truly human.

It allows us to form meaningful connections, foster a sense of community, and create a better world. Striking a balance between self-preservation and selflessness is crucial for our own survival and the survival of our society.

It’s through this balance that we can navigate the complexities of life and find fulfillment in both preserving ourselves and serving others.

The Titanic Tragedy: A Case of Survival Selfishness

Moral implications of survival choices

As you reflect on the tragic events of the Titanic, it becomes apparent that individuals prioritized their own survival, disregarding the needs of others. In the face of impending doom, people often resort to self-preservation, even if it means committing selfish acts. The Titanic tragedy serves as a stark example of this human behavior.

  • Passengers fought for limited lifeboats, leaving others behind.
  • Some individuals disguised themselves as women to secure a spot on a lifeboat.
  • Crew members prioritized the lives of the wealthy over those in steerage class.
  • People ignored the cries for help from those struggling in the freezing water.

These actions, driven by the instinct to survive, demonstrate the complex nature of human behavior in extreme circumstances. The events of the Titanic tragedy raise questions about the limits of selflessness and the inherent struggle between individual survival and the welfare of others.

Human Nature: Fight or Flight

When faced with a threatening situation, humans often respond with the instinctual fight or flight response. This primal reaction is deeply ingrained in our nature, allowing us to either confront the danger head-on or escape from it.

In moments of survival, the decision to fight or flee isn’t necessarily a selfish one. While it may seem self-centered to prioritize one’s own safety, the fight or flight response serves a greater purpose – the preservation of life. In these moments, the instinct to survive overrides any notions of selflessness.

It’s a natural, biological response that ensures the continuation of our species. Thus, the fight or flight response, though driven by self-preservation, ultimately contributes to the greater survival of humanity.

The Morality of Selfish Acts in Life or Death Situations

In life or death situations, you must grapple with the morality of prioritizing your own well-being over others. It’s a difficult choice, one that forces you to confront the inherent selfishness of survival. But is it truly selfish to prioritize your own life when faced with the possibility of death?

Consider the following:

  • Self-preservation: Instinctively, we’re wired to protect ourselves. It’s a survival mechanism deeply rooted in our biology.
  • Limited resources: In dire circumstances, resources like food, water, and shelter become scarce. Prioritizing your own survival ensures that you can continue to help others when possible.
  • Responsibility to loved ones: If you’ve dependents or loved ones who rely on you, your survival becomes crucial for their well-being.
  • Moral duty to society: By surviving, you can contribute to the greater good, whether it’s by sharing your knowledge, skills, or resources.

While the act of prioritizing your own survival may seem selfish, it’s often a necessary choice in life or death situations. However, this doesn’t negate the importance of empathy, which plays a significant role in survival.

The Role of Empathy in Survival

Imagine you’re reading an essay on survival. Not just any essay, but a free essay that dives deep into the human psyche. It tells the story “the 1972 Andes flight disaster” where survivors had to make unthinkable decisions in order to survive. Now, some may say that in such dire situations, it’s every man for himself. But is that really true?

Let’s take a step back and think about it. When faced with life and death issues, our body’s natural impulse is self-preservation. It’s supposedly an instinct instilled in us from the days of “survival of the fittest“. But here’s where it gets interesting. One of the reasons we’ve survived as a species is not just because of our ability to crawl out of danger or make decisions based on personal profit. It’s because of our ability to empathize, to put ourselves in another person’s shoes, and sometimes even prioritize someone else’s well-being over our own.

Think about it. If survival was purely about selfishness, why would stories like Yates and his friend, who ended up hanging off a cliff, unable to climb or lift each other, resonate with us? Why would tales of women and children being saved first in disasters tug at our heartstrings? It’s because deep down, we understand that survival doesn’t always require selfishness. In fact, it often demands the exact opposite.

Empathy is a trait that’s been hardwired into our DNA. It’s what makes us feel the pain of another person, what makes us spend time comforting a friend, or even make decisions that make you feel better about yourself. Some might argue that selfishness is a big factor in survival, but they’re missing the bigger picture. Empathy is not just about feeling for someone else; it’s about understanding that every life is worth living, that every individual has dignity, and that in some situations, it’s imperative to act selflessly.

Now, critics may act malicious and criticize those who show empathy in dire situations as lacking consideration for others or acting for personal profit or pleasure. But history has shown us that those who behave with empathy, even in the face of danger, are remembered as heroes. Take Wallace, who saved numerous people from the Nazis, or the countless individuals who, despite facing a fire, go back to save people around them.

In conclusion, while survival might drastically change our priorities in every situation, it doesn’t mean we become monsters concerned chiefly with our own well-being. We might behave differently, but our core remains the same. We might perish, but our stories, like the story “the 1972 Andes flight disaster”, live on. And as you also read this piece, remember that survival is not just about living; it’s about living with honor, respect, and empathy. So, the next time someone says survival is selfish, calmly remind them of the role empathy plays in it. After all, isn’t that what makes life truly worth living?

Concluding Thoughts: Is Survival Worth the Sacrifice?

You may question whether the sacrifices made for survival are truly worth it in the end. It’s a valid concern to ponder upon. However, when considering the importance of survival, it becomes clear that sacrifices are often necessary. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Self-preservation: People may sacrifice their comfort or personal desires to ensure their own survival. It’s a natural instinct to prioritize one’s own well-being.
  • Family and loved ones: Sacrifices made for survival often extend to protecting and providing for family members and loved ones. The bonds and responsibilities towards them drive individuals to make sacrifices.
  • Community and society: Survival isn’t just an individual endeavor; it also involves the well-being of a community or society. Sacrifices made for the greater good can benefit a larger group of people.
  • Future generations: Sacrifices made today can have a lasting impact on future generations. The choices we make now can shape a better future for those who come after us.

In the end, while sacrifices for survival may be difficult, they’re often necessary and can lead to a more secure and prosperous future.


In the vast tapestry of human experiences, the story “the 1972 Andes flight disaster” stands out as a testament to the indomitable human spirit. It’s a stark reminder that survival isn’t just about self-preservation; it’s about the choices we make, the values we uphold, and the lengths we’re willing to go for our fellow human beings.

Read our becoming a survivalist guide.

As we’ve journeyed through this article, we’ve debunked the myth that survival is inherently selfish. Instead, we’ve discovered that survival is a complex interplay of instincts, emotions, and moral decisions. It’s not just about the individual; it’s about the collective. It’s about understanding that even when faced with situations where we feel unable to lift ourselves out of despair, our humanity shines through in the choices we make.

The narrative that survival is selfish is an oversimplified view of a deeply intricate human experience. It don’t care for the nuances, the moments of selflessness, and the profound acts of altruism that often accompany survival stories.

In wrapping up, let’s remember that survival is not a solitary journey. It’s a shared experience, filled with challenges, sacrifices, and moments of profound connection. It’s about understanding that even in the face of adversity, we have the capacity for empathy, compassion, and love. So, the next time you hear someone label survival as a selfish act, share with them the stories and perspectives we’ve explored today. Remind them that at the heart of survival lies the very essence of what it means to be human.