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The story of Tony, Claire and Beth confirms the theory of psychological egoism. According to the theory of psychological egoism, everyone is selfish and this is built in the nature of human beings. We therefore can not avoid acting selfishly.
Tony, Claire and Beth in one way or another have decided to give up their comfort to support another’s life. Each one of them is providing support to another’s life in order to gain some fame or feel good about himself or herself although their acts may seem acts of self-sacrifice.
According to Psychological egoism, self-less good deeds do not exist. Beth feels good about herself for providing support for her sick mother. She becomes too busy with her mother and forgets about the emotional needs of Tony.
Claire also decides to offer support to both Beth and Tony, but this is seen an opportunity to feel good about herself and be popular to the two and most likely to ward off future bad events. Tony also offers his support to Beth so as to maintain the relationship between them.
To satisfy his ego, Tony decides to get into another relationship behind Beth’s back. Tony took advantage of Beth’s situation because he was sure he would get away with it (Rosentand, 2005).
Ethical Theory Subscribers
According to the theory of ethical egoism, we should always be selfish in our actions in order to protect or achieve our interest. Proponents and believers of ethical egoism are guided by utilitarianism where actions are guided by the consequences it could have on the individual.
The consequences of the action taken by the individual have to be beneficial to him or her. We should therefore treat others in a way that gives an opportunity to receive the same treatment should the same thing happen to us.
Having in mind that what goes around could sometimes come around; a subscriber to the theory of ethical egoism knowing he or she could also be cheated on may decide to tell Beth the truth in order to strengthen the relationship between them.
This would give him or her opportunity to be told the truth whenever his or her fiancée cheats behind his or her back. To some subscribers of ethical egoism, it would not matter how the relationship ends as long as he or she maintains a close friendship with Beth.
The golden rule guiding ethical egoist usually emphasizes the self and not others. Subscribers of ethical egoism believe that it is okay to treat others in a manner that would work to your advantage as long as you are sure you will benefit from it.
This means that in this case, whatever happens to the relationship is the least of a proponent’s problem as long as he or she maintains friendship with Beth.
On the other hand, a subscriber to the theory may decide to keep the secret as if he or she knows nothing about what the problem could have been. This could be driven by the fact that he or she would also not want his or her relationships to be interfered with should he or she also decide to cheat on his or her fiancée.
This is likely to be done by those who want to shield Tony and could even decide to give Beth other excuses for Tony’s past behavior. Such a subscriber believes that by defending Tony, he or she would receive the same when caught in the same situation.
According to the theory of psychological egoism, Tony had applied his invisibility during Beth’s commitment to her mother to satisfy his emotional needs. His perceived invisibility led him into temptation which made him involve in a short temporary relationship.
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However, such weak characters have to be punished or at least made to realize their mistakes. Tony’s act of selfishness should be counseled and Beth be made to know before they get married regardless of how good he had been to Beth. He has to be held accountable for his deeds because actions are results of decisions.
However, the counseling should involve both Tony and Beth together. This would help each one them understand his or her mistake leading to the situation. I would counsel Tony to make him reveal what he did and what had led to the temptation and also make Beth understand the part she played in causing the situation.
They would therefore both understand what they aught to have done and each be made to apologize for his or her part. Making Tony understand that cheating on his fiancée was not the best and well thought solution would be the most fundamental part of the counseling.
The counseling would help both of them move forward without any doubts about each other and would also make them free to discuss their feelings about each other.
From Tony, Claire and Beth’s love story, it is not wise to take the ethical theory perspective in solving the problem. It is appropriate to consider better ethical systems which rise above utilitarianism. The position taken should consider the moral rules as well as duties of each person in making the relationship prosper.
Rosentand, N. (2005). The moral of the story. An introduction to ethics, 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Publishers.