Dawkins was vacationing on the seaside with a few friends. They had been arguing about the truth of science all afternoon, one renegade stubbornly maintaining that no matter how correct science proved, it might still be blindly heading in the wrong direction: somehow it might be finding the wrong set of truths. Annoyed, the great scientist plodded out into the water for a swim. As it began to get dark he turned back and made for the shore, but the second leg somehow proved much slower going. Exhausted, he finally made it to shore, but he had drifted far away from where he had set off. His friends ran down to him and asked what had happened. Panting, Dawkins answered: “Some kind of current was pushing me, and no matter how hard i swam against it, i couldn’t break free.”
Imagine that G., a truly selfish person, discovers a ring that renders e invisible. Now able to do whatever e wants with impunity, G. begins to steal, eavesdrop and follow every inclination of es soul, without any consideration for the social consequences of es actions. However, though powerful and wealthy, G. gradually becomes estranged from es outwitted friends and cannot help but feel waves of remorse and pity for es many victims. True to es selfish disposition, e sets out to eliminate such unpleasant feelings. So, G. now carefully prunes es deeds, eschewing any that might result in emotional discomfort and unhappiness. Over time, G. becomes so sensitive to the most minute influence upon es own happiness, that e cannot suffer anyone else around to be unhappy either. Inevitably, es cunning mind refuses to touch the magical ring except when furthering this one utterly selfish end.
In every interaction with each of my two neighbors i strive to always treat them as an end and never only as a means. Yet the only reason i interact with them is because i hope the couple won’t move out and be replaced by a noisy family. Am i doing what is right? — No, because there are obviously better, more fulfilling ways for me to interact with my neighbors both as individuals and as a couple. I am not yet doing what is in my interest, too.