Failures in human attempts
The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Ps. 94:11
The pyramid scheme
A theory of human motivation by Abraham Maslow presents the ultimate humanist guide to concentrating on self. His popular hierarchy of needs (below) gives that task even practical steps.
Maslow argues that seeking fulfillment for self is the way to reach the top level of personal maturity. The theory therefore provides a way to structure everything around personal gain and then claim that it is a healthy normal way of living.
The success of this theory proves how the self is almost irresistibly fascinating. If something is offered which gives it the go-ahead, then even themost absurd ideas become popular.
The simplest facts of life proove that senselessness. It is an everyday lesson that living for self leads to conflicts of interests and brokenness, not growth of personality. But shifting the focus away from self does provide growth. People without their basic physiological needs met are able to do good and be caring, proving Maslow wrong.
It can not have gone unnoticed by the millions that give credit to Maslow's theory, that JESUS concentrated on others no matter what personal needs He lacked.