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Old 04-01-2009, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Columbus, OH
857 posts, read 1,229,449 times
Reputation: 558

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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey2000 View Post
I read a book years ago by Robert Ringer and one of the things that struck me was when he explained that "all people always act in their own self-interest, all the time" - but that it doesn't mean it's a bad thing in the "bad" way selfishness is traditionally viewed. In fact it's not inherently good OR bad; it just is. A human being's goal in life is to be happy. This is obviously an extreme oversimplification, but that means you do whatever think will bring you the most overall happiness at that particular time.
There are acts that are not selfish, but there is no such thing as a completely SELFLESS act.

Selfish: devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.

Selfless: having little or no concern for oneself, esp. with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish.

And for those pointing to military service or doctors or firemen, etc., they get paid, so its not entirely selfless. A guy taking a bullet for another guy gets the satisfaction of knowing he saved someones life and if they are religious they think they are going to be rewarded in the afterlife. Plus if your jumping in front of bullets you're probably already in a situation that was working towards your own self interest (military, police, etc).
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:43 AM
 
1,986 posts, read 3,468,487 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kb09 View Post
Which means selfish.
There's nothing that explicity says it, but it's always implied.
When you really think about it, all acts are indeed selfish; one way or another.
As Mr. Joey clearly pointed out, people do what they think will make them happy through the means they have (i.e. selfish). If a soldier goes to fight, they are doing what they think will bring them happiness. It is a selfless act, but still selfish in it's roots.
Doing what makes them happy (or what they think will bring them happiness).
Same thing as before.
Same thing as before.
What you fail to do is look beyond the word itself. You see selfish, always, and humans in the same sentence and you automatically have a knee jerk reaction. It's much more deeper than that. All of what we do (whether it be a selfish or selfless act) benefit us in the end. The mother who takes care of her child is benefiting herself (as well as the child) because she would feel guilty and bad about herself if she didn't. The father that works extra hours on the job is also a beneficiary of his labor because he'd feel guilty if his kids didn't have anything to eat. Our own selfishness can benefit others (such as the mother, father, firefighter, policeman, and soldier) but it is inherently selfish by nature. That's the point.

Of course, I'm playing devil's advocate so there is still quite a few gray areas.
A few? Ya think?

This is a load of s***. Plain and simple.
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Old 04-01-2009, 12:59 PM
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
10,366 posts, read 9,999,217 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
But we ARE wired to survive.
Preservation of self. Isn't that ''selfishness.'

The problem I see is that many of you are arguing your point with an assumed definition of the word 'selfish.' I'd have to say that our language is at fault here for allowing so many facets to a single word. Of course we are 'selfish' in one sense of the word. If we weren't, we wouldn't bother getting up in the morning or even feeding ourselves. That's a self preservations or self interest kind of selfish. In that respect, if you 'take car of yourself,' you are selfish. If not, you just lie down and wait to die of starvation or thirst--a 'selfless' act (and perhaps a bit psychotic )
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:01 PM
 
3,651 posts, read 8,117,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy night View Post
Sorry joey, but people, by definition (according to our friend Webster) are "human beings making up a group or linked by a common characteristic or interest". There's nothing in the dictionary that defines people as selfish.
There's nothing in there about people having a head on top of their shoulders or being carbon/water-based creatures either, so I guess it's not true.





Quote:
Originally Posted by kb09 View Post
What you fail to do is look beyond the word itself. You see selfish, always, and humans in the same sentence and you automatically have a knee jerk reaction. It's much more deeper than that. All of what we do (whether it be a selfish or selfless act) benefit us in the end. The mother who takes care of her child is benefiting herself (as well as the child) because she would feel guilty and bad about herself if she didn't. The father that works extra hours on the job is also a beneficiary of his labor because he'd feel guilty if his kids didn't have anything to eat. Our own selfishness can benefit others (such as the mother, father, firefighter, policeman, and soldier) but it is inherently selfish by nature. That's the point.

Of course, I'm playing devil's advocate so there is still quite a few gray areas.
Thanks. I figured there would be some who get it and some who didn't, ie who automatically or always think of "selfish" as a negative, who-cares-about-others thing. Oh well.

But really, no, no gray areas. Again: everyone one does this, all the time. And although it may certainly benefit others, they ultimately act how they do because it gets back to doing what the person thinks will bring them the overall most happiness. And again that is not because they don't care about others and it doesn't mean they are "bad" people at all. Just human.

PS and oh btw: I'm in the military. Trust me, a great many people do not join the military so they can go "take a bullet for their country." They do it because they need a job, the benefits are appealing, they join because a parent was in the military etc etc.
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Old 04-01-2009, 01:42 PM
 
2,751 posts, read 4,712,380 times
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I'd bet many of us have been in a situation where there was absolutely nothing to gain by helping another, no sense of self satisfaction, not a word of thanks expected or required, in fact could be that what we were going to do for that other person was going to be very difficult, come at a great cost to you financially, emotionally, even physically, and we've done it anyway because that person needed us and we could not stand to see them going through so much pain...

I agree that this is not usually the case, but it happens.
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:16 PM
 
3,651 posts, read 8,117,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExPit View Post
I'd bet many of us have been in a situation where there was absolutely nothing to gain by helping another, no sense of self satisfaction, not a word of thanks expected or required, in fact could be that what we were going to do for that other person was going to be very difficult, come at a great cost to you financially, emotionally, even physically, and we've done it anyway because that person needed us and we could not stand to see them going through so much pain...
...which was the thing to gain (ie emotional duress to avoid) which you claim didn't exist in the first place.
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Pensacola, Fl
656 posts, read 952,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
"Selfish" is a loaded word with many negatives associated with it so saying a woman who sacrifices to care for her child is "selfish" conveys the wrong meaning.
Very true. But, stray away from the need to make your knee hit the desk and actually think about it and you will see that the mother is indeed selfish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
But we ARE wired to survive.
i.e.

Wired to be selfish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
We also are rewarded by our acts. Even those which sound unselfish. This involved our belief in what is right to do. I give someone a sandwitch who is hungry. Why would I do this when I still need lunch? But there was a satisfacton in me of doing a good thing. That directly pleases the individual. And same individual buys another sandwitch, but maybe this time, feeling so good about themselves, does a treat to the better one that costs more. So satisfction is even more a reward.
The satisfaction you feel because of giving someone else a sandwich is selfish because you benefit from it in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightbird47 View Post
So its true that our actions are alway in some way a reward. It varies in nature and justification and sometimes it is selfish. But the concept is much more complicated than that.
Not sometimes is selfish; it is always selfish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stormy night View Post
A few? Ya think?

This is a load of s***. Plain and simple.
I burst into laughter when I read this; I don't know, it just tickles me (I'm still tee hee-ing as I write this).

Pray tell; explain how it is a load of crap? I would love to hear your opinion. Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:08 AM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,229,110 times
Reputation: 282
I can't believe people are still responding to this ridiculousness. Its obviously just a play on words and not any kind of revelation or amazing insight. For example, a kid has a choice of skipping school or going to school. He skips school and its selfish because he gets a free day, or if he goes to school then hes selfish because he gets the satisfaction of learning crap and not getting in trouble.

But the fact of the matter is that people often sacrifice greater happiness for lesser happiness, which is a selfless act. An example is when a kid buys his friend an xbox, the kid would be happier if he had kept the xbox for himself rather than the satisfaction of making his friend happy. Both have positives, but one has more than the other. This is a stupid thread and I hope that everyone sees the light now.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:10 AM
 
Location: southern california
55,237 posts, read 72,453,647 times
Reputation: 47456
not always not all times not all places.
but here right now, youbetcha.
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:18 AM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,426 posts, read 16,702,531 times
Reputation: 16435
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExPit View Post
I'd bet many of us have been in a situation where there was absolutely nothing to gain by helping another, no sense of self satisfaction, not a word of thanks expected or required, in fact could be that what we were going to do for that other person was going to be very difficult, come at a great cost to you financially, emotionally, even physically, and we've done it anyway because that person needed us and we could not stand to see them going through so much pain...

I agree that this is not usually the case, but it happens.
This is one form of selfless acts, but there is still a reward. Its internal. This person will be difficult, cost will be notable and so forth. But if you can't stand to see the suffering, there is a built in reward. Your distress is resolved.

I think only those who are incabable of feeling and connecting act without the emotional component. Mostly they do acts of harm since there is nothing inside to connect and see that harm is being done. But a random act of kindness from someone who can't feel the satisfacton would be one without reward.
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