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Old 04-02-2009, 04:36 AM
Status: "happy again, no longer catless! t...." (set 10 days ago)
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,426 posts, read 16,706,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisC View Post
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 )
The internal meaning of words is cultural and practice. To our society someone who is selfish acts soley in their own interest and does not care if anyone loses in the process, or gains. So if you act and are rewarded but the reward is part of the gain by someone else in a cultural sense it isn't a selfish act.

But there are degrees. If I help someone and my reward is knowing their kid has lunch, then its an act of intentional kindness. I did not need to do it. I did it because I felt that I had to. "Need" implies a physical requirement or skill. To want or feel like is a voluntary choice.

If I do have a need, say, to get my washer fixed. My neighbor knows how, and needs money bad. So I have my neighbor fix the washer. It will probably save me some but I made the choice knowing that it would help a specific person. So it is fufilling a need of mine but is also an act of kindness. I probably save but it is not being selfish.

Human acts span the gamet of thoughtless, uncaring ones to deliberate risk for the intention of saving someone else. Along the way there are many levels and definations. Rewards can be planned, or needed relief of distress or even accidental.

But this is different than waking and getting out of bed because we anticipate our own day to be rewarding. We are thinking of ourselves at that moment. But even this is not selfish. It is normal. Life is by defination complex and language doesn't always catch up with it.
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:49 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
1,461 posts, read 4,102,348 times
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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.

When I have brought this up before, people have typically said something like: "well the other day I went to visit my sick grandmother instead of going on this great trip some friends were taking; that wasn't selfish!"

Sure it was. That person decided that the benefit of visiting grandma - whether it was the pleasure of her company or simply the satisfaction of knowing they had done the "right thing" vs the guilt they might've felt if they didn't go - out-weighed the pleasure of the trip w/friends.

I'm not even sure if this is a "debate" topic or not exactly, but wasn't sure where else to put this; am I the only one who gets this?
By definition without going into a book to understand what selfish is, people understand it to mean someone who is self-absorbed about everything with no heart or compassion for those less fortunate than us. Yes, I get it and I think more people than not get it as well.

A trip to Grandma at the hospital is a poor example of what being selfish is. Some people go see Grandma because they love her, miss her being around and some people do go just so thier relatives won't be on their arse for not going. It is two sided and perhaps the person who goes to keep the family quiet really does love Grandma...how do you Know??

Acting in your own best interest is not selfish...it is a mature attitude that helps us to mold our lives into being something special for us. Without the proper attitude of taking care of ourselves, we are then unable to take care of our future families and do become SELFISH.

The most important aspect of understanding the true meaning of selfish is the degree of severity, i.e, would you walk past a hungry child and not give it food? Would you spend your last dollar on clothes or jewelry for yourself knowing your rent is due for the family apartment? Would you take some time off from work to decompress? See what I mean about degrees of selfish....first example to walk by is beyond selfish, second example is foolishly selfish and last one is self-indulgent more than selfish but selfish......Tough topic.
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Old 04-03-2009, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Way upstate NY - Where the snow flys
1,130 posts, read 1,319,360 times
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But this is different than waking and getting out of bed because we anticipate our own day to be rewarding. We are thinking of ourselves at that moment. But even this is not selfish. It is normal. Life is by defination complex and language doesn't always catch up with it.
"But even this is not selfish. It is normal" ?
HUH, therefore every thing that is normal is not selfish? That logic or should I say lack thereof baffles me. Similar logic is seen throughout that post.
It may be difficult for some to accept that we are all selfish all the time because of the negative connotations, but it is a fact of life. Call it whatever else it may be; a need, survival etc. It is still selfish!
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:06 PM
 
31 posts, read 140,635 times
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Default To long? sorry

seems the route of the argument is in reference to aulturism and the possibility of being truly christ like. This idea of christ like behavior stems from the sacrifice given on the cross for the salvation of man kind. But did not christ ask in the garden of _______ , not sure the spelling, ask for this bitter cup to pass from his lips. A reference to his desire not to be crucified or suffer. It seems to me he performed his duty, not a selfless act. Acting on the ,latter, principles of Kant who suggest “What deserves respect in me is that I can obey—and you ought not to be different from me.” This sense of duty does not give you rights to claim selfless behaviors.
I think when I come down to motivation for action are best described by Maslow's hierarchy of needs which appears to be selfish in nature but necessary for human survival and happiness.

The rest is an optional waste of your day sorry about the length of post.

This paragraph by Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in his “Lecture on Ethics” speech exemplifies our inability in language to define in language ethical points of argument. “And now I must say that if I contemplate what Ethics really would have to be if there was such a science, this result seems to me quite obvious. It seems to me obvious that nothing we could ever think or say should be the thing. That we cannot write a scientific book, the subject matter of which could be intrinsically sublime and above all other subject matter. I can only describe my feeling by the metaphor, that, if a man could write a book on ethics, which really was a book on ethics, this book would in an explosion, destroy all the other books in the world. Our words used as we use them in science, are vessels capable only of containing and conveying meaning and sense, natural meaning and sense. Ethics if it is any thing is supernatural and our words will only express facts.”
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Blankity-blank!
11,449 posts, read 13,923,388 times
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For many years I've agreed with a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche:
"Our way is upward, from the species across to the super-species. But the degenerate mind which says 'All for me' is a horror to us."
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Land of 10000 Lakes +
5,554 posts, read 5,871,143 times
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Is it selfishness when you do something for someone that you don't feel like doing and inside you're just dying to get to what you want to do? Is that a benefit?
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:34 PM
 
31 posts, read 140,635 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aylalou View Post
Is it selfishness when you do something for someone that you don't feel like doing and inside you're just dying to get to what you want to do? Is that a benefit?
Of course it is you feel better about your self or whatever you get out of it and the someone else gets your help doing whatever you did. Win win in my book.
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Old 04-03-2009, 07:53 PM
miu
 
Location: MA/NH
16,476 posts, read 33,452,987 times
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I think that all animals, including humans are wired to look out for their own best interests... in other words, selfish. Sure, there are many like Mother Theresa doing selfless acts, however the ultimate goal for her was to please her god and get into heaven. Most charity is done in the name of a god with the ultimate goal being to get into heaven or to avoid a hell.

Seeking pleasure is a selfish act, whether it's looking for love, sex, food or seeking a warm clean safe spot to sleep in. It's all about fulfilling our needs and cravings. And there's nothing wrong with that, since if you don't look out for yourself, no one else will.

As to parents taking care of their kids, well that's a desire to see their genetic material continuing on to future generations and to have someone there to take care of them in their old age.
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:41 PM
 
Location: In my skin
8,882 posts, read 13,858,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miu View Post
As to parents taking care of their kids, well that's a desire to see their genetic material continuing on to future generations and to have someone there to take care of them in their old age.
You're not serious. Do you have children?
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Old 04-03-2009, 09:46 PM
 
Location: In my skin
8,882 posts, read 13,858,985 times
Reputation: 8735
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.

When I have brought this up before, people have typically said something like: "well the other day I went to visit my sick grandmother instead of going on this great trip some friends were taking; that wasn't selfish!"

Sure it was. That person decided that the benefit of visiting grandma - whether it was the pleasure of her company or simply the satisfaction of knowing they had done the "right thing" vs the guilt they might've felt if they didn't go - out-weighed the pleasure of the trip w/friends.

I'm not even sure if this is a "debate" topic or not exactly, but wasn't sure where else to put this; am I the only one who gets this?
I am with you 150%. It takes a deep thinker to get to where you (and Ringer) are processing life. Kudos to you!
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