U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 04-07-2009, 12:22 AM
 
9,912 posts, read 12,184,827 times
Reputation: 7257

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by motoman View Post
Right, so his choice was to act. Had another person chosen not to act out of fear, then they would be what? Both are choices. Which is selfish, which isn't?
Neither and both. Depends entirely on the circumstances as they unfold and the people involved.

Most likely he didn't have time to decide either motivation only had time to act. He might be considered a hero now and I'm sure there are people that would say that is his reward, but he's dead so I'm not seeing how he benefitted in anyway. I'm quite sure he didn't act KNOWING he would die or what the outcome would be and I'm quite sure he didn't have time to consider his actions either selfish or unselfish or any "reward" and I'd bet my bottom dollar that he didn't think about anything Robert Ringer had to say. Had he had the time to consider AND known that he would die he quite likely wouldn't have acted because he had a family to think about and I wouldn't have considered him choosing not to get involved selfish either.

There is selfishness in this scenario and it quite rightly rests with the jerk that caused it all. Completely self absorbed and acting in his own self interests although I'm really not sure what his reward is either seeing as he's now a murderer, has orphaned a family, destroyed the lives of all the people involved and is now sitting it out in a small cell. I doubt he's contemplating his selfishness or lack of it either.

This is why I say it's not as cut and dried as selfish or unselfish and life isn't ALWAYS about anything. There is always grey.
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 04-07-2009, 12:38 AM
 
830 posts, read 2,505,767 times
Reputation: 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshadow View Post
Neither and both. Depends entirely on the circumstances as they unfold and the people involved.

Most likely he didn't have time to decide either motivation only had time to act. He might be considered a hero now and I'm sure there are people that would say that is his reward, but he's dead so I'm not seeing how he benefitted in anyway. I'm quite sure he didn't act KNOWING he would die or what the outcome would be and I'm quite sure he didn't have time to consider his actions either selfish or unselfish or any "reward" and I'd bet my bottom dollar that he didn't think about anything Robert Ringer had to say. Had he had the time to consider AND known that he would die he quite likely wouldn't have acted because he had a family to think about and I wouldn't have considered him choosing not to get involved selfish either.

There is selfishness in this scenario and it quite rightly rests with the jerk that caused it all. Completely self absorbed and acting in his own self interests although I'm really not sure what his reward is either seeing as he's now a murderer, has orphaned a family, destroyed the lives of all the people involved and is now sitting it out in a small cell. I doubt he's contemplating his selfishness or lack of it either.

This is why I say it's not as cut and dried as selfish or unselfish and life isn't ALWAYS about anything. There is always grey.

I agree with everything you said. However, I still will argue that the actions of all parties involved were selfish. Not selfish in the sense of "me, me, me, me, me", except for the killer, but selfish in the sense that they did it for their own reasons.

The gent that tried to help, maybe that was just his personality. That's what I gathered from the story. So you could say he was selfishly a helpful person. You might could also argue that his was a selfish act because he should have thought more about the possibility of putting his family at risk. Things like that.

I think the important distinction is between good selfish and bad selfish. We are taught that being selfish is a bad thing, that being selfish is being totally self-centered. But that is just one side of it. Being selfish is also choosing to volunteer our time rather than pursue some type of traditional career, choosing to have kids or not, to take that vacation or not, to give to a charity or not, to help our friends and family or not, etc.

Another thing is that the selfishness argument tends to be very one-sided. A great example is a good friend of mine that bombards me with emails about all kinds of crap. He's always asking me about what I thought, did I see it, etc. I usually delete them because I just don't have that kind of time. He takes offense to that, as if I am doing something wrong by not reading the emails he took the time to send to me. As if he were doing me a favor by sending them. His selfishness is in that he thinks I have some responsibility to read his emails. My selfishness is that I don't feel I have any sort of responsibility to read his emails.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2009, 08:17 AM
 
Location: Land of 10000 Lakes +
5,554 posts, read 5,867,138 times
Reputation: 8560
Now - the person who instantly acts on instinct without a second to think, who jumps in front of someone when he or she sees something coming at the other person that is life-threatening, is that selfish when there's no time for thought?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2009, 10:58 AM
 
830 posts, read 2,505,767 times
Reputation: 380
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aylalou View Post
Now - the person who instantly acts on instinct without a second to think, who jumps in front of someone when he or she sees something coming at the other person that is life-threatening, is that selfish when there's no time for thought?

I think it is, but in a good way. Just as someone may "instinctually" act to save someone from harm, another may be just as likely to cower out of fear and do nothing to help. Both are instinctual for those people, and I believe both are selfish. One just happens to be a good selfish, the other not so good.

The things we think are instinctual, many are learned. We have basic instincts that mostly keep us from dying or help us protect others. But thinking clearly under pressure, for example, I don't believe is an instinctual ability. It may be easier for some than others, but I believe it is learned.

Me, for example, I get very calm when things start going wrong. My ex-wife would freak out to the point you just wanted to slap her silly. I could choose to react as she does, and she could choose to react as I do. But for our own selfish reasons we decide to react the way we do, whether we consciously think about it or not.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2009, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Land of 10000 Lakes +
5,554 posts, read 5,867,138 times
Reputation: 8560
Our instincts dictate as to who we really are. If one cowers, one is that way. If one saves another instinctually, that person is that way - unselfish. We may be born selfish, but I believe we can evolve to a higher level, no matter how many disagree. The saints had no idea they would be sainted, but many chose to live their lives in a selfless way.

Definition of selfish: (Webster's Third New International Dictionary - 2,662 pages): It's a choice, folks.

Selfish: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself; seeking or concentration on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being WITHOUT REGARD FOR OTHERS; self-centered; performed to benefit oneself, especially in disregard of the welfare of others.

I rest my case.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2009, 07:55 PM
 
Location: San Diego California
6,797 posts, read 6,120,491 times
Reputation: 5171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aylalou View Post
Now - the person who instantly acts on instinct without a second to think, who jumps in front of someone when he or she sees something coming at the other person that is life-threatening, is that selfish when there's no time for thought?
It is this simple. People always act in a way they feel is in there own best interest, the difference in behavior is due to what it is they feel is in their best interest. To some, saving themselves is of importance, to others, saving a loved one is more important, as in their view, their survival is dependent on survival of their family line. Other believe they are gaining some type of reward such as everlasting life by sacrificing themselves. Muslims who blow themselves up while murdering others believe they are buying themselves eternal happiness and rewards. The motive is always what is in their interest, it is just sometimes not logical or in some cases even sane.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2009, 08:53 PM
 
3,651 posts, read 8,112,779 times
Reputation: 2747
Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshadow View Post
Ever been involved in a situation like this joey? I think you're seriously over estimating the amount of time that people have to think about reward and what they're getting out of it. There just isn't time to contemplate or bask in the glow of reward. In these kinds of situations most people don't have time to do much more than act AND then the situation plays out as it will with all parties actively involved responding instinctually. I doubt anybody has time to be considering the consequences of their actions OR Mr Ringer's take on their motivations either.
Ringer is irrelevant to this other than me mentioning that it's where and how this whole concept was brought to my attention, so pls spare us the little jabs in that regard (in hindsight I shouldn't have even mentioned his name). If anyone wants to start a thread on his or someone else's "philosophies" in general, have at it, but he isn't the topic. OK?

Anyway, I am not saying they have to "think about it" or they are interested in "basking in the glow" blah blah etc. Again, like a few others here, you are misinterpreting the term "selfish" here as a negative trait. It is not, necessarily.

In this hypothetical example, it is simply a part of who this person is. They are the type who is willing to put their life at risk to save another, and the reward they get from it could be many things - eg satisfaction or self-esteem or self-worth (or whatever you want to call it) from knowing that they have this moral code and are willing to do this, etc. But rest assured there is indeed something - in fact something deep and profound for them - that they get from it. If there wasn't, they wouldn't do it.

And - one more time- that is not a criticism or an intent to minimize or tarnish such a supreme sacrifice in the least. It is simply a very general observation of human nature.

Last edited by joey2000; 04-07-2009 at 09:26 PM..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-07-2009, 09:08 PM
 
3,651 posts, read 8,112,779 times
Reputation: 2747
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aylalou View Post
We weren't talking about the experience quality of parenting. Go back and READ. Maybe then - maybe just a bit - you might get it. Here's hoping. Maybe that's why your posts are off.
If you just keep going "you're wrong, you're off" (etc) without explaining yourself at all - or worse, go "oh he's so stupid he doesn't get it, tee hee giggle" - FYI your aren't exactly building up your credibility.

Understand: I have no problem with someone disagreeing, but if you are unwilling or unable to back what you're saying and continue with such silliness, you're simply not worth paying any more attention to and I won't respond further.


Quote:
Originally Posted by motoman View Post
I haven't read all of the posts, only some of them, but to the OP, without a doubt everyone is selfish all of the time in the sense that, as you said, we do what is in our best interest.

Of the responses I've read so far, those arguing against the fact that we are all selfish have yet to provide anything with any meaningful support for their argument.
Telling, isn't it

Last edited by joey2000; 04-07-2009 at 09:25 PM..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-08-2009, 12:44 AM
 
1,245 posts, read 1,228,561 times
Reputation: 282
Quote:
Originally Posted by joey2000 View Post
Ringer is irrelevant to this other than me mentioning that it's where and how this whole concept was brought to my attention, so pls spare us the little jabs in that regard (in hindsight I shouldn't have even mentioned his name). If anyone wants to start a thread on his or someone else's "philosophies" in general, have at it, but he isn't the topic. OK?

Anyway, I am not saying they have to "think about it" or they are interested in "basking in the glow" blah blah etc. Again, like a few others here, you are misinterpreting the term "selfish" here as a negative trait. It is not, necessarily.

In this hypothetical example, it is simply a part of who this person is. They are the type who is willing to put their life at risk to save another, and the reward they get from it could be many things - eg satisfaction or self-esteem or self-worth (or whatever you want to call it) from knowing that they have this moral code and are willing to do this, etc. But rest assured there is indeed something - in fact something deep and profound for them - that they get from it. If there wasn't, they wouldn't do it.

And - one more time- that is not a criticism or an intent to minimize or tarnish such a supreme sacrifice in the least. It is simply a very general observation of human nature.
You seem to be ignoring my posts.

Suppose someone sacrifices greater happiness for lesser happiness, is it still selfish?
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 04-08-2009, 06:57 AM
 
9,912 posts, read 12,184,827 times
Reputation: 7257
Quote:
Originally Posted by motoman View Post
I agree with everything you said. However, I still will argue that the actions of all parties involved were selfish. Not selfish in the sense of "me, me, me, me, me", except for the killer, but selfish in the sense that they did it for their own reasons.

The gent that tried to help, maybe that was just his personality. That's what I gathered from the story. So you could say he was selfishly a helpful person. You might could also argue that his was a selfish act because he should have thought more about the possibility of putting his family at risk. Things like that.

I think the important distinction is between good selfish and bad selfish. We are taught that being selfish is a bad thing, that being selfish is being totally self-centered. But that is just one side of it. Being selfish is also choosing to volunteer our time rather than pursue some type of traditional career, choosing to have kids or not, to take that vacation or not, to give to a charity or not, to help our friends and family or not, etc.

Another thing is that the selfishness argument tends to be very one-sided. A great example is a good friend of mine that bombards me with emails about all kinds of crap. He's always asking me about what I thought, did I see it, etc. I usually delete them because I just don't have that kind of time. He takes offense to that, as if I am doing something wrong by not reading the emails he took the time to send to me. As if he were doing me a favor by sending them. His selfishness is in that he thinks I have some responsibility to read his emails. My selfishness is that I don't feel I have any sort of responsibility to read his emails.
Yeah, see for me it doesn't come down to weighing up every action and reaction to selfish, either good or bad selfish, not that I can say I have any clue what this good selfish is that people keep mentioning.

And yeah, to me the example you give about your friend and the emails is just a boundaries issue, something I wouldn't be attributing a label like selfish or unselfish to at all.
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Great Debates
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top