First  Prev  1  2  3  4  5  Next  Last
Selfless or Selfish?
48119 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
M / Texas
Offline
Posted 12/12/12 , edited 12/12/12
I think the argument that everyone is selfish is morally bankrupt and self-serving. It's a great way to look down on individuals who actually attempt to do things that make a difference, at cost to oneself. It's also a great way to teach yourself not to value those things that people think of as selfless, or to make peace with driving past the world's suffering.

Does the fact that fulfilling one's morals, or helping another person, provides satisfaction make someone selfish for doing so? I disagree. I don't think emotional rewards were ever meant to be considered in determining the distinction between selfish and selfless. Purely mental gains do not count for this dichotomy. And, even more than that, the perspective that counts the rewards of selfless acts as ultimately selfish is destructive to the ability to perform them.

Maybe what's lacking is definition. Selflessness would be doing good for others at significant cost to oneself without expectation of reward. It's where many 'nice guys' seem to fall down - they feel like the world should pay them back, or that the girl that they have been putting themselves out for ought to hop into bed with them.

Selfishness, on the other hand, is making decisions that benefit only yourself or significantly harm another unnecessarily when either social mores or logic dictate that you should have and could have expanded the recipients of the good or reduced the harm. Letting someone take the blame for your own failures, screw ups, or poor decisions is selfish. Hitting someone's car, then leaving without providing a note or means to repair it is selfish. Taking all the credit for an idea that someone else suggested to you is selfish. Basically, Selfishness is reaping the rewards of someone else's actions without their consent or acknowledgement, or forcing others to pay the negative costs of your own actions.

The fact that someone sees a general benefit or feels good about a selfless action does not make it selfish. It just means it isn't stupid.
Banned
31569 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
36 / M / The Void.
Offline
Posted 12/12/12

shard147 wrote:

I think the argument that everyone is selfish is morally bankrupt and self-serving. It's a great way to look down on individuals who actually attempt to do things that make a difference, at cost to oneself. It's also a great way to teach yourself not to value those things that people think of as selfless, or to make peace with driving past the world's suffering.

Does the fact that fulfilling one's morals, or helping another person, provides satisfaction make someone selfish for doing so? I disagree. I don't think emotional rewards were ever meant to be considered in determining the distinction between selfish and selfless. Purely mental gains do not count for this dichotomy. And, even more than that, the perspective that counts the rewards of selfless acts as ultimately selfish is destructive to the ability to perform them.

Maybe what's lacking is definition. Selflessness would be doing good for others at significant cost to oneself without expectation of reward. It's where many 'nice guys' seem to fall down - they feel like the world should pay them back, or that the girl that they have been putting themselves out for ought to hop into bed with them.

Selfishness, on the other hand, is making decisions that benefit only yourself or significantly harm another unnecessarily when either social mores or logic dictate that you should have and could have expanded the recipients of the good or reduced the harm. Letting someone take the blame for your own failures, screw ups, or poor decisions is selfish. Hitting someone's car, then leaving without providing a note or means to repair it is selfish. Taking all the credit for an idea that someone else suggested to you is selfish. Basically, Selfishness is reaping the rewards of someone else's actions without their consent or acknowledgement, or forcing others to pay the negative costs of your own actions.

The fact that someone sees a general benefit or feels good about a selfless action does not make it selfish. It just means it isn't stupid.


Exactly. Debate over.

16267 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
22 / M / Norway, Oslo
Offline
Posted 12/12/12
Well i guess we do stuff because we get an uncomfortable feeling if we are not helping, and we want to get rid of that. In other words good actions could be considered selfish and selfless maybe?
2466 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
F
Offline
Posted 12/25/12
Just do what you want and don't bother to think of how people think of you.
aoc000 
24156 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
22 / M / Too much informat...
Offline
Posted 12/25/12 , edited 12/25/12
I do whatever I can to help others benefit. I will help someone that is perfectly able to do things or people that aren't so able without a thought. If you think "I better get a thank you or some recognition out of this" you are selfish and you're doing it for the wrong reason. Never expect some gold medal or reward.
Posted 12/25/12
Yes, selflessness does exists. You'll have to be a mother to understand it.
919 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
31 / M / england
Offline
Posted 12/25/12
Damn brings me back to some argument I had with some: extremely arrogant, self important guy on here. The problem is people try to break words down existentially. Yes any action we take is done by one's "self" but it doesn't mean everything we do is selfish else there would of been no need for the word. For example an atheist who sacrafices himself to save someone would believe he gained nothing from it and be ignoring his own self preservation, how can that be selfish?
28514 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
22 / M / Delaware
Offline
Posted 12/25/12 , edited 12/25/12
SO YOUR SAYING JESUS WAS SELFISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted 12/25/12
That is true for many people since I've witnessed that myself. I personally don't feel that way since I never once thought I want to give money to someone who's homeless out of guilt or to make myself look good. I'll simply give him/her the money because I want and I do enjoy helping others without any reward.
58197 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
24 / M / United States of...
Offline
Posted 12/25/12
By definition. We can never achieve altruism. It's too perfect. and as human beings we are not perfect. No one is. Everyone has ulterior motives whether they realize this or not. We can possibly get CLOSE to the idea of selfless. But these definitions only exist to make ourselves feel better. Why does a religious man do good? To please God. Would he be doing the same thing if God didn't tell him to do so? Who knows.

Clearly you're taking a philosophy course. Because around your age everyone including myself asked this same question.
58197 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
24 / M / United States of...
Offline
Posted 12/25/12

quaser666 wrote:

Damn brings me back to some argument I had with some: extremely arrogant, self important guy on here. The problem is people try to break words down existentially. Yes any action we take is done by one's "self" but it doesn't mean everything we do is selfish else there would of been no need for the word. For example an atheist who sacrafices himself to save someone would believe he gained nothing from it and be ignoring his own self preservation, how can that be selfish?


I don't understand where being an atheist comes in at all... Being an atheist means you don't believe in God. It doesn't mean you have no morals. You can clearly be atheist and have morals. Just like you can be religious and be immoral. Are you sure you aren't the ignorant one?

28514 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
22 / M / Delaware
Offline
Posted 12/25/12 , edited 12/25/12

aragas711 wrote:


quaser666 wrote:

Damn brings me back to some argument I had with some: extremely arrogant, self important guy on here. The problem is people try to break words down existentially. Yes any action we take is done by one's "self" but it doesn't mean everything we do is selfish else there would of been no need for the word. For example an atheist who sacrafices himself to save someone would believe he gained nothing from it and be ignoring his own self preservation, how can that be selfish?


I don't understand where being an atheist comes in at all... Being an atheist means you don't believe in God. It doesn't mean you have no morals. You can clearly be atheist and have morals. Just like you can be religious and be immoral. Are you sure you aren't the ignorant one?



you obviously don't understand his example. i'll break it down for you, since atheists don't believe in a god or afterlife, he's saying how could an atheist be selfish in his sacrificing of himself for another. he does not believe in heaven, so how could he be doing this just to gain admittance, or please god. he wasn't trying to say atheists don't have morals buddy.
919 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
31 / M / england
Offline
Posted 12/25/12

aragas711 wrote:

I don't understand where being an atheist comes in at all... Being an atheist means you don't believe in God. It doesn't mean you have no morals. You can clearly be atheist and have morals. Just like you can be religious and be immoral. Are you sure you aren't the ignorant one?



wow I really can't see how you read it like that. I suppose I am ignorant because it never even crossed my mind someone could misinterpret what I said so badly.

tehstud wrote:

you obviously don't understand his example. i'll break it down for you, since atheists don't believe in a god or afterlife, he's saying how could an atheist be selfish in his sacrificing of himself for another. he does not believe in heaven, so how could he be doing this just to gain admittance, or please god. he wasn't trying to say atheists don't have morals buddy.


Thanks buddy you saved me a job there haha
13228 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
M / in the underworld...
Offline
Posted 12/25/12



There is true good in this world, its hard to come by but its there. If your thinking of your kids or grand kids then its more selfless then selfish because your not thinking of your self. As long as you don't benifit in helping some one then its selfless. The thing is some people benifit by making them feel good about there self. I have been selfish because am human its survival to do so, but here is moments where I been selfless. Even if vary few it exsist.Its how the definition of selfless is viewed. I done things to help others were I did not benifit in any way were in fact it made me feel worse than if I didn't help them. its all about ones view and definition of the word that gets blured. I think as long as it helps some one in need what dos it matter if its selfless or selfish motives. If you told the homless person you just fed, even if it was on drugs lol I did so because it makes me happy to help people would he care other than the fact you just helped him So is it wrong to help people if you enjoy doing so can one who dos help others that makes them happy to know they made a difference in this world so selfish? just beacause they believe it to be the right thing to do? do you have to sufer in your actions to make it selfless if not your selfish . the definition is blured. I say help people and if you feel better giving homless people money do so, its the end result that
13228 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
M / in the underworld...
Offline
Posted 12/25/12
matters
First  Prev  1  2  3  4  5  Next  Last
You must be logged in to post.