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Post Reply Is it possible selfishness isn't the real problem?
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Posted 6/10/15

silversongwriter wrote:1. Going against our nature can bring about all sorts of great improvements. For one, there's greater satisfaction than just following human nature. Some people seek to improve themselves or create their own sense of morality and identity. Why would humanity have such an amazing ability if we're not supposed to do it?

2. Well, if you've been raised and have been conditioned to see generosity as a virtue. Then engaging in it will give you pride and happiness. Plus, it's just human empathy to feel better when you see others feel better. However, I believe environment and background play a bigger role in that. If generosity is a virtue in ones heart... you don't need to tell them to give, they'd give of thier own heart and of thier own will

3. We can... but a lot of things are collective. Even though some people differ... 90% of the world agrees stealing is wrong, killing is wrong unless it's nessasary, lying is wrong unless it's nessasary, and that suffering is bad... poeple are free to disagree with that, however, that's a small number of people who support such things. Morality is subjective, but it's also collective. And peoples morals are undoubtably influenced by society.

I believe a society that stresses generosity will end up creating a collective idea that "generosity is morally correct".


1. Can you give any examples of going against human nature (self interest) bringing about greater satisfaction than going along with it? It's impossible because it's impossible to differentiate between the two in any human action.

2. You haven't made it clear why they should though and the only assumptions you've made with respect to your own morality are that you believe self interest is a part of human nature and that morality is subjective - neither of which can be used to support the idea that they should be one way or the other.

3. Let me ask you a crucially question. Is it important that someone does something because it IS right or because the majority says that it's right? A collective morality doesn't make it any less subjective and thus does not make it any more significant.

Do you want to be good? Or do you just want everyone else to do what you want? Why then would you scorn others for doing what they want especially when it is accordance with what you believe is their nature?
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Posted 6/10/15 , edited 6/10/15
I respectfully disagree with the notion that generosity is ideal. It is entirely possible to be too generous or generous to a fault. This quickly turns into a flaw. As with everything, there should be a balance for optimal results. Adjust traits based on the circumstances. Selfishness is what keeps us alive, and we only realize the importance of the trait once we have given everything away.

Generosity certainly is a virtue, since it is easier to be selfish than generous. Most admirable traits tend to not be beneficial to the self in the conventional sense. They are admirable BECAUSE they are harder to exhibit and the person exhibiting them doesn't stand to gain anything. But exhibiting them more is not necessarily better. There is a point where too much bravery, too much generosity, too much patience, etc. become impractical and self-defeating. Being too generous might go against the reason we are generous in the first place.

For instance, let's say a man encounters some misfortune and loses his worldly things, becoming unable to feed himself or survive. Generous people give him things so that he can recover from this period of bad luck. Giving him too much may very well lead him to think that he can survive simply by mooching off strangers.

Our nature compels us for good reasons. Usually the reasons are fairly straightforward and simple. Demonstrating our ability to fight our own natures shows that we are aware, not necessarily that we are making the best decisions for ourselves and others. Just as being dragged along by our base desires too much is bad, fighting our desires too much is also bad.
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Posted 6/10/15


You're the opposite to me then. The older I get, the more selfish and uncharitable I get. I used to go out of my way to help people and now I begrudge lending them 20p
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Posted 6/10/15
I think most people are generous and selfless as long as doing such act doesn't affect them.
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Posted 6/10/15

eclair-lumiere wrote:



You're the opposite to me then. The older I get, the more selfish and uncharitable I get. I used to go out of my way to help people and now I begrudge lending them 20p


Haha!! Maybe we all just become the opposite of what we started as.
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Posted 6/10/15 , edited 6/10/15

Tethealla wrote:

1. Can you give any examples of going against human nature (self interest) bringing about greater satisfaction than going along with it? It's impossible because it's impossible to differentiate between the two in any human action.

2. You haven't made it clear why they should though and the only assumptions you've made with respect to your own morality are that you believe self interest is a part of human nature and that morality is subjective - neither of which can be used to support the idea that they should be one way or the other.

3. Let me ask you a crucially question. Is it important that someone does something because it IS right or because the majority says that it's right? A collective morality doesn't make it any less subjective and thus does not make it any more significant.

Do you want to be good? Or do you just want everyone else to do what you want? Why then would you scorn others for doing what they want especially when it is accordance with what you believe is their nature?


1. I guess I can't right now. however, I can say that people are largely a result of their backgrounds. People raised to be generous often end up that way. I'm saying the environment should change

2. I agree... you technically don't HAVE to be generous. However, the world is free to have their sense of morality. If the majority of people find excessive selfishness wrong, then well, you're not free from their scorn. Of course, you're still free to be excessively greedy, however, other peoples idea of you would suffer.
But whether you care what they think is your choice. ,

3. You shouldn't do something just because the majority of people think it's right. But whether you like it or not, the rest of the world has definitely played a role in forming the sense of morality that you have. I don't scorn others for not being generous. However, I do think they lack an important virtue.
My environment taught me that if I like being helped, I should help others... I technically didn't form that on my own, my upbringing made me that way. However, that's not a bad things. Even if I'm only acting in accordance to a majority, it's thanks to the people who feel that way that I hold such a moral.
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Posted 6/10/15
Jaden Smith is on Crunchyroll eh..?
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Posted 6/11/15
I find it strange to see so many people who take it as a given that 'selfishness is our basic instinct'.

If someone was drowning in a pool, would you really hesitate to save them? You can search online and find thousands of examples of people who rush to the aid of others, for no noticeable gain themselves, who can often say in the heat of the moment that they didn't think about their actions at all.

There's no 'cost-sum' benefit analysis on quick judgements, your brain can make judgements before you're consciously aware you're making them.

http://www.pnas.org/content/110/15/6217.full

(I adore PNAS... but it's a terrible acronym)

We've seen demonstrated altruistic behavior among plenty of other species and hell, we have even organized species like ants sacrificing the few to save the many, these aren't humans and they're certainly not weighing the moral values of those types of questions.

Can't anyone think of a potential reason why both selfish AND selfless traits might be selected for? Why a species might be prone to having both individual needs, as well as a general feeling of wanting to participate in a larger social group? Is it really so hard to think 'huh, selflessness could potentially help a species survive'? If selflessness can provide a selective advantage, just like selfishness does, isn't it possible and 'natural' that a species as complex as humans exhibit BOTH instincts?

Why must everything be one extreme or the other?
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Posted 6/11/15

silversongwriter wrote:

And if one has generosity as one of their core values, then giving to others will be pleasurable, people would have the incentive to give since it would give them a sense of pride and joy. By serving others, they would be serving themselves.


I see what you´re trying to say and it´s one of the qualities I hate most about humans. Selfishness.
But in the end it´s still as you say ´´serving ones selve´´ selfish.

I wish there were people who really would really give without a second thought just to make another happy instead of in the end still doing it for him/her self, but I'm pretty sure that's impossible unless you're Shirou.
Posted 6/11/15

AirMarshall wrote:

Jaden Smith is on Crunchyroll eh..?

"If Babies Could Speak They'd Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Plant Earth."
- Jaden Smith
Posted 6/11/15
Why is it I always see posts made from you that have to due with people and what is right or wrong lol.
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Posted 6/11/15

anzn wrote:


AirMarshall wrote:

Jaden Smith is on Crunchyroll eh..?

"If Babies Could Speak They'd Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Plant Earth."
- Jaden Smith


Well, nice to know that somebody saw Bob Clark's "Baby Geniuses 2".
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Posted 6/11/15
Coming home from work at 11:45pm and i am approached by 2 adult men. I instantly get ready because little do they know I can defend myself pretty well. One of them says something and i don't hear it because of my headphones. I remove them and he says "Do you have some spare change?" I relax and reach into my pocket for some CHANGE (That's what they asked for so they get a dollar tops) I only have 10s and a 50 soo i give them 10 each, I don't know what was wrong with me but i was in a good mood.
The next day I go by the same place and see the 2 guys and i'm like (excuse my language) "There go the two poor people, that even though i'm also poor i gave them money" then i notice their feet, their shiny shiny brightly colored feet. They both had on Jordans very very very expensive jordans... I was scammed, now i'm not giving anyone any money
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Posted 6/12/15
organisms are 'selfish' in nature so if you look at it, selfishness doesn't really exist... wow. cool cool :(
I'm selfish
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