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Selfishness and Human Nature

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Old 07-23-2009, 02:42 PM   #16
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

A bigger person can look past someone's perceived lack of gratitude and say you know what, that person is better off for having crossed paths with me, and that's enough for me. Sure a thank you is nice, but it's not required. Good deeds should not have strings attached.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:01 PM   #17
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

I understand the doing things that make you feel good is "selfish" argument and figured it would come up sooner or later. [Did we all see the same Friends episode?]

It is correct to say that doing things that make you feel good is acting in your self interest. However, it is incorrect to say that they are per se selfish.

"selfish" has a defined meaning - it is acting in your own self interest with disregard for the interests of others. It is the disregard for others that makes actions "selfish" rather than then the knowledge that an act serves your self-interest. Doing any action in with your self-interest at heart (whether direct tangible compensation or some indirect intangible good feeling) is not in and of itself selfish. If you do the self interested act without some, either conscience or subconscience, consideration of others then the act becomes selfish.

Seeking to reap a benefit does not mean you are acting selfishly. It only means you have a healthy sense of self-awareness and are capable of acting in a manner that allows you to enjoy life. It is when we seek to reap a benefit without considering the ramifications to others that the act becomes selfish and hurtful:

If I assist at a shelter in order to feel good about myself that is a self-interested but not necessarily selfish act. The knowledge that my actions will bring me joy, simply shows that I have a healthy sense of self awareness -- I know how to act so that I can enjoy life.

On the other hand, if I go to the shelter every night to give and feel good about giving -- blissfully ignoring the fact that my wife is home alone with the kids, stressed, lonely and feeling abandoned, then acting on my self-interest is selfish.

I really think society has skewed the concept of selfishness lately and in doing so is in danger of losing the benefit of self-awareness. Only by knowing what brings joy/satisfaction, etc. to ourself, can we understand what causes that in others and, in doing so, rationally balance the causes and effects of are actions in relation to others.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:23 PM   #18
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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How was I owned as I agree with what he said 100%. I don't expect a thank you for everthing I do but when you gather 25 people together and spend a day helping someone a little thnak you is what someone who appreciates what you did for them says. When you knock on their door to say we are done and its like you are bothering them then yes it ticks me off.

Dude, you just contradict yourself in your own post. First you say you don't need a thank you then you say you knock on their door and you get no "thank you" which ticks you off.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:29 PM   #19
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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Only by knowing what brings joy/satisfaction, etc. to ourself, can we understand what causes that in others and, in doing so, rationally balance the causes and effects of are actions in relation to others.
In other words, only by understanding and acting on our self interest can we "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us."
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:40 PM   #20
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

I think we are down to semantics. By a strict definition we are not "selfish" but rather self-interested as you previously stated. I believe we act in our own self-interest. All actions come from a base level of self-interest. I guess selfishness is simply a specific implementation of self-interest.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:45 PM   #21
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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In other words, only by understanding and acting on our self interest can we "Do unto others as we would have them do unto us."
JoeRedskin is so selfish he only quotes himself

I have done a lot of volunteer work over the past 15 or so years. And I generally enjoy it but they have almost always been fueled by self-focused motives more so than the desire to help others. Helping others has been a nice bonus, of course.

In high school-community service looks great on the resume when applying for colleges. In college-party at my place got way out of hand so I was all about community service again. Now-Here at work it's strongly encouraged, very strongly "encouraged" that you devote several hours of your time to volunteering. So my motivation quite honestly has always been that it will help me or make me look good. Furthermore, I'm particular about what volunteer work I will do. I personally really enjoy working with kids so a lot of the volunteer work generally centers around working with them. If I'm asked to volunteer at some soup kitchen to feed the homeless, will I do it? Sure, I've done it in the past but given the choice I'd rather wait for a volunteer opportunity that I enjoy.

So I wonder, how many of you that volunteer or do community service (whatever you want to call it) are the same way-your primary motive is how it will reflect upon you and you pick and choose the type of volunteer work you will do?
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:50 PM   #22
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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You need to learn how to read. I said

How was I owned as I agree with what he said 100%. I don't expect a thank you for everthing I do but when you gather 25 people together and spend a day helping someone a little thnak you is what someone who appreciates what you did for them says. When you knock on their door to say we are done and its like you are bothering them then yes it ticks me off.

The point was you should not expect any thank you at all. Just know today in this thread you were owned.
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Old 07-23-2009, 03:56 PM   #23
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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I think we are down to semantics. By a strict definition we are not "selfish" but rather self-interested as you previously stated. I believe we act in our own self-interest. All actions come from a base level of self-interest. I guess selfishness is simply a specific implementation of self-interest.
I agree with your break-down, but would suggest that, in the context discussing whether humans are innately selfish or not, it is important to be clear as to the definition of the word describing the behaviour being analyzed.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:14 PM   #24
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

so here it is again:

There is a blood drive on Aug 1st at the TC, I posted a link in the Meetup forum. I think this is a thing most everyone can do, and truly provides an immense service. I hope others will do it as well.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:28 PM   #25
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

I've only had one bad nurse and she must have been evil, cause my veins are very good for giving blood, and she consistently missed and poked and prodded. other than her, everyone I have ever had has been outstanding.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:40 PM   #26
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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Your the one who cannot read and keeps changing what I said then when its pointed out you say I got owned.

Thank you for adimiting you got owned, though I didn't need the thanks. =)
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Old 07-27-2009, 11:44 AM   #27
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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A bigger person can look past someone's perceived lack of gratitude and say you know what, that person is better off for having crossed paths with me, and that's enough for me. Sure a thank you is nice, but it's not required. Good deeds should not have strings attached.
That is the true indicator of a selfless act/person, IMO.

A person who can do something for others, and not get angry when they don't appreciate it or are mean/selfish in return -- and continue doing for others, even in the face of continual ingratitude. They can look through that person's ego and see the true being. They can see that their actions were not provoked by *them*, but instead by their ego -- the thing inside us that needs to identify with forms, have more than others, and generally feel superior.

But, you all know my position on this matter. No need to rehash it. Just wanted to say that you hit the nail on the head Matty.

Joe, if you really want to explore the "non-selfish" side of this argument, I would urge you to read "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. I think it is a book that can be enjoyed even if you don't agree with it.
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Old 07-27-2009, 04:18 PM   #28
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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No. You're selfish. Just like everyone else. Some of the value you get out of helping people is derived from their gratitude. You acquire a sense of importance to them from that. It makes you feel good. When they're not grateful, or just don't show it, then you are deprived that emotion and it becomes not worth it to you.

atleast the man is cognizant of the people and struggles around him and if being selfish motivates FD to try and help others than more power to him. id rather have 1 guy doing the right thing for the "wrong" reasons than a bunch of "unselfish" people talking about doing the right thing every sunday . . .
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:15 PM   #29
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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atleast the man is cognizant of the people and struggles around him and if being selfish motivates FD to try and help others than more power to him. id rather have 1 guy doing the right thing for the "wrong" reasons than a bunch of "unselfish" people talking about doing the right thing every sunday . . .
Surely you're not saying the "devout" can be hypocritical?
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:48 PM   #30
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Re: Selfishness and Human Nature

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How was I owned as I agree with what he said 100%. I don't expect a thank you for everthing I do but when you gather 25 people together and spend a day helping someone a little thnak you is what someone who appreciates what you did for them says. When you knock on their door to say we are done and its like you are bothering them then yes it ticks me off.
I can't even fathom the type of person who would act like this after a group a people painted their house for free. I mean WoW.
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