everybody is selfish

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Decsel, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Decsel

    Decsel Registered Member


    i would just want to know everyone opinion on this you see i was thinking about this after i saw some movie ( sadly can't remember what it was about or called).
    In the movie somebody had to do a totally selfless act.
    Now if somebody tells you to do a totally selfless act and you do it, the act is not selfless at all as you wanted to commit a selfless act so the act you committed was in the end for your own personal gain.
    If someone where to commit there whole life to helping hungry round bellied babys in africa it would not be selfless as they chose to commit there life to charity. In other words charity makes that individual feel good about themselves and so they did it for themselves.
    another example;
    You HATE going to your grandmother/mother/mother in law but still you go because you don't want to be rude or make your grandmother/mother/mother in law feel bad. So in the end your going because going there makes you feel good about yourself because the person you were going to, feels good about themselves.
    Seriously if anybody can think of a totally selfless act that i can't explain is not a selfless act ( you still with me :p) please tell me.

    so when it all comes down to it
    human beiings always put themselves first.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2009

  2. sb1732

    sb1732 Registered Member

    Are you sure it wasn't a 'friends' episode you watched? Haha, because there's an episode on that topic exactly.

    Anyway, yes i get what you mean, i can't think of an example of an act that is completely selfless though at the moment.

    I think though there are selfless acts because if you do for example give money to charity then you are doing because you want to help someone, it might give you a personal gain too but if you didn't care about the people you were giving to then you wouldn't feel the need to give anything at all, so therefore you just wouldn't give to charity in the first place. Did that make any sense? Haha, its pretty hard to explain what im getting at...
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2009
  3. Decsel

    Decsel Registered Member

    yea it made some sense :p

    yea i was just looking on the internet about that friends episode. but no i was just thinking about it and it came to mind.

    i realy can't think of any act funny eh?
  4. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    I'd say it doesn't matter if you do the right thing for the wrong reasons, it's still the right thing. I'm not into the ethics of conviction thing. So I don't think this question is all that important. The world would still be a better place, as long as you do the right thing, regardless of your reasons.
  5. Rebeccaaa

    Rebeccaaa yellow 4!

    This is quite a common debate, does altruism really exist? I don't think it does, personally. I think that everything we choose to do benefits us in some way. However, I don't think this is a bad thing at all, it's human nature and it certainly doesn't stop our drive to help other people. It's not a crime for something to make you feel good even though that wasn't your primary motive, oh, and in some cases it's more like you did the act to avoid feeling bad. It's the same thing really.

    The most selfless act I can think of is when you do something for someone but you don't tell them about it. That way, you gain absolutely no recognition for it. But even still, it made you feel like a better person, and avoided the guilt you might have felt if you didn't do it.

    I would not call a world without altruism selfish, nor would I say humans always put themselves first. You can quite easily put someone else's needs before your own and still feel personal satisfaction from doing it. A mother and child, for example. She will always put that child first out of love, but a very very small part of it is because she loves him/her she doesn't want to see them get hurt, because that would hurt her.

    Sorry, I'm rambling. :/
    Boredie and Sim like this.
  6. Decsel

    Decsel Registered Member

    ok sim no need to go bitching about it. it wasn't a question of wrong or rite it was a question of yes or no. The answer obviously being No , it does not exist. i dont recall saying it was something that is wrong i was just saying that there is no such thing as selflessness.

    The title everybody is selfish was not meant as a true conclusion as it is not something you do consciously. It was just a title to pull attention, as every title of anything should do.
    I agree with you rebeccaaa :p i just didn't put it the same way.

  7. Sim

    Sim Registered Member

    Hey Decsel,
    I'm sorry if you got the impression I was going ****ing about it. All I wanted to say is that I generally agree with you, probably no deed is really altruistic. Even when we do good deeds that don't pay off for us, we usually do it to feel better.

    I'm just saying I think that's not bad. It's still good when you do something beneficial for others or the community, even if you have selfish motives and reasons.
  8. Decsel

    Decsel Registered Member

    OK i'm sorry for my misinterpretation of your message.
    thanks for the replys
  9. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    If I were willing to die to save someone (and I knew that nobody would know about it, so I wouldn't even be remembered as a hero), wouldn't that be selfless?

    I disagree. What about a con artist who does something good because he wants to rip you off?

    Also, if motives don't matter, that means that someone who wants to help, but accidentally makes things worse, is just as bad as someone who sets out to mess things up.

    A classic example is when butterflies. When someone sees a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon, they often help the butterfly get out. However, the butterfly needs to struggle to get out to develop wing strength - so someone trying to help would actually be killing the butterfly. Is that just as bad as someone who tears the wings off a butterfly, just for the fun of it?

    Or a fireman who's trying to rescue people, but he accidentally shifts the rubble the wrong way, crushing someone; is that as bad as if he'd deliberately crushed someone?
  10. Rebeccaaa

    Rebeccaaa yellow 4!

    It's probably the best example actually yeah, but I'd still argue that it's not 100% selfless. Part of you is avoiding the outcome of not dying to save that person, because it would be hard to live with yourself if you didn't, if you see what I'm saying..

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