Giving without expecting anything in return.

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DrFunk
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 12:10 pm
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone could help me puzzle out something that I thought of today when being exposed to this kind of situation. What pushes us to make sacrifices for others? As little as they are, why do we force ourselves to do something for someone in order to help them/ make them happy? Does it bring us guaranteed satisfaction? Do we do it expecting something in return? If so, then this would seem very immoral and selfish.

Why do we accept to suffer to make someone's life better? It could just be lending a certain amount of money to a friend like it could be risking your own life for someone... We often make sacrifices because we are scared to be pointed out by others as egocentric. We are scared of what others would think of us if we didn't lend them a hand.

The only real reason I can find is the very selfish one which would consist of waiting for something in return of the favor/ sacrifice we have given.

Do people who give without expecting anything in return really exist? I'd like to know your opinion on this and discuss a bit further on the topic!
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 12:15 pm
@DrFunk,
Of course they do. We evolved to be altruistic, some more than others. Our genes may be "selfish" but that doesn't make us selfish. We'll be annoyed if they are ungrateful, but that doesn't mean we won't do it.
 
DrFunk
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 12:36 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;161803 wrote:
Of course they do. We evolved to be altruistic, some more than others. Our genes may be "selfish" but that doesn't make us selfish. We'll be annoyed if they are ungrateful, but that doesn't mean we won't do it.


I understand what you mean here but even if we evolved to be altruistic, isn't just something we do thinking of how it could benefit us in the future?
What I mean here is really, does anyone do something for someone without expecting any benefits in the long-run? This would mean no one truely gives without expecting something in return...
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 12:47 pm
@DrFunk,
DrFunk;161811 wrote:
I understand what you mean here but even if we evolved to be altruistic, isn't just something we do thinking of how it could benefit us in the future?
What I mean here is really, does anyone do something for someone without expecting any benefits in the long-run? This would mean no one truely gives without expecting something in return...


No I don't think so. We do it because we sympathize. We see someone in trouble and want to help. Expectations don't always come into it.

Of course there are more feelings that come into it. Being altruistic to someone who is rude in return is not sound from an evolutionary standpoint. But usually, if you help someone they feel guilty if they don't do anything in return. This is how some salespeople work.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 8 May, 2010 02:24 pm
@DrFunk,
DrFunk;161800 wrote:
What pushes us to make sacrifices for others?

When this happens, its generally because we want to; perhaps it makes us feel good to help someone else feel good. There's often a genuine joy in seeing joy in others when we're the 'cause' of that happiness.

DrFunk;161800 wrote:
... why do we force ourselves to do something for someone in order to help them/ make them happy?


If someone's forcing themselves to do something for someone else, I don't think that'd fall into any kind of altruistic category. Truth be told, I'm not sure how exactly that'd work.

DrFunk;161800 wrote:
Do we do it expecting something in return? If so, then this would seem very immoral and selfish.


I think so; whether it be that warm fuzzy, a desire to see someone happy or some other, more specific reason. In any case, there is a "self interest" element to any kind of giving - that's undeniable - but I don't think I'd couch it as immoral at all. Let me counter ask this: If I do a good thing for the wrong reason, was it still a good thing? Answer: Of course it was, if my motivation was flawed, wrong, bad or immoral, the external 'event' that we've already defined as "good" remains so. A bad motive can taint the goodness brought, but we're sliding into extremes here. I believe most self-interested acts of giving are, on the whole, still good things.

DrFunk;161800 wrote:
Why do we accept to suffer to make someone's life better? ... We often make sacrifices because we are scared to be pointed out by others as egocentric. We are scared of what others would think of us if we didn't lend them a hand.


What you're describing here probably does come into play often. But where that's the case, someone is allowing their perceived impression on others to dictate what they do. Perceptions are a normal part of our lives, and we all are (to some greater or lesser extent) subject to them. But that's a far cry from saying they "rule" us - we do have a choice. I think here its important to know oneself enough to understand our own motivations and pitfalls, so as to avoid doing something out of some sense of perceived obligation.

DrFunk;161800 wrote:
The only real reason I can find is the very selfish one which would consist of waiting for something in return of the favor/ sacrifice we have given.


Sure... again, this is something that takes place a good deal. The only thing I'd like to add in communicating my understanding of these processes is this: I believe we are a species of perceived necessity - that we gravitate towards those people (and seek their company, companionship or other kinds of interaction) based on what we, internally, believe they can or will do for us. Perhaps being around them makes us feel good, maybe we have other designs (such as long term friendship or romance). In either case, its still a subconscious decision on the part of the doer that sees what they believe this other person might do or be for them. Yes, this carries a twinge of selfishness; So what. We've been working that way for millions of years (as do bugs, mice, your average goat and virtually every other animal). This Selfish element needs only be mitigated when that person seen only or predominantly as a means towards something else. If I love my wife because I treasure her company, am I therefore a selfish, self-interested dolt? See what I mean?

Self-interest is a part of our behavior that needs reigning in when objectification outgrows respect - not to be vilified as always a horrid monster. Of course, I say this conceding that it's just my view - your mileage may vary.

DrFunk;161800 wrote:
Do people who give without expecting anything in return really exist?


Consciously? Sure!

Subconsciously (or as a part of other perceived element of self interest)? No, probably not.

Again, I'd say whether there's an element of self interest is no reason to condemn one and deify the other. It's the level of usery, objectification or malicious-intent that - in my book - plays the biggest part in what is or isn't immoral giving.

Thanks
 
Mentally Ill
 
Reply Mon 10 May, 2010 06:35 pm
@DrFunk,
Sometimes I give people a CD that I like, hoping it will enrich their life in some way. I don't expect them to give me anything back. Maybe a thank you Smile

Something about being social creatures makes it feel good to help people and to give people gifts.
If I am feeling happy, then it becomes my goal to spread happiness around, not to hoard it.
So happy people do good things for people, for free. Angry people, people who feel betrayed by society, usually commit crimes. This very often includes rebellious teenagers full of angst and also impoverished individuals in desperate situations.

You can see how a person's inner emotions can translate into their outward actions.
I think it is human nature to express ones inner emotions outwardly in a variety of different ways.
The best examples of this can be found in art.

Look at different sub categories within a broader genre, like hip hop. You have your "positive" raps like De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest, and you have your "negative" raps like Wu Tang Clan and NWA.
Negative and positive, in this case, don't refer to the value of the art, but the disposition of the sentiments being expressed. The same could be said for human action.
 
BrianH phil
 
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:45 pm
@DrFunk,
DrFunk;161800 wrote:
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone could help me puzzle out something that I thought of today when being exposed to this kind of situation. What pushes us to make sacrifices for others? As little as they are, why do we force ourselves to do something for someone in order to help them/ make them happy? Does it bring us guaranteed satisfaction? Do we do it expecting something in return? If so, then this would seem very immoral and selfish.

Why do we accept to suffer to make someone's life better? It could just be lending a certain amount of money to a friend like it could be risking your own life for someone... We often make sacrifices because we are scared to be pointed out by others as egocentric. We are scared of what others would think of us if we didn't lend them a hand.

The only real reason I can find is the very selfish one which would consist of waiting for something in return of the favor/ sacrifice we have given.

Do people who give without expecting anything in return really exist? I'd like to know your opinion on this and discuss a bit further on the topic!


We are all independent existences and that means that everything we do has an effect on us as individuals. It would be impossible to do something completely oblivious to your existence which includes your desires. If you want to help someone then that is the selfish act, the act of wanting to help. If you don't help then the satisfaction of helping isn't there. Every situation has an aspect and perspective of egoism. That doesn't make it bad. That desire to help and make yourself feel good in the process still helps someone else regardless of circumstance and ethics.
 
Ergo phil
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 11:58 am
@DrFunk,
Giving without expecting anything in return is called wisdom.

Giving without getting anything in return is called slavery.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 12:03 pm
@DrFunk,
DrFunk wrote:
What pushes us to make sacrifices for others? As little as they are, why do we force ourselves to do something for someone in order to help them/ make them happy?


One reason may be because we love said person.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 08:10 pm
@DrFunk,
DrFunk;161800 wrote:
Hi all,
I was wondering if anyone could help me puzzle out something that I thought of today when being exposed to this kind of situation. What pushes us to make sacrifices for others? As little as they are, why do we force ourselves to do something for someone in order to help them/ make them happy? Does it bring us guaranteed satisfaction? Do we do it expecting something in return? If so, then this would seem very immoral and selfish.



Arepages 31-33 in the ETHICAL ADVENTURES booklet - a link to which is below as the end of the signature - relevant to your concern? Let us know if ithe discussion you find there helped to clarify the topic. In the table of contents this section is entitled "Selfishness, Selflessness, and Self-Interest." After you study it tell me what you think. Does it shed light on the subject?
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 09:43 pm
@deepthot,
No living organism takes action without expecting reaction. Whether or not the expected reaction is personal gain depends entirely on whether or not the organism is ruled by Love of Self or Love of All at the moment of action. In other words, it depends on whether the organism lives a life of Necessity or Destiny, respectively.
 
wayne
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 10:12 pm
@DrFunk,
My own insight into this matter has lead me to believe that I will always live my life primarily for self. Whether I do this selfishly or not is entirely my own choice.

My reasons for making sacrifices and helping others are primarily for self, I do it because it feels good. It builds my esteem as well as my ego. I feel better when I see someone benefit from my sacrifice.
I define this as living for self, unselfishly.

I am able, also, to act selfishly, seeking my immediate satisfaction and material gain.
When I choose this option, though, I am actually making a poor and short sighted decision for self.

To act unselfishly is the decision of greatest benefit to self in the end, although it requires a level of honesty and insight that is not easily obtained.
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 10:29 pm
@wayne,
wayne;165955 wrote:
My reasons for making sacrifices and helping others are primarily for self, I do it because it feels good. It builds my esteem as well as my ego. I feel better when I see someone benefit from my sacrifice. I define this as living for self, unselfishly.


When you act for Love of Self, there is a personal gratification in most cases. Ignorance can botch that plan every time. However, nothing else benefits.

When you act for Love of All, there is still the personal gratification but every time it is accompanied by the Good it creates in the Universe, which is never present when action is taken for Love of Self beyond Necessity.

But I do like the Unselfishly Selfish life.
 
wayne
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 10:35 pm
@trismegisto,
trismegisto;165962 wrote:
When you act for Love of Self, there is a personal gratification in most cases. Ignorance can botch that plan every time. However, nothing else benefits.

When you act for Love of All, there is still the personal gratification but every time it is accompanied by the Good it creates in the Universe, which is never present when action is taken for Love of Self beyond Necessity.

But I do like the Unselfishly Selfish life.


I like the concept you are expressing, however ,I wonder how many can honestly prevent their right hand from seeing what the left hand is doing.
It's nigh well impossible to create good in the universe without feeling good about it, thus enter SELF.
 
trismegisto
 
Reply Tue 18 May, 2010 10:55 pm
@wayne,
wayne;165967 wrote:
I like the concept you are expressing, however ,I wonder how many can honestly prevent their right hand from seeing what the left hand is doing.
It's nigh well impossible to create good in the universe without feeling good about it, thus enter SELF.



I think we share the same overall concept here, we just have slightly different concepts of Self.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 03:53 am
@DrFunk,
Many of us sacrifice ourselves unselfishly because of flok instinct, to protect the flok, to help it, to care for it.

We see people go to war, knowingly they can get mangled, traumatized and even die, why you ask? Because the flock instinct make these people think of a greater purpose than themselves, though some may do it for other reasons than flok instinct, for selfish reaons, such as adventure, suicide or even blood lust ..etc.

I see help organization people who go to 3rd world countries without thought of themselfs, only with the thought of helping their fellow people in need. It also in the flock instinct to nurture the flok.

Most humans acts on instinct, some times these instinct are dormant or disturbed and they become psycotic and cynically.
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 10:16 am
@DrFunk,
the closest thing in my experience in doing something for someone other than self without expecting anything in return, either consciously or subconsciously, would be the instincts of a mother (and maybe fathers have them, but i was never a father so i cant verify that). but at the same time, i think there is a loss of self in the process, or an extension to believing the other (child) is the self...and this could become extended to the entire human race, but it is confusing .
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 07:23 pm
@salima,
salima;166151 wrote:
the closest thing in my experience in doing something for someone other than self without expecting anything in return, either consciously or subconsciously, would be the instincts of a mother (and maybe fathers have them, but i was never a father so i cant verify that). but at the same time, i think there is a loss of self in the process, or an extension to believing the other (child) is the self...and this could become extended to the entire human race, but it is confusing .



Human beings do not have instincts. Read up on Dr. A. Maslow, the psychologist-anthropologist. He does say we have some instinctoid behavior, but it's bees and ants that have instincts, not primates.

Hi, Salima

I just finished another book. I know you will gain something out of reading it because you have a healthy aptitude for learning, and for searching for truth. So just click on the end of the link for some ethical explorations and adventures.

Happy reading !!
 
Deckard
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 08:00 pm
@deepthot,
The Gift (1924) by Marcel Mauss seems relevant here. It's a classic of French sociology. I have not read it yet but it looks very interesting.

The Gift (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 08:41 pm
@Deckard,
Deckard;166266 wrote:
The Gift (1924) by Marcel Mauss seems relevant here. It's a classic of French sociology. I have not read it yet but it looks very interesting.

The Gift (book) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


So is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
 
 

 
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