The selfish/unselfish paradox...

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Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 10:20 am
Is there any such thing as an altruistic (unselfish) act?
Please name one - That doesn't please, comfort or enhance in any way whatsoever, the self?

Thank you all, have a brilliant everything.

Mark...
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:08 pm
@mark noble,
One can interpret any act in a way that makes it selfish; however, the classic example of an entirely unselfish act is of a soldier throwing himself on a grenade and saving the lives of several others nearby.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:11 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;174245 wrote:
Is there any such thing as an altruistic (unselfish) act?
Please name one - That doesn't please, comfort or enhance in any way whatsoever, the self?


An act can be unselfish and still please, enhance, and comfort the self. It's a false paradox. If you do something out of genuine compassion, it is altruistic even though you will most likely feel pleased with yourself afterward.
 
mark noble
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 12:26 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;174269 wrote:
One can interpret any act in a way that makes it selfish; however, the classic example of an entirely unselfish act is of a soldier throwing himself on a grenade and saving the lives of several others nearby.


Hi John,

A man could also give his life in place of a family member. Could this be interpreted as an act of Love, in the soldiers case 'comradeship'? If so, it implies a dutybound characteristic that is shared amongst all social-animals. Do we not therefore appease our own interests by protecting what we perceive as relative to our own state of wellbeing? Do we not love those we love as we do ourselves, and preserve accordingly, to appease ourself?

Thank you for replying John, and have a brilliant day, sir.

Mark...
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 02:29 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;174245 wrote:
Is there any such thing as an altruistic (unselfish) act?
Please name one - That doesn't please, comfort or enhance in any way whatsoever, the self?
Yes, those who go to war, those who go to 3rd world countries and help, those who run into a flaming building to save people, those who put the duty before themselves ..knowingly they will die.

In war, there has been many stories about soldiers throwing themselves at hand grenades to save their fellow comrads, it seems to root in flok instinct which also provokes a strange remorse and guilt in ship/u-boat crew that survives a disaster, and have their fellow mates rest in their watery grave.

This altruistic stuff, is a nessessety for bringing up children, that the provider provides stuff for the family, also that communities can exist and grow, without altruistism everything will fall apart.
 
mark noble
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 03:10 pm
@HexHammer,
HexHammer;174335 wrote:
Yes, those who go to war, those who go to 3rd world countries and help, those who run into a flaming building to save people, those who put the duty before themselves ..knowingly they will die.

In war, there has been many stories about soldiers throwing themselves at hand grenades to save their fellow comrads, it seems to root in flok instinct which also provokes a strange remorse and guilt in ship/u-boat crew that survives a disaster, and have their fellow mates rest in their watery grave.

This altruistic stuff, is a nessessety for bringing up children, that the provider provides stuff for the family, also that communities can exist and grow, without altruistism everything will fall apart.


Hi Hexhammer,
I'm not saying that altruism doesn't exist - I'm saying that there is always something in it for the actor that, at least, at the minimum - enhances their own self-worth, well-being, ideals or spiritual essence.
I help people through a variety of life's circumstances, without considering myself - Only, in hindsight, I can perceive that all my actions are made by choosing (my choosing) - therefore, in the very least, I am doing what I choose to do - Which only enhances the fact that, I am free to choose, which, in turn profits me in the knowing "I have freedom" and can excercise that freedom whenever I choose.
I can't not benefit.

Anyway, thank you for sparing time to join in, and have a brilliant day, sir.

Mark...
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 04:19 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;174348 wrote:
I'm not saying that altruism doesn't exist - I'm saying that there is always something in it for the actor that, at least, at the minimum - enhances their own self-worth, well-being, ideals or spiritual essence.
I help people through a variety of life's circumstances, without considering myself - Only, in hindsight, I can perceive that all my actions are made by choosing (my choosing) - therefore, in the very least, I am doing what I choose to do - Which only enhances the fact that, I am free to choose, which, in turn profits me in the knowing "I have freedom" and can excercise that freedom whenever I choose.
I can't not benefit.

Anyway, thank you for sparing time to join in, and have a brilliant day, sir.

Mark...
No? Some things are done by reflex, without thought, because of group think and suggestion.

We act in patterns, that are taught, there is actually only a very little "free will" in most people, only if people are psycotic or have an understimulated group think/flock instinct, they have indeed a "free will".
 
ABYA
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 05:37 pm
@mark noble,
Mark Wrote
Quote:

Is there any such thing as an altruistic (unselfish) act?

No. We are egoistic, its our nature right down to our essence, and everything we do or think is first filtered through our egoism which is self centered.
In the case of the soldier throwing himself onto the grenade, he's first done the calculation of the honour he would get for being a hero against the pain of seeing his comrades get blown up, and the pleasure of dying as a hero outweighs the pain of living a life with the memory of his mates getting blown up.
Everything boils down to what gives us most pleasure.
 
mark noble
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 05:57 pm
@ABYA,
ABYA;174399 wrote:
Mark Wrote

No. We are egoistic, its our nature right down to our essence, and everything we do or think is first filtered through our egoism which is self centered.
In the case of the soldier throwing himself onto the grenade, he's first done the calculation of the honour he would get for being a hero against the pain of seeing his comrades get blown up, and the pleasure of dying as a hero outweighs the pain of living a life with the memory of his mates getting blown up.
Everything boils down to what gives us most pleasure.


Hi Abya,

Thank you, I thought I was the only one that saw it this way.
Have a great day
Jack...ha-ha
 
reasoning logic
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 06:12 pm
@mark noble,
I very well may be wrong but I would think that just as one baby may learn to read at 18 months old and learn many different languages by 10 years old and another baby may be mentaly handicap, So is the same with ethics or what we are speaking of.
What I am saying is that our brains are wired to act a certain way. Do not get me wrong as our psychology and environment has a very important role as well.Smile
 
mark noble
 
Reply Mon 7 Jun, 2010 07:15 pm
@reasoning logic,
reasoning logic;174410 wrote:
I very well may be wrong but I would think that just as one baby may learn to read at 18 months old and learn many different languages by 10 years old and another baby may be mentaly handicap, So is the same with ethics or what we are speaking of.
What I am saying is that our brains are wired to act a certain way. Do not get me wrong as our psychology and environment has a very important role as well.Smile


Hi RL,
Babies tend not to throw themselves on hand-grenades to save their toys.
So I don't think it counts.
Thank you, though - And have a fantastic day.
Mark...
 
platorepublic
 
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2010 02:03 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed;174269 wrote:
One can interpret any act in a way that makes it selfish; however, the classic example of an entirely unselfish act is of a soldier throwing himself on a grenade and saving the lives of several others nearby.

Yes, but are there such people you know of? Perhaps they wanted to die anyway.
 
wayne
 
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2010 02:37 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;174245 wrote:
Is there any such thing as an altruistic (unselfish) act?
Please name one - That doesn't please, comfort or enhance in any way whatsoever, the self?

Thank you all, have a brilliant everything.

Mark...


I see your point, although I don't think living for self need necessarily be selfish.
Unselfishness is of greater benefit to self than selfishness.
Unselfishness doesn't necessarily translate to selflessness.
The existence of self cannot be avoided, therefore selflessness remains an unattainable ideal.
While it is possible to live for self ,unselfishly.
The self is the horse that pulls the cart, fail to feed it and we go nowhere.

This all reminds me of the song Lucky Man ( Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
Only the few are presented with such great opportunity
 
kosta
 
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2010 03:09 pm
@mark noble,
theres a story that one of lao tzu's disciples asked him this same question

lao tzu said "watch this i'll show an altruistic act"

he went over to a nearby river where there was an old women who couldn't cross the river there was no bridge and she was too frail to walk by herself so lao tsu helped her across the river

he turned to his disciples and they said "that wasn't altruistic you carried the old women to prove that you can be altruistic but that means you werent"

lao tsu said "what women?"
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2010 03:23 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;174434 wrote:
Hi RL,
Babies tend not to throw themselves on hand-grenades to save their toys.
So I don't think it counts.
Thank you, though - And have a fantastic day.
Mark...


No but they might run in front of cars to retrieve them. It's not much different than jumping on a grenade.
 
ABYA
 
Reply Tue 8 Jun, 2010 03:36 pm
@mark noble,
mark noble;174348 wrote:

I help people through a variety of life's circumstances, without considering myself - Only, in hindsight, I can perceive that all my actions are made by choosing (my choosing) - therefore, in the very least, I am doing what I choose to do - Which only enhances the fact that, I am free to choose, which, in turn profits me in the knowing "I have freedom" and can excercise that freedom whenever I choose.
I can't not benefit.



Mark...


I wonder how much free choice you really have.
If my nose is itching, it gives me pleasure to scratch it. If I decide not to act with what gives me pleasure and just let my nose itch, then its because overcoming my desire to scratch my nose gives me more pleasure than scratching it. Then I might decide to scratch it to override the pleasure I'm getting from not scratching it, if this is going to give me more pleasure.
It seems we are programmed to act in a way that gives us most pleasure, perhaps theres no such thing as freedom of choice, just calculations of where we are going to get most pleasure.
 
mark noble
 
Reply Wed 9 Jun, 2010 08:02 am
@ABYA,
wayne;174800 wrote:
I see your point, although I don't think living for self need necessarily be selfish.
Unselfishness is of greater benefit to self than selfishness.
Unselfishness doesn't necessarily translate to selflessness.
The existence of self cannot be avoided, therefore selflessness remains an unattainable ideal.
While it is possible to live for self ,unselfishly.
The self is the horse that pulls the cart, fail to feed it and we go nowhere.

This all reminds me of the song Lucky Man ( Emerson, Lake and Palmer)
Only the few are presented with such great opportunity


Hi Wayne,
I agree, just because all choice must first be processed through our ego and is therefore, ultimately, self-ish - There is no reason to act selfishly, everyone is lost to their own imaginings, trends, traditions, religions, fashions, etc; but those who can recognise this can, and should, reach out to those who are innocently naive.

Thank you wayne, and have a lovely day.
Mark...

Krumple;174823 wrote:
No but they might run in front of cars to retrieve them. It's not much different than jumping on a grenade.


Hi Krumple,
Then they do so to preserve what is theirs. Quote: Me; "To preserve what is yours is to preserve what is you".
Thank you Krumple, and have an equally lovely day.
Mark...
 
 

 
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