The Selfish Nature Of All Actions

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kennethamy
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 07:18 pm
@Richardgrant,
Richardgrant wrote:
As I awken to who I am, I slowely stop seeig the differnces in the material world, coming to realize that when I take judgment, discernment, perception from my consciousness there is no difference between suffering and joy, no right or wrong, good or bad, this alows my true beingness to shine through, it will be where I (Richard ) used to be.


I am glad for you.
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jb21
 
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 04:08 am
@boagie,
suffer is conscious of one being to the direct agressions to the truth of his beingness, that is how any self awaraness is precious in what it should prevail over any creations interests serving another one when one is being treated as a dead thing and not himself of what he is one too

belonging to a free one existence somewhere dont free you, the free one you belong to is not free when you feel suffering for not being yourself

and joy exist more than oneself in truth, as joy is the truth belonging to absolute life that prevail on all existing beings as it is beyond existence itself, so when you dont feel happy you should know that you must cry or shout or get crazy or insult all who seem responsable of that insult to the only reality of sacred, nothing in you is satan to absolute positive and infinite truth
 
Richardgrant
 
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 05:41 pm
@jb21,
I live in a thought wave mirror imaged universe made up of thought waves of motion. Everything that appears out there in the material world is a reflection of my imagination, my senses and ego tell me its the real world, when I know its only a reflection. I can change all parts of the reflection from within my own consciouseness, for I AM the creator of all that is.
 
Bonaventurian
 
Reply Thu 18 Dec, 2008 02:26 pm
@boagie,
If you think that every action is selfish, then I bid you turn your attention to the Cross:

http://i383.photobucket.com/albums/oo274/Bonaventurian/untitled.jpg

Surely God, being entirely Good, to Whose Goodness nothing can be added, Who lacks nothing...surely He had nothing to gain in offering Himself on the Cross for our salvation. Yet, He freely did.
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Fri 19 Dec, 2008 06:39 pm
@boagie,
It seems a lot of time has been wasted in this thread on what logic tells us is a fallacious sort of argument: verbal ambiguity.

People posted early on the difference between selfish and self-interested, so by now the two ideas should have been clearly set apart instead of continuing to argue as if they are the same thing. A quick pair of distinguishing definitions might be . . .

Self interest: That which develops, preserves and/or pleases us.

Selfish: That which we pursue for ourselves without regard for the fact that we share the resources, space, etc. of planet Earth with others.

. . . or something along those lines.

Survival dictates that we must act from self-interest - that's confirmed with each breath we take. Even modern evolutionary theory (whether one agrees with it or not) states our biological imperative is securing various types of fitness advantages. And then, as Maslow pointed out decades ago, once survival is secured, evolved types start looking to self-actualize. That is self-interest too. So it seems obvious we cannot possibly escape self-interested actions, but it is also obvious that some of us start to see contributing beneficially as personally rewarding. On a planet where we all have to live together, and where there are many, many survival problems for billions of people, that sort of self-interestedness can be seen as evolved.

If survival-inspired self-interest cannot be escaped, it seems our susceptibility to selfishness is almost as powerful. In some, survival threats (physical and psychological) early in life seem to increase the chance of selfish development. Children exposed to both love and self-developmental discipline seem best suited to grow past the selfish perspective. Yet life's stresses also appear to leave few of us free from some degree of selfish impulses (e.g. such as when driving to work during rush hour).

Because it is easy to link good and evil to enlightened self-interest and selfishness respectively, this issue relates to another famously debated question: are humans basically good, or basically bad? My interpretation of humanness is that we are born basically good, with a strong susceptibility to having our self-interest nature mutated into the selfish perversion. Another way to say it is that our nature is to evolve, and that given the proper evolutive environment, we will head for enlightened self-interest, but if deprived, neglected, or abused we may turn toward devolution.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 12:17 pm
@LWSleeth,
LWSleeth wrote:
It seems a lot of time has been wasted in this thread on what logic tells us is a fallacious sort of argument: verbal ambiguity.

People posted early on the difference between selfish and self-interested, so by now the two ideas should have been clearly set apart instead of continuing to argue as if they are the same thing. A quick pair of distinguishing definitions might be . . .

Self interest: That which develops, preserves and/or pleases us.

Selfish: That which we pursue for ourselves without regard for the fact that we share the resources, space, etc. of planet Earth with others.

. . . or something along those lines.

Survival dictates that we must act from self-interest - that's confirmed with each breath we take. Even modern evolutionary theory (whether one agrees with it or not) states our biological imperative is securing various types of fitness advantages. And then, as Maslow pointed out decades ago, once survival is secured, evolved types start looking to self-actualize. That is self-interest too. So it seems obvious we cannot possibly escape self-interested actions, but it is also obvious that some of us start to see contributing beneficially as personally rewarding. On a planet where we all have to live together, and where there are many, many survival problems for billions of people, that sort of self-interestedness can be seen as evolved.

If survival-inspired self-interest cannot be escaped, it seems our susceptibility to selfishness is almost as powerful. In some, survival threats (physical and psychological) early in life seem to increase the chance of selfish development. Children exposed to both love and self-developmental discipline seem best suited to grow past the selfish perspective. Yet life's stresses also appear to leave few of us free from some degree of selfish impulses (e.g. such as when driving to work during rush hour).

Because it is easy to link good and evil to enlightened self-interest and selfishness respectively, this issue relates to another famously debated question: are humans basically good, or basically bad? My interpretation of humanness is that we are born basically good, with a strong susceptibility to having our self-interest nature mutated into the selfish perversion. Another way to say it is that our nature is to evolve, and that given the proper evolutive environment, we will head for enlightened self-interest, but if deprived, neglected, or abused we may turn toward devolution.


But how does this fit in with actions of self-sacrifice which are actions which are contrary to self-interest? Sometimes we rise above self-interest. What about that?
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 03:41 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;38915 wrote:
But how does this fit in with actions of self-sacrifice which are actions which are contrary to self-interest? Sometimes we rise above self-interest. What about that?


I don't think self-sacrifice ever rises above self-interest, but to make sense of this we have to recognize there are several aspects of consciousness we call "self."

From having a physical body (some would say, from being a physical body) comes self traits of physical survival and physical desires. When we are acting to preserve or satisfy our physical existence and desires, and no other factors are in play, then we will fight hard to survive or get what we lust for. There are also traits we identify as "self" which come from conditioning, personal tastes, and personal aversions. All of the above, interestingly, was described by the Buddha as the acquired self (FYI, I am not a Buddhist).

Some people claim, and seem able to demonstrate, that there is more self-potential than physical or acquired interests. For example, some of us give to others in various ways from love to charity. Why? Because it feels good to do so. Yes, there are people who give because, say, their religion tells them they should, and so get only whatever satisfaction one gets from living according to one's beliefs. But in either case, the reason a person gives is in hope of personal reward.

But let's add a bit of complication to the issue, such as your child is about to be burned alive and to save her you have to risk death (i.e., your self-sacrifice scenario). What feels worse to your self, to watch your child burn alive or to risk death? Socrates will be sentenced to death unless he conforms to Greek laws, but it is more painful for him to renounce his principles than it is to die. Jesus is faced with an agonizing death on the cross as an assignment from God (or so he believes), but his devotion to serving God is so great that it pains him more to not do God's bidding than it does to suffer on the cross.

So with both aspects of self, all actions are taken out of self-interest, it's just that what kind of person we are is determined by which self aspect is dominant in us. When the temporary, immediate, physical, wanting, needy self is king, then the deeper, more enduring, giving, caring self is stifled. We call that "selfish." Those of us who've come to love the deeper self know the "satisfaction" of the selfish self is very, very short-lived, requires constant resupplying, and never achieves the peace of lasting fulfillment.

I think to fully understand how, and especially why, everything we do is out of self-interest, we also have to have clear insight into our own nature. We are feeling beings, everything we do attempts to work toward feeling good (and failing that, to avoid feeling bad). The reason there are miserable people is because much stuff we pursue we in hopes of feeling good actually makes us feel bad. Some people hate because they fear their hate object will make them feel bad. People take drugs to either feel good or escape feeling bad; even suicide is an effort to escape bad feeling. Eat, have sex, have a family, get rich, win the marathon, look beautiful . . . you name it, with it all we have our hopes pinned on it to makes us feel good.

If the need to feel good is our nature, then the real question is, what actually works in that regard? The selfish perspective is ME NOW, and often, NOT YOU if others might interfere with "me now." That person is looking to feel good, and so is self-interested. But so is the saint who is giving of himself, it's just that he is looking to feel good by relying on a whole other aspect of his being . . . an aspect that I have observed seems to make one feel more deeply and lastingly good.
 
Richardgrant
 
Reply Sat 20 Dec, 2008 06:12 pm
@boagie,
As I open up to Who I AM, and know I am the creator of all there is, I come to know the cause of all effect, with this in mind it's possible for me to change the concept of myself which dramatically changes my perception of the material world out there, this is what Jesus meant when he said 'Even the least of you can do as I have done and much more.' It is impossible for man to understand effect (material world) but an ordinary person may understand cause.
 
quandary
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 10:25 am
@boagie,
I don't know if this was already brought up and I don't even know if it's worth bringing up, however, I can't go through some fifty pages of replies to find out so I'll just say it. What about if a person is hypnotized? I understand if they agree to be hypnotized then of course that would comply with the selfish nature however, during the actual state of hypnosis can it be declared what is done is of a selfish nature? Does a hypnotized person really do what they do out of self interest? It would seem to me that a person does it simply because they were asked to do it, whether or not a person did or didn't want to or why he did or didn't want to doesn't enter into it. I dunno just spitballin:whistling:?
 
Richardgrant
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 03:07 pm
@boagie,
In all my studies of awakening to who I am, I have found it is quite easy to understand cause, this any normal person can do. But I also have found it is impossible to understand effect, the material world, without fully understanding the cause.
 
noumenon
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 10:56 pm
@boagie,
Here's my idea:

There are two kinds of happiness: a sort of "Metahappiness" and an "object" happiness. When we do something that brings animal-like happiness, like eat good food, we feel object happiness. However, we also each have an ultimate goal for ourselves. As we get closer to and/or reach this goal, we feel metahappiness. (Yes, I know, metahappiness means happiness of happiness, but I couldn't invent a better word). For some, this ultimate goal in life is to go to heaven, for others, it is to feel object happiness. No matter what, though, everyone has an ultimate goal.

So, all actions by a person are to get closer to their ultimate goal- to experience metahappiness. For most, their ultimate goal is to go to heaven.

Therefore, when a priest gives away all his money, even when a man gives his life for something or someone, it may decrease object happiness, but all in all, they did it to increase their metahappiness. As such, all acts are in self-interest.
 
Richardgrant
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 11:29 pm
@boagie,
My goal in life is to know who I am, as I open up to the world within I experience a peace that surpasses all object happiness. Where I can live moment to moment knowing all my wants and needs are met from within.
 
LWSleeth
 
Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 11:24 pm
@Richardgrant,
Richardgrant;39540 wrote:
My goal in life is to know who I am, as I open up to the world within I experience a peace that surpasses all object happiness. Where I can live moment to moment knowing all my wants and needs are met from within.


After reading this type of response from you several times, I can't help but point out that your constant reference to your own development in a thread about the selfish nature of all actions seems rather ironic.

Whatever you have discovered is only relevant to the rest of us if you can show it has broader application, and that requires you to be OBJECTIVE, not obsessively subjective. Objective observation is what philosophy is about . . . i.e., taking what we've learned personally and logically showing what ways others might relate to it.

You have to make your case to be a philosopher; poetic and intuitive outpourings don't cut it. :Glasses:
 
Fairbanks
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 12:49 pm
@quandary,
quandary wrote:
. . . What about if a person is hypnotized? . . . :whistling:?

Would a hypnotized person do something he would not normally do? Maybe, but a more appropriate question is whether we are not in a state of self-hypnotism all the time anyway and so decide nothing for ourselves, altruistic or selfish. Smile
 
Fairbanks
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 01:02 pm
@noumenon,
noumenon wrote:
. . .
There are two kinds of happiness:
. . . .

Smile
Happiness could be divided into three things as Kant divided beauty. Corresponding to pleasant, satisfying, and beautiful, we could have contentedness, rewarding, and happy. Happiness would be the degree that does not involve either physical pleasantness or deservedness. True happiness would be freedom of choice. If someone has great wealth, he would have great freedom of choice at some point and would be happy. . . . until he chooses something that severely shortens his list of possible choices.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 09:41 pm
@Fairbanks,
Fairbanks wrote:
Would a hypnotized person do something he would not normally do? Maybe, but a more appropriate question is whether we are not in a state of self-hypnotism all the time anyway and so decide nothing for ourselves, altruistic or selfish. Smile


What would lead you to think such a thing was true or even possibly true?
 
read
 
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 11:58 pm
@kennethamy,
One thing's for sure. I can come up with a plausible explanation for any action in terms of selfish motivations. However, this not the same thing as proving the action is in fact selfishly motivated. I can come up with plenty of other explanations for the same action. Are altruistic motivations not plausible? Why not?
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 10:33 am
@boagie,
boagie wrote:
Good morning Vietnam![time warp]

This is a premise a great many people have difficulty accepting.The premise is that no matter what you chose to do or chose not to do it is still selfish.You reach for a glass of water,there is a rational then for doing so,and that rational is selfish.Someone does something kind and supposedly selfless for another,the rational goes back to what this person believes they themselves are.If the idea they have of themselves is one of a kind and compassionate human being,then they must do this action to maintain the idea they have of themselves,thus it is first selfish.The religious might find this difficult to incorporated or embrace but it is necessarily universal. I don't believe you can find an acception to this premise,you are invited to do so of course.Perhaps you can expand on this theme that would be most welcome as well.Are there any particular examples you would like to explore?

It is a dreamy moving not quite thing only the illusion is the grasp of the ring!


Quoted from a year ago, but I must say:

I couldn't agree more. We are products of our desires.

The question then is, even if the act is inherently attached to self-interest, why should the act itself change? If I give a starving man food, increasing his happiness levels, does intent matter? If I decapitate someone with a spoon, robbing them of the ability to produce thought, does intent matter?

I'd say no - The act is the act is the act. Whatever that act may mean, even aside from mortality, is what it is (we apply the meaning). Regardless what meaning we apply, it just is, simply put.

In order to maintain happiness, I deceive myself into abiding by a man of morality, a man that cares of humanity, grieves when others die, and mourns demise. If I didn't create this dichotomy on a daily basis, I would most likely be in a psyche hospital, or dead. In an effort not to die, I have continued this journey.

The more knowledge you acquire, the more the traditional life becomes a deception, a facade that one puts on to "get through their day".
 
Fairbanks
 
Reply Mon 29 Dec, 2008 12:17 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
What would lead you to think such a thing was true or even possibly true?

Smile
Attempting to avoid derailing the discourse.
 
Axis Austin
 
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 06:32 pm
@Fairbanks,
I realize this is an extremely long post and I skipped to the end, so I've probably missed the thoughts about my question. But here I go all the same.

I don't think describing an act of altruism as selfish adequately addresses the nature of altruism. If something really is altruistic, then it is necessarily not selfish.

It seems to me that when we describe everyday acts of selflessness we really are describing altruism. When somebody helps out another person, they are doing it to help out the other person. Of course, most of the time the person will feel good about themselves, consequently, but they are not doing it to feel good. They are doing it to help others.

Well, why are they helping others? Aren't they just doing it because it will help them in some way or another? Of course this is often the case. But sometimes people help out because the other person needs help.

I understand that the motivations can be further analyzed and eventually, people argue, it becomes selfish. But I am looking at the issue differently. I'm saying that people help out just to help out.

Of course I would need to show that the person really is helping selflessly. However, people against this view need to show that the person is acting selfishly. But because this is an issue of the motivation of other people, we can not sufficiently know what they were thinking when they did the act.
 
 

 
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