Originally posted by Harman
Instinct is the first thing that kicks in, ego and others are second. So in the case of a split second decision the ego does not have the chance to
react. It takes it out of the realm of possibilities.
I agree with Harmon. Where in time the decision or action originates is the key to whether the act is selfish or selfless.
Consciousness without thought, what you have in the very second something is unfolding, is "selfless" by definition. Once that split second has
passed and "mind" or "ego" begins a dialogue about what is happening and begins a decision making process, is "selfish."
If two of you fall in front of a train, and you roll from in front of the train without thinking about it, because your very being shouts, "Move" it
is still selfless, even if the other is left on the tracks to die. If your being shouts "push him" and you shove the other from the tracks, and you
die, that is also selfless.
If the same scenario occurs, and your being shouts "move" and you have time to consider and you say, "no, it is right to save the other" then your
act is "selfish." It arises from the "self" or mental identity with all of its acquired and created shoulds. Likewise if your being shouts
"Push him" and your mind says "heck no, I have to run" that act is selfish.
The OP is suggesting that one can tell a selfless act from a selfish one based on the outcome.
What Harmon seems to be suggesting (I dont want to assume too greatly) and I am suggesting is that the origin of the act is the thing. If it
originates from "consciousness prior to thought" (which I would say is the voice of the Higher Self, or God) then regardless how that action ends up
looking superficially, it is selfless. If it originates in the intellectual mind, or "ego" rather than "consciousness prior to thought" (instinct
is as good a word as any) then it is selfish. Regardless how it appears to others.
The Ego or identity, or personal story of you, is created by the mind. It requires "time" to appear. (Where time is an artificial movement out of
the present, or "now" which is timeless. Now is always now.
You are hit with a ball, you instinctively flinch, and then in the second that follows it, you begin a story about it. "Ouch, I was just hit by a
ball" and maybe you go on to elaborate more about it. So a simple rules of thumb is that actions that originate before there is any story being told
are "selfless" and any action taken as a result of a story are "selfish."
Everyone has an Ego, or story, but not everyone acts from their ego an equal proportion of the time.