You have to stop caring about yourself to not be selfish.
If you have no god, no after-life, and nothing motivates you, you are presented with a real dilemma. If they accept the idea that they will never feel
the happiness others feel, that they will never have the riches, the loving relationships, or the rewarding activities others feel and have, they feel
their is no purpose to life. They turn to suicide.
They are faced with three options at this point, yet usually only see one of them, sometimes see two, and rarely see all three. The first is suicide.
They say "I will never be happy, I will never have this that and the next thing. I could live 1000 years, and I will not gain anything from living.
I'm going to kill myself". Most people in this position think that way.
The second option, which some see, is the idea that they need help. That something must be wrong with them and that they need to get fixed. They also
believe that if they can be fixed, they can go on to live a happy life, which in actuality, is a self based life. Basically, they are saying, "I am
broken, I cannot find selfish motives, I need to be fixed."
Then you have the third option which most people rarely see. The thought process behind this is:
Well, If I kill myself, that is pointless. I get nothing out of it, since I'll cease to exist; Other people get nothing out of it, usually (assuming
if they died nobody would directly benefit greatly), overall neutral results came about from them.
So, if I assume that nothing I do will improve my situation, and I assume that I am not broken, where do I go from here and why? If I don't do
anything, that is just slow suicide, so obviously I will act to extend my lifespan, at least for the immediate future. If I didn't get up, eat,
drink, act, I would die from starvation and things of that nature.
So now I know that I must do daily functions to survive, because if I didn't, I might as well use a gun and cut three days out of the process of
Now, even though these immediate acts prolong my lifespan, they do not make it indefinite. Even if I do everything in my power to live, eventually I
will die. So if ALL I do is basic necessities to live, again, I might as well get the gun and cut down on this very long process. After all, my life
would, again, would remain effect neutral, as all I did was act out necessity to survive, with no point toward surviving.
Neutral being I neither acted out of self based reasons or selfless based reasons. None of my actions were done out of a desire to better my own
situation, or others, so it is a neutral base act.
In order for my life to be more than an extended suicide, I must push my actions out of the realm of neutral, and into the realm of selfless based
acts, or selfish based acts. Since selfish based acts have shown to benefit me none at this point, hence the dilemma I am facing to begin with, I must
resort to selfless based acts.
If I gain no joy, no thrill, no positive experience from the self based acts, there is no point to engage in such acts. They have a sum of 0 gain for
everyone. Nobody else gains directly (nobody should at least) from my self based acts, and I do not gain from my self based acts. So the gain overall
is 0, making it pointless, quite literally. Suicide would usually be a neutral act, where nobody else directly gains (in normal cases), and I gain
nothing as I cease to exist. Since neither I nor anyone else gain from my suicide directly, the sum must again be 0, or a pointless act.
The only act left is selfless based acts. I gain nothing, yet again, but other do gain something. This act does NOT have a sum of 0, as somebody
gained directly as a result from this action. This act is NOT pointless, though it may seem that way to the selfish person.
That means, the only act I can engage in that is not utterly pointless, is selfless based acts. Any other act, in this situation, would be pointless
and illogical. Self based acts would be illogical, as there is no value to the acts, no gain from the point of 0. Suicide is in the same point. There
is no value to the act, no gain from 0. The only act that have some value, is the selfless based act, because it has some form of gain, on somebodies
So I should engage in selfless acts.
Now, if somebody kills themselves to end pain, that is an act of selfishness, as you gain personally from the act. It is not a neutral act anymore.
You can commit suicide for a selfish reason, for no reason, or for somebody else benefit. In the case of no reason, it is when you realize you cannot
gain anything from selfish based acts, but do not have the capacity to see that suicide has an equal value of 0, when put next to selfish based
That is the only way, from what I can tell, to be 100% completely selfless. To put yourself apart and make no strides to gain, in any aspect of life.
If you are selfish in certain aspects of life, you are not selfless.
A good example would be you live to love your family. You must face the choice of running into a burning building to save a class of school children.
If you don't, the children die. If you do, you come to the assumption that you will definitely die, and that there will be no afterlife waiting for
you. That you run in, save them, then die and cease to exist.
A. Choose the self based act and do not run in.
B. Choose the selfless based act, and condemn yourself to death.
If you picked A. you picked the self based act, which could be a result of ANY self based lifestyle. If you had no attachments, no self based
lifestyle, A. wouldn't be an option for you. It is only because you had a lifestyle based around selfish acts, that you were presented with the
dilemma. Had you not had a family, and had no other self based lifestyles, you would have no reason NOT to run in.
If you picked B. you decided to put your self based lifestyle behind you, whether it be for a brief moment, or for the rest of your life. You became
selfless. You picked helping others, even though it meant death with no reward. You stopped caring about yourself and your self based lifestyle. If
you live, then you could go right back to that self based lifestyle.
If you are living a self based lifestyle, the only way you can act selflessly, with certainty at least, is if you are certain you will die, with no
reward, and act anyway. That is the act of sacrifice, rather than simple selflessness. If I am selfless, I am merely acting for others because I do
not act for myself, but see no value in suicide. If I selflessly sacrifice, it must mean I am directly giving up a part, or all, of my self based
lifestyle, when I am absolutely certain I cannot gain from it, and never will, but others will.
Many times, for most of you, you will not know if you acted selflessly, selflessly sacrificed, or merely acted out of selfishness. The situation may
be complex and you might not have all the information to know or see just how you acted. But this much I do know:
If you are wondering if you acted selflessly, chances are, you weren't.
In other words, if you care about whether or not the act you engaged in was selfless, you weren't acting selflessly. If you were, then by definition,
you wouldn't care if it was selfless or not. The act had nothing to do with you or your personal gain, so there is no reason for you to engage in
caring. The only reason you would care is if you intended to gain something from it and are not sure if you did or not.
Selflessness is simply an act. You do it, you move on. You didn't get anything from it, on any level, and never intended to, so you have no reason to
think about it after the fact. The only exception might be if you are looking back on it to analyze your act, and yourself, to get a better grasp of
the situation, and your own motives.
For instance, I question if my act was selfish or selfless to see if the circumstances of my existence has changed, or I felt I was ineffective at the
act itself and wished to analyze, thus improve on it, for the next time the situation arises. If I improved on it, I could make the gain for others
higher, making it less pointless of an act.
The final question you might wonder is "why must you have a point? Why can't it be pointless?" Well, the main question is why do you want your act
to have a point, or value, over an act which has no point, or no value? It is very simple. It is logical to pick an act that has some reasoning behind
it, than one with no reasoning. It makes sense, on a rational and logical level, to pick the choice that has some point to it. If you were presented
with two choices, and one made logical sense, and the other made no logical sense, you would pick the one that made sense.
You ask "Why should I do it?" and cannot find an answer, because there is no reason to do it. That is a pointless act. There is no logical reason to
engage in a 0 sum act. So you engage in the act that has a point, because it is more logical than the one that has no point.
That is all for me, thank you to the very few of you who probably actually read this.
[edit on 28-3-2009 by grimreaper797]