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Aren't We All Selfish?

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posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:17 PM
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Hi! We're always told to never be selfish, but isn't everything we do selfish? For example, if I save a kitten from being tossed in a dumpster, I am being selfish. I did a wonderful deed to the kitty cat, but I felt good inside for doing something kind. Feeling good inside improves yourself, doesn't it, which is selfish. I've come to feel there are two types of selfishness, one bad and one good.

Good selfishness- Doing something kind that gives you good karma, which in turn makes your life better by feeling good inside, etc.

Bad selfishness- Doing something to improve yourself in a way that harms others.

That means that everyone is selfish, you, me, and even the kindest people on Earth are some of the most selfish. What do you think?




posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:33 PM
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Yes, even self sacrificial love is motivated by selfish needs and aims. But when one takes on the viewpoint that we're all one, then what is selfish serves the best interests of the many.

Selfish as a negative, is selfish to the EXCLUSION of others, or a win-loss zero sum game. It's destructive in the final analysis, so it doesn't even serve the self in the long run, since the truth IS that we're all one.

"rational self interest" ought to be re-framed as enlightened mutual self interest.

So if we're going to be selfish, let's be selfish in the best possible way, for the good of everyone.

I think you are 100% correct in your evaluation, that even the most apparently selfless act, has at it's root a corresponding selfishly motivated interest. Even Jesus got all the glory for his selfless act, although his hope was that it would be a shared glory which would glorify himself, God and everyone at the same time. Hey it's the thought that counts..

[edit on 31-5-2009 by OmegaPoint]



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:46 PM
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Yes we are all selfish, but the point is to balance it out, we must be selfish and selfless!



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:47 PM
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Yes, as long as we are a "self" we will be "selfish". Popular philosophies and whole religions have been based around the idea of riding on of the "self" as an illusion. But if the self is an illusion, what is what lies beyond it? In my mind, it ain't any closer to "reality".

What I think is missed often is that riding one of the "self" is a step. A step that leads to conscious and conscientious recognition of self. We are physical beings and as such should learn to live physically in a responsible and harmonious manner. To make use of what we have.

Life is energy. Energy sustains energy. Anything else is death, which comes soon enough for all of us. No need to seclude one's self and live like you're dead to prove that. But then it can also be a valuable step in its time. Just as valuable is knowing that you can live once again.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:51 PM
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The history channel did a thing on this very topic in The Seven Deadly Sins.

Selfishness is actually a genetic trait, opposed to popular belief that demons are trying to sway your soul to the dark side...yeah.

When two monkey were placed in different glass cages, They were each given a banana a few times a day at the same time, eventually after a few days (the monkeys could see each other), they gave one of the monkeys a banana and the other a bunch of grapes. The one with the banana refused to eat it, this went on for a few days, and the one monkey had hoarded a ton of bananas but wanted a grape. This has more to do with greed and coveting but is still relevant I believe.

Also, it's said that if you see a man drowning you don't go to save him because of any other reason then trying to keep your race alive, the human race that is.

Every single act you ever do is selfish, even now that i've said this if you try and prove me wrong, and do a unselfish act, it's selfish because well you know why. Tiny paradox of course.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 10:53 PM
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A person can't be selfless though. Even think about the word self-less. "without self" in other words. Have you ever done something in life that was without self? Nope, to be without-self is death, everything comes from "self" (since you can't be another person) and is therefore selfish.

If anyone has the ability to go outside of their own mind/experience to do an action let me know.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 11:23 PM
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The idea that everything you do, you do only for yourself is a very cynical one. That does not mean it is not true, only that it is cynical.

I would rather look at life on a brighter note.

Have you ever seen a prayer group, a cluster of people holding hands and petitioning the divine on the behalf of someone they probably don't even know?

Have you ever seen a firefighter fighting desperately to save the home of someone he's never even met?

Have you ever seen a Hospice volunteer holding the hand of someone that is dying and helping them make the journey into the next world?

Have you ever seen an angel weep, because everything they could do was not enough?

I have. I've even given you some examples of it above.

Your life is a reflection of your perspective on it. If you go around seeing things as being terrible, they inherently will be.

I can spend my days as a cynic and say everyone is in this only for themselves, or I can appreciate the beauty of those souls that make this journey with me, that make it worthwhile.

The choice is mine.

I choose to see the beauty.

Love and light,



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 11:28 PM
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Originally posted by mrwupy
The idea that everything you do, you do only for yourself is a very cynical one. That does not mean it is not true, only that it is cynical.

I would rather look at life on a brighter note.

Have you ever seen a prayer group, a cluster of people holding hands and petitioning the divine on the behalf of someone they probably don't even know?

Have you ever seen a firefighter fighting desperately to save the home of someone he's never even met?

Have you ever seen a Hospice volunteer holding the hand of someone that is dying and helping them make the journey into the next world?

Have you ever seen an angel weep, because everything they could do was not enough?

I have. I've even given you some examples of it above.

Your life is a reflection of your perspective on it. If you go around seeing things as being terrible, they inherently will be.

I can spend my days as a cynic and say everyone is in this only for themselves, or I can appreciate the beauty of those souls that make this journey with me, that make it worthwhile.

The choice is mine.

I choose to see the beauty.

Love and light,


I don't really think of it as cynical, just a part of life. If you are kind to others, which in turn helps yourself, then its selfish, but a good kind of selfish. We should all do good things to others, and doing good to others in some way will help yourself, so it is selfish, but not bad. Selfish can be either good or bad, at least in my opinion. Good or bad really depends on the individual, too. I don't mean it to be negative at all, it's just an interesting thought.



posted on May, 31 2009 @ 11:34 PM
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reply to post by yayap3
 


Funny that you post this. I have been thinking about this very topic a lot lately. This website never ceases to amaze me. I have had this happen a lot in the last few weeks....

The angle I was thinking about selfishness was with children. I love my children with all of my heart. Yet, bringing them into this world was about the most selfish thing that could have been done. If I was being rational, I would never want to have kids. Why on Earth would anyone want to force someone into the world? The world is a trainwreck and to force someone to experience it so you can feel complete is pretty selfish if you ask me.

I will have to apologize to them when they are old enough to understand.



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 12:06 AM
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Since the self is merely a point of reference for the human plane, then any action or inaction on our part may properly be considered a "selfish" action or inaction. From the perspective of The One Consciousness that pervades this Universe, there is no self, there is no identity, there is no linear continuity, and — as much as it may pain us — there is no soul.

All of those items are definitions, points of reference for living and for thinking about Life. The curse of the human mind is that we are constantly attempting to define our existence, measuring atoms, pasting labels on the forces of Nature. We similarly attempt to define ourselves as "good" or "evil," "sane" or "insane," "smart" or "stupid," "saintly" or "satanic," and so on and so forth.

But there are no such differentiators in Nature, nor in The One Consciousness of the Universe. Those distinctions are made only in the Human mind, and the Human mind is but a tool. A tool has a specific purpose, but it's not much use outside of its specific purpose. In the case of the Human mind, it's a marvelously complex and versatile tool for dealing with three dimensional Space and with some aspects of Time; but it's essentially useless for comprehending The One Consciousness.

The One Consciousness (or God or whatever you want to call it) can experience our plane of existence through us, using the Human mind, but the Human mind cannot grasp The One Consciousness, strangely enough. If it could, we would have no questions about Life & Death and Heaven & Hell and Eternity and the Afterlife and all that jabberwocky.

All of those items are definitions, as well, that exist only in the Human mind.

At the moment of Death, the Human mind is discarded. No memories, no lessons, no emotions are carried beyond Death. The One Consciousness simply discards the body and the mind like a soiled glove. There is probably a horrifying moment of recognition just before Death, when the Human mind briefly remembers the experience of nonexistence. But then the mind is discarded, the door is closed, and The One Consciousness opens another door elsewhere for another experience — and there are trillions of doors opening and closing in every moment, all across the Universe.

If The One Consciousness is nothing else, it's curious.

So, I think we should revel in our "selfishness" while we can. Not saying let's go rape and pillage and drink the blood of our enemies, necessarily; but, all things being equal, why not? One experience is as good as another to The One Consciousness — it spawned Adolf Hitler as surely as it spawned Mother Teresa, and as surely as it spawns sensational lives, it spawns the mundane, as well.


— Doc Velocity





[edit on 6/1/2009 by Doc Velocity]



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 12:07 AM
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No one is benevolent beyond their own self interest. It's part of the basic survival instincts we are given here. People are anything but genuinely serving, sacrificial and selfless. Only someone who's spirit has reached beyond the regions of matter can be indifferent to worldly interests. But even in that state they will most likely maintain a self interest for harmony here though more benevolent in nature.



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 12:20 AM
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Ther German philsopher Schopenhauer apparently did a study about selfless acts of heroism, where someone reaches out to grab a person about to fall to their death, risking going down with that person, incidents like that. When interviewed, the person who extended themself and risked all, indicated that at the crucial moment, the notion of separation fell away, and they simply forgot who they were. They reported that had they not acted, they didn't think they could have lived with themselves. All notion of their identity, and their comittments, obligations to family, etc. all fell away, and at the moment of decision they experienced being one with the other.

So perhaps a case can be made for a philosophy of psychology of selfless altruism representing the height of compassionate oneness...

"There is no greater love than that of a man who lays down his life for his friends." ~ Jesus



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 01:13 AM
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Originally posted by OmegaPoint
All notion of their identity, and their comittments, obligations to family, etc. all fell away, and at the moment of decision they experienced being one with the other.


Which is a very evolved state of awareness, transcending mere Human awareness. No, I do not think Humans as a species are particularly evolved in a spiritual sense — but there are a few who have evolved beyond the isolation tank of Human awareness.

I want to be clear here: There are other entities of a more highly evolved awareness who populate this Universe (and others). I'm not just parroting the metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, either. There are entities that have a greater awareness and a broader perspective on existence — throughout the ages we have called them angels or demons or extraterrestrials or whatever.

While they are higher than us, and while they comprehend much more about The One Consciousness of the Universe, they are finite entities, they have a beginning and an end, just as we do — although they may seem as eternal beings to us, they have their limits.

We evolve spiritually — and when I talk about spiritual evolution, I'm talking about our ability to increase our comprehension of The One Consciousness of the Universe. As I said earlier, the Human mind cannot grasp The One Consciousness...but a more evolved awareness can start to grasp it. Just like the heroic people cited earlier in this thread — for a moment they lost all sense of self, they lost their sense of individuality, they opened up to The One Consciousness of the Universe. Yes, our awareness can evolve to something beyond human.

There are many, many well-documented cases of Humans evolving spiritually into something beyond Human. Today we call them Saints — many centuries after we killed them, of course, because we couldn't comprehend their evolution.

But we know that such spiritual evolution is possible.

— Doc Velocity



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 01:21 AM
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You are standing on a subway platform and a blind man accidentally falls down onto the tracks, and the train is coming...!

Apparently MOST people when faced with the ulltimate choice of life and death will risk all to save another and do the same thing. It's not extraordary, just requires the right circumstance to bring it forth.

You say "beyond human" and sure I agree there are non-human beings in the universe, who would comprehend much more than we do. At the same time, being the most recent addition to the realm of sentience in the universe, might it not be in the realm of possible, that, at least in potentia, the human being may be capable of the ultimate in God consciousness? So do you not mean, evolve to become FULLY human..? You see, even if we become as saints or even divine, we shall still be entirely human.

Personally I believe that the human being was made by design to contain the fullness of the spirit of the living God, but that we accepted a bad program along the way and were contaminated by it, but that one day, the blockage will be removed, and the spirit will pour in and fill us to the brim, and we will come to know this oneness and we will know as we are known.

[edit on 1-6-2009 by OmegaPoint]



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 03:33 AM
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Ah. The "blockage"... You might find this weird, but I'm a church-going Lutheran, as is my wife. She has a solid background of Catholicism, which is about as scary and ritualistic and esoteric as it gets; and I have a background in Atheism and Science. Over the long years, I've come to understand that the only distinctions and the only differentiations between a Lutheran and a Catholic and an Atheist and a Scientist are in the jargon they use and the way they appoint their respective altars.

All the same consciousness, but a lot of misdirected anger and a lot of material bullsh*t blocking the flow.

I don't think it's "bad programming," necessarily. I don't equate The One Consciousness of the Universe with some geek working a keyboard, programming in Basic. The overall design is perfect, right, or as perfect as we Humans can appraise it.

I see The One Consciousness of the Universe as a pulsing, persistent, pernicious purveyor of pandemonium, piercing the veil, assuming a form, meticulously o.b.s.e.r.v.i.n.g. Experiencing. Tasting the wine. Flowing through us.

Frankly, I don't think it knows of our existence. Or, if it knows we exist, it may not care.

No, I'm not waxing pagan here. I have Faith in our spiritual evolution, I think we grow from a spiritual seed, and that we must make ourselves known to God. We start small, but we can evolve and eventually touch the face of God through our persistence.

The most important thing my wife and I agree upon: You Gotta be Open to the Flow... Some people call it the Holy Spirit, some people call it Kundalini. It's a widely recognized phenomenon called by many names. People need to clear the cobwebs out of their heads, discard the material junk, and let the Consciousness of the Universe just flow.

Hey, that's what I'm doing right now!


— Doc Velocity



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 03:40 AM
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As you stumble through the minefield of life experiance the next step you make could save a life through immediant consequences to your own.

Everything is selfish and selfless.



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 03:47 AM
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we are animals driven by selfish genes that wish to procreate and survive. I like to think think Im not selfish and doing alturistic acts out of goodness, but even theses acts, one way or another, encourages the selfish genes, whether it be through helping to maintain the species or defend it



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 04:41 AM
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No we are not all selfish.

Some people are generous, some are benevolent.

It is simply impossible for someone who is self centered to comprehend or appreciate the existence of someone who is their polar opposite.

A generous person will also shun the company of the selfish. Such behavior is intolerable to them.



posted on Jun, 1 2009 @ 08:13 AM
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Oh... SELFISH...

I misread the topic header.

I thought we were discussing the
transcendental existentialism of
SHELLFISH
in this thread...

Aren't We All ShellFish?


Kinda like crab roll playing.





Sorry.




— Doc Velocity



[edit on 6/1/2009 by Doc Velocity]



posted on Jun, 2 2009 @ 02:40 AM
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Originally posted by yayap3
If I save a kitten from being tossed in a dumpster, I am being selfish. I did a wonderful deed to the kitty cat, but I felt good inside...

A star for your post and a flag for your thread. This is a vital insight many never achieve, and - as you can see by the general tone of the replies you've received - not necessarily a welcome one.

Buddhists learn this in the course of their religious instruction. It is part of the teaching by which they come to understand that all attachment and doing, not just evil desires and evildoing, are obstacles to liberation.

Well done!

*



Originally posted by OmegaPoint
Yes, even self sacrificial love is motivated by selfish needs and aims. But when one takes on the viewpoint that we're all one...

...does that not excuse even the most self-serving, inconsiderate actions, up to and including genocide, on the grounds that they serve a greater good? It is no accident that most tyrants are at least part mystagogue.

*



Originally posted by TravelerintheDark
Popular philosophies and whole religions have been based around the idea of riding on of the "self" as an illusion.

Not only philosophy and religion, but science, too, suggest that the self is an illusory byproduct of consciousness.


But if the self is an illusion, what is what lies beyond it?

In bald fact, nothing but a highly evolved automaton. But this automaton has needs that must be tended, and not all these needs are of the kind commonly regarded as 'physical'. Thus the impulse towards integration and individuation - which may, in the end, be defined as consciousness coming to an understanding of its own irrelevance.

*



Originally posted by Karlhungis
I love my children with all of my heart. Yet, bringing them into this world was about the most selfish thing that could have been done. If I was being rational, I would never want to have kids. Why on Earth would anyone want to force someone into the world? The world is a trainwreck and to force someone to experience it so you can feel complete is pretty selfish if you ask me.

I will have to apologize to them when they are old enough to understand.

Stop beating yourself up, man. It wasn't your selfishness but that of your genes that brought your children into the world. You were just following the programme they set for you - and for all your ancestors, right back to the obscure dawn of sexual reproduction. Don't credit yourself with more power than the universe has afforded you.

Human beings fatally overestimate the power of rationality and their own will. In fact, the first is simply a special instance of (or, more accurately, a special viewpoint on) causal determinism and as for the second, it doesn't even exist. You have nothing to apologize to your children for.

And I'm sorry you think the world is a train wreck. I live under far messier and more desperate social and political conditions than you do, yet I think the world is great: perfect, in fact. I guess it all depends on one's general outlook, which depends in turn on one's character, which is of course largely inborn.

Anyway, I'm sure your children are happy to be alive, and will bless you for it when they are old enough.

[edit on 2/6/09 by Astyanax]



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