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Everything you do is for yourself

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posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 10:42 AM
While I agree with the basic premise of the OP, there are a few instances when one's actions are not for oneself. For example, let's say I'm driving down the road and the car in front of me slams on their breaks; in turn, I slam on my breaks and simultaneously throw my right arm out to protect my wife. Now, that action of throwing the arm out isn't selfish; rather, it is instinctual. The same could be said for pushing someone out of harms way, etc....instinct causes the reaction...there is no personal cost/benefit analysis that occurs before such actions take place.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 10:51 AM
reply to post by chancemusky

It's an interesting exercise, but flawed. Basically you're stating that the 'good' feelings we get after performing a 'good' deed is our motivation for the deed itself. It's a very extreme generalization and easy to pick holes in.
Not everything thing we do is meditated upon. Some decisions are spontanious. How could someone's spontanious decision be a selfish act?
Some dont even have the possiblity of being selfish. You're lost and come to a junction with no signs, do you go left or right? Which one of those is selfish?
Personally I dont think 'good deeds' are selfish using you're logic anyway. Helping the old lady cross the road could be a moral decision, born from a desire to help others in a selfless way. Helping others and being respectful does not boil down to selfishness, at least not in everyone.

Although I have to admit it does feel really good to help others!

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 10:58 AM
I used to think so, but changed my mind, because I realized many of my (Lack of) actions are because i feel that`s the rightful decision, and very often these decisions are very hard, they certainly don`t make me feel good at all.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:10 AM
reply to post by chancemusky

If not already said.... The same understanding of how we function in life can be said of people who criticise or deride others, it can almost always be down to the fact that they feel that very same comment about themselves.

It's a kind of forward projection that is the opposite of what the OP was pointing out.

All your own insecurities and short-cummings are usually directed at other people.

Think about it next time you groan about someone else.... Is it not the case you are describing yourself?!

There are many examples!

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:22 AM
reply to post by HanoverFat

I still agree with the OP, and whilst the word 'selfish' sounds very negative, it is just that - for oneself.

I think if you analyse every action you have taken in the past. Every compliment you have given, every gift, every word of comfort or support, it would in some way, small or large, be because YOU had something to gain from it...We operate on a self survival basis. I guess it's DNA coded. We doing what we do for our 'survival' whether in defined in actions that keep us safe, or fed, or provided for, or just in daily comments and idle chat.

I have thought long about this before, and almost always it can be said what I did or thought was to make me feel better, or advantage me, aside of the obvious material advantages. It crops up in all of life.

I did hear it said, that if we operated in any other way, society would collapse. To be honest I think society just couldn't function... No after you, no after you, no after you... etc etc..

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:27 AM
reply to post by ckitch

Don't think so...take for example pretty much know they're lying sacks of ( bleep )...the same instinctual behaviour that we see in animals pretty much dictate human behaviour aswell. For instance, that we have are group animals...we can only care for the immediate members of our group. Simultaneously we strive for power...why?...Higher status = better survival skills, higher chance of reproduction and healthy offspring. Now when a politician gets up on a stage and claims to care for all of his nation...that's simply psychologically not possible. So he's willing to lie to gain power. Not just lie...psychotic straight-faced lying in the face of thousands of ppl, a thing any normal person would have trouble with, or at the very least get flustered or nervous or something.
Therefor you can rule out any " good " intentions these people might have.
edit on 14-4-2011 by dude69 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 11:27 AM

Originally posted by Nick_X
Study more Buddhism people

You don't help people to generate good karma, you don't help other people because it makes you feel good. It's a lot more simple and logical than that.

An easy way to put it - If I help myself, then I am improving the life of a single person. If I help 4 people, then I am improving the life of 4 people.

Which is better for the world as a whole?

Obviously not helping myself only.

That is why in Buddhism you learn to focus on others and not yourself.

Good post...and I don't think a person can decide they're just going to go "earn some karma"...artificial acts of kindness with the mere intention of generation positive karma are not acts of kindness of all...

Guy1: Why did you help that guy, what did you get out of it?

Guy2: Why must I get something out of it?

Guy1: If you don't benefit what motivates you?

Guy2: Would you like it if you were being bashed and everyone just walked past paying no attention?

Guy1: Of course I wouldn't like it...someone would help me if I screamed for help.

Guy2: But why should they help you? What can they gain from it?

Guy1: Well, nothing I guess...

Guy2: Exactly...why should a kid get presents on Christmas...what a waste of money...why do people get special treatment on their fact, why do we even smile and say hello...

Guy1: I guess 'm starting to see your point...

Guy2: Imagine a world where no one smiles, everyone marches around like robots, and a bashing can be ignored in the middle of a street...because you're already living in that ask me again why I helped that guy.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 12:08 PM
There are two things going on here:
- Most people do things to genuinely help others
- Most people are "internally" and often "externally" awarded for this act themselves

Fundamentally, we are pack animals - we need to get along and need to have close bonds to other humans - it is hot wired into our brains. So we will do things to others to be part of the "pack" .

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 12:17 PM

Originally posted by chancemusky
Let me entertain a thought: everything that you will ever do, you do for yourself. Now, it may seem like I'm saying we are inherently selfish here, and I am. BUT, this is not necessarily bad. Lets look at some examples:

Helping an elderly lady with her groceries: You feel good and are considered a good person. It also helps them, but it is motivated by the feeling it gives you.

Taking more food than someone else: You are hungry, and need to preserve yourself. It may harm another, but you ultimately need to eat. If you choose not to, why? Because you feel and are a hero or noble.

Feel free to try and find an example where there is no selfishness in it, and I will, as I hope will others, try to point out that it is

It is just a fun exercise, to get you thinking from more than one angle, so please, dont get all huffed up over it

Are you enrolled in Economics course by any chance? What you are describing is called "Utility" in Economical Theory.
edit on 14-4-2011 by hardware because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 12:23 PM
Erm...that's not Buddhist teaching. Here is fundamentally what Buddhism consists of:

Life is suffering.
Suffering is due to attachment.
Attachment can be overcome.
There is a path for accomplishing this.

Right view is the true understanding of the four noble truths (above).
Right aspiration is the true desire to free oneself from attachment, ignorance, and hatefulness.
Right speech involves abstaining from lying, gossiping, or hurtful talk.
Right action involves abstaining from hurtful behaviors, such as killing, stealing, and careless sex.
Right livelihood means making your living in such a way as to avoid dishonesty and hurting others, including animals.
Right effort is a matter of exerting oneself in regards to the content of one's mind: Bad qualities should be abandoned and prevented from arising again; Good qualities should be enacted and nurtured.
Right mindfulness is the focusing of one's attention on one's body, feelings, thoughts, and consciousness in such a way as to overcome craving, hatred, and ignorance.
Right concentration is meditating in such a way as to progressively realize a true understanding of imperfection, impermanence, and [non-dualism].

Basically, you focus on the Self, not on others. Your thoughts, actions, and intent are the focus of your attention. Others are to take care of themselves so as to maintain their path. You can help people, but only when explicitly requested to do so, and even then you are responsible for what transpires thereafter.

People here talk a lot about Buddhism and its virtues but they exhibit a profound ignorance of its true meanings, intentions, and ultimate results. Karma is not what most people believe it to be. It's not a punishment method. It's not something to fear. It's the interplay of energies from thoughts, actions, words, because everything has an effect on everything else.

The point is that this is all a lot bigger than just isolated incidents that transpire here and there and whether they are good or bad. We are not to say nor to judge. We are to act within the rightness of our heart. We are to know our hearts that well that we can act without aid of any of our five senses in a way that flows with the cosmos. We are to feel our way around. We are to grow purposefully, mindfully. We are to love ourselves and because of that we love all the rest, because we are one.

That is not just Buddhist teaching. That is fundamental to other belief systems as well.

And no one prevents you from generating love. Pure love is independent of outside influence. It comes from within and cannot be disturbed, once it is finally attained. This does not mean that those who are thusly enlightened do not get angry or fed up or any of the other intrinsically human things we all share. Jesus too lost his temper on occasion, did he not?

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 02:13 PM

Originally posted by Jinglelord

Originally posted by MidnightSunshine
So yes, one's best intrests are served, but not by intention. It's just a fortunate outcome, or perk.
edit on 14-4-2011 by MidnightSunshine because: (no reason given)

See now I would believe it is by intent, be it subconscious or conscious. I don't think it is a consciously selfish action most of the time, I think it is a selfish instinct.

You are absolutely correct though that intent is the crux of the entire debate. And in essence this is a debate about intent and subconscious intent at that! In such a debate there can be no winners because one thing that can seldom even be proven by the one engaging in the action is subconscious intent.

To my mind though, when helping others is a selfish action that gives me hope. As all creatures will ultimately look after their best interests and in a social creature if our minds our set up to get a selfish reward by raising our species then we stand a chance. If helping others isn't selfish I feel we stand no chance and are just here for a short visit.

O.k. I can go along with that. Maybe it is in our sunconscious to look after our own best intrest, and that is why it feels like an instinct.

The only other thing I can say is, I wish more people would do nice things, just do nice things. I get annoyed when people tell me what they have done for other people, and how they haven't been rewarded in some form or another. I say if your doing something good for someone just do it, and forget about it, because mentioning it and expecting the same in return cancels out all of the good intention.

Also, my 2 year old daughter keeps asking "what is that?" about your avatar. I say it's a wolf's eye....

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 02:30 PM
It's called psychological egoism.

I've always felt that way about altruism, even when i was a young teen.

However, I've recently discovered the term and its meaning and I must say it fits exactly with my beliefs.

edit on 14-4-2011 by AxlJones because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 02:40 PM
The cashier gave me back my change ($10 more). I returned it back to her.

Why? Because it was the Right thing to do. I did not get any gratification out of doing it.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 02:53 PM
Every single thing is in our minds. Our experiences in life push us along a path of decision or indecision. We are a culmination of past memories (most of them are subconscious) and hopes for the future. While not realizing that the only 'reality' is this very moment. Our self, ego or Id is all we will ever have. Anything beyond that is how we 'think' we perceive the situation. No one will ever care about you as much as you have the potential to. Nothing controls your happiness or sadness but you. The more you love yourself with integrity and not an inflated ego, the more the joy and appreciation of living will pour forth from you and touch the world around you, with honesty. Yes, you are the single most important person you will ever know. And knowing this is an incredible blessing. What the world around us tries it's hardest to do, is to remove this knowledge and block it out. It's in our music, our movies, our literature, the way we speak to and treat each other. And it is certainly intentional.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 03:57 PM
For anything you do to be unselfish in nature it would need to be the call of another person. And you will have to do it whether you like it or not. Or not do it whether you like it or not.
In other words for something you do to be unselfish, you are gonna have to be someone's slave for a moment.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 04:06 PM
I know a lot of you aren't gonna agree, but as a Christian, I don't believe that because Jesus got down on people who only did the right thing for themselves. Why would he get down on them for it he made us so we couldn't help it? You don't have to believe. Just what I think.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 04:48 PM
We're all connected, on low levels with most, higher with others. As a person in 'true love', it's easy to understand this.

This topic can go in circles on and on, but I believe any feeling of empathy is starting to draw away from selfishness. If we only do it to make ourselves feel good, why do we bother feeling bad when people close to us are hurt? It's a connection that goes beyond 'generous' or 'selfish'. Top that off, I don't get any 'feel good' from holding a door open for someone, or things along those lines, I still do it though.

And, to draw on that further, just because you feel your actions are only for self gratification, doesn't mean that everyone thinks that way.

You make a thought provoking point, but I must disagree.

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 05:23 PM
this is very very true, and i wish more people saw that...because, you are born and die alone, and basically, when you do not wish to do something 4 somebody , yes, it really has to do with pleasing oneself

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 06:03 PM
reply to post by dude69

Sorry, but you lost me after the 1st sentence?????

posted on Apr, 14 2011 @ 06:05 PM
reply to post by 211220121111

You have so missed the point my friend!

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