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Fallacy of the Selfless Act

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posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by network dude
Tell me how much thought you would have at the moment a grenade is thrown into a group of soldiers? I don't think you would have time to finish this sentence. "OH SHI......" let alone contemplate the and's if's or but's of the repercussions of your actions or inaction's. You are either a guy who would rather die to save a life, or you are not. Selfless act defined. (IMHO)


There had to be some thought. Even if maybe before hand.
If I am the guy who would rather die to save a life than live with the guilt of not doing so, then I had to have processed that thought at some point.
At the very least the soldier is aware that there is a grenade, and that grenade is a threat to his/her happiness...

Jumping on a grenade without perceiving it as a threat would be neither selfish or selfless. It would just be a bad decision.




posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:10 PM
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reply to post by defuntion
 


I don't know. I could agree with you on any other subject than a guy giving his life for others. (Niki too)

The guy who is dead get's nothing out of the deal. Hero? posthumously. that and $3.50 will get you a cup of Espresso in heaven. And since you cannot have pockets in heaven, you get no coffee. (it's just a rule I heard)

edit on 20-11-2012 by network dude because: fat fingers today. piss poor typing



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:10 PM
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Originally posted by nixie_nox
reply to post by defuntion
 


Are you looking at this as more of charity by group? As oppossed to individual?


Hey Nixie.

Both equally really. I think group think is similar to individual thought, in terms of motivation. Individuals participate in groups for the reward. Groups want to sustain themselves because the individuals that are part of them want to sustain themselves. Selfishly.

A charitable group is composed of charitable people with a common goal. Acts of charity give people a sense of feeling good about themselves.

Sorry if I missed the mark here. Did I clarify?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by network dude
reply to post by defuntion
 


I don't know. I could agree with you on any other subject than a guy giving his life or others. (Niki too)


I can appreciate that.

I can't say I know either. It is an opinion I have. I have been wrong many times before.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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reply to post by network dude
 


He won't but his family will, therefor still keeping his genetic material alive.

A good example would be the families left behind the police and firepeople who died on 911, how much aid did their families receive?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:19 PM
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Originally posted by JAK
reply to post by defuntion
 



I suggested in my first post:

Because ultimately the argument has no other legs on which to stand the justification for every act eventually dribbles down to the ineffectual suggestion of all acts of an altruistic nature must then be motivated through a subconscious desire to serve the self.


and here we are. How can anyone argue against "Ahh, but at some level, one you don't realise, lies self-serving motivation." 'Well I can't see it.' "Yea, 's very deep. Hidden."


Since you keep insisting, I will take you up on the challenge.

Your argument sounds just as empty to me.
Survival instincts don't seem that "deep" to me, but I guess it depends upon how many layers of rationalisation and justification one has weaved over it.

In the case of the animal one puts down (yes, I've been there, had to put down my first horse at a young age, and a dog and a cat)..... when you empathize with another being, your mirror neurons increase the negative emotional experience you have when you see them suffer! Releasing them from suffering releases you from suffering. A period of conflict between your conditioned attachment pleasure and the suffering may happen for a while, but it comes down to making a choice between which is worse- the pain of separation from the object of our attachment, or the pain of empathizing with their suffering.

If you see a person drowing, you are more likely to jump in and risk your life to save them if you DON'T take the time to think... why? Because of the same mechanism- self/other separation is not clear in the subconscious, and probably much because of those mirror neurons! The reflex to fight to live is automatic and can be triggered even by observing another in danger.

If you take a second to think about it, you will recognize intellectually that it is not YOU who is danger, it is someone else and YOU will become in danger if you jump in, and then the reflex is detoured. If you have beliefs which favor risking your life for another as good, then you still might be able to do it, but you'll have to overcome the separating... you created a loop.

I actually experienced this when my son almost drowned at one year old- the people who jumped in to save him immediately did not think about it- they did not choose to be heros or do a good deed. It just was automatic. I was one fo them, and being his mother, one could say that is natural (I will live through my child) but the others were strangers.

Anyway, the whole "selfless" idea turns upon the concept of self/other separation, which the subconscious and the body does not recognize. Our nature realizes that the good of one is the good of all and vice versa.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:42 PM
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Originally posted by Bluesma
Anyway, the whole "selfless" idea turns upon the concept of self/other separation, which the subconscious and the body does not recognize. Our nature realizes that the good of one is the good of all and vice versa.


Hi Bluesma.

Very interesting! I was not aware of this concept.

Thank you for contributing.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:47 PM
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reply to post by foodstamp
 


It's not selfless because the pain of YOU seeing him/her in pain was greater than the pain of you losing him/her. That's a selfish act.


You're wrong.
Also, please don't ever assume that you know how someone feels -- especially when you've never met them.
Please do some research on assisted suicide and how the family members who have to go on without their loved ones are in much more pain after the humane deed has been done than how they felt prior to. Since you think you know what I've experienced and how I felt before and after, I believe your ego is bigger than your brain. Please work on trying to be more humble and empathetic. You'll be a better person because of it.

After reading all the other replies, it appears that this thread is designed to prove that every act is selfish.
No matter what someone answers, another will counter that their example was not selfless at all. There're just no right answers when people are only here to twist and contort things as if they have experienced every scenario possible.
When all posters are told that their answer is still a selfish act, that is selfish in itself. I nor anybody else had to exert the energy to participate in this thread, which seems as though it was written as a means to discount any and all answers. Truly a snake eating its own tail.

I honestly feel bad for someone who tries to find selfishness within any and all acts.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by Afterthought
I honestly feel bad for someone who tries to find selfishness within any and all acts.


I am sorry that you feel selfishness is such a bad thing.

Why? Read the thread closer. It obviously produces some very good things.

If I gave a million dollars to an orphange because it selfishly made me feel very good about myself, would that take away from the act of giving itself? Do you think the orphans care?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 02:57 PM
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reply to post by defuntion
 


No, I don't remember feeling good about it.

Actually I think I was irritated because it interrupted my drinking.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:03 PM
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reply to post by defuntion
 


The most obvious example is sacrificing one's life for another. You can say it occurs out of a sense of duty, or that the sacrifice itself bears some spiritual fruit, or that it is an irrational reaction to an event and doesn't contain proper forethought, but all of those things are illogical in light of your argument. All a person has, and is ever going to have is a result of their existence. If they give up that very existence, there is no possible way for reward for their actions. Even religious people have no guarantee of a spiritual reward, so making that decision to sacrifice one's own life must be a selfless act, because you give up the self in the process of the act!



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:04 PM
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reply to post by defuntion
 


There is more going on here than determining if something was a selfish act or not.
Did the person who gave to the orphanage do it anonymously? Are they going to check in with the orphanage to see how it benefitted the children? Did they report the donation on their taxes?

I believe that if someone gives to or helps someone, there has to be another word to describe the emotional release they experienced as a result. Calling them selfish just doesn't do anyone any good. There has to be a better word.
edit on 20-11-2012 by Afterthought because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:07 PM
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Even if someone gives charity anonymously, they still could plausibly be doing it for the good feeling they get from the action. I think it is a rather weak argument, but impossible to disprove.

How about taking care of one's estranged parent in their dotage? A parent that never raised or brought any love or support in one's own life, but when they get to the point they can no longer take care of themselves, and they don't even recognize their own offspring, but they require constant care, some people are willing to provide it. They provide it, and they get no good feeling from it, in fact they probably feel further used and abused, but they do it because nobody else is willing or capable. That is pretty selfless.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:11 PM
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Originally posted by watchitburn
reply to post by defuntion
 


Actually I think I was irritated because it interrupted my drinking.


That is very unfortunate my friend. Letting goodwill interrupt a cold pint (or warm), or a scotch, or [insert your favorite here]..

But, since your testimony was clouded by drinking we can't be sure you didn't get some minor pleasure out of the act.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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Maybe instead of calling it selfish on the giver's part, can we agree that they have become more self disciplined?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:13 PM
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Originally posted by Afterthought
I believe that if someone gives to or helps someone, there has to be another word to describe the emotional release they experienced as a result. Calling them selfish just doesn't do anyone any good. There has to be a better word.
edit on 20-11-2012 by Afterthought because: (no reason given)


I don't entirely disagree with you. I really don't.

What should we call it?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:15 PM
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Originally posted by Afterthought
Maybe instead of calling it selfish on the giver's part, can we agree that they have become more self disciplined?


I'd have to think on that one a bit.

Can't we be selfish and self disciplined though?



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:20 PM
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reply to post by defuntion
 


Just checked the thesaurus, and all of the synonyms just don't describe a giving person.



Main Entry: selfish  [sel-fish] Show IPA

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: thinking only of oneself

Synonyms:
egocentric, egoistic, egoistical, egomaniacal, egotistic, egotistical, greedy*, hoggish, mean, mercenary, miserly, narcissistic, narrow, narrow-minded, out for number one, parsimonious, prejudiced, self-centered, self-indulgent, self-interested, self-seeking, stingy, ungenerous, wrapped up in oneself

Antonyms:
caring, kind, unselfish


You see, if someone is going to help someone because they are doing it for themselves first and foremost, it isn't right to begin with. Therefore, any act that helps someone first and the giver second, should be considered a selfless act.
edit on 20-11-2012 by Afterthought because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by defuntion

Originally posted by Afterthought
Maybe instead of calling it selfish on the giver's part, can we agree that they have become more self disciplined?


I'd have to think on that one a bit.

Can't we be selfish and self disciplined though?


No. The emotions would negate each other.
I don't believe that a selfish person can be considered disciplined.



posted on Nov, 20 2012 @ 03:22 PM
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Originally posted by darkhorserider
How about taking care of one's estranged parent in their dotage? A parent that never raised or brought any love or support in one's own life, but when they get to the point they can no longer take care of themselves, and they don't even recognize their own offspring, but they require constant care, some people are willing to provide it. They provide it, and they get no good feeling from it, in fact they probably feel further used and abused, but they do it because nobody else is willing or capable. That is pretty selfless.


My guess would be to avoid the feeling of guilt. Again, the avoidance of a negative to increase the chance of happiness..

The thought of failing to act when we "Should" brings on a worse feeling than the effort put forth in acting out the kindness...






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