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We're all Selfish

crackofdawn_Jr
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10/27/2009 3:35:56 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Almost everything we do in life can be linked to some selfish desire of our own.

A few examples:

1. Giving charity, although it helps someone else, ends up giving us a sense of satisfaction that makes us feel good about ourselves.

2. People who throw themselves in front of a bullet do so becase:
A. They can't imagine life without that person
B. They don't really care much about their life
C. Like the idea of being a hero

The only true selfless act would be to do something you don't want to do, that you don't like, that would help someone, that would hurt your life, and cause you all over harm and no good at all.
There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics"
-Mark Twain

"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success"

"Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."
- William Shakespeare

"There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man."
- Adolf Hitler
Maikuru
Posts: 9,112
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10/27/2009 3:38:45 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 3:35:56 PM, crackofdawn_Jr wrote:

2. People who throw themselves in front of a bullet do so becase:
A. They can't imagine life without that person
B. They don't really care much about their life
C. Like the idea of being a hero

Don't forget duty.

The only true selfless act would be to do something you don't want to do, that you don't like, that would help someone, that would hurt your life, and cause you all over harm and no good at all.

Do you have an example of such an act?
"You assume I wouldn't want to burn this whole place to the ground."
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JBlake
Posts: 4,634
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10/27/2009 3:39:47 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I certainly agree that we are all selfish. But it is folly to go the next step and claim that all of our actions are selfish.

You provided you own example of a selfless act: jumping in front of a bullet, or on a grenade. This is often done in a split second decision (without time to decide that you want to be a hero). They do so knowing that they are likely to die. They don't get any benefit from it (most combat on the field like this does not get recognized, so that rules out the desire to be a hero).
crackofdawn_Jr
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10/27/2009 3:40:15 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 3:38:45 PM, Maikuru wrote:
At 10/27/2009 3:35:56 PM, crackofdawn_Jr wrote:

2. People who throw themselves in front of a bullet do so becase:
A. They can't imagine life without that person
B. They don't really care much about their life
C. Like the idea of being a hero

Don't forget duty.
You're right

The only true selfless act would be to do something you don't want to do, that you don't like, that would help someone, that would hurt your life, and cause you all over harm and no good at all.

Do you have an example of such an act?
There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics"
-Mark Twain

"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success"

"Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."
- William Shakespeare

"There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man."
- Adolf Hitler
crackofdawn_Jr
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10/27/2009 3:41:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 3:39:47 PM, JBlake wrote:
I certainly agree that we are all selfish. But it is folly to go the next step and claim that all of our actions are selfish.

You provided you own example of a selfless act: jumping in front of a bullet, or on a grenade. This is often done in a split second decision (without time to decide that you want to be a hero). They do so knowing that they are likely to die. They don't get any benefit from it (most combat on the field like this does not get recognized, so that rules out the desire to be a hero).

I believe that unconsciously they do know. Espcially since that hardly any of them could live with it if they knew they could save someone else but didn't. If they chose not too, then this as well would be selfish as they would be choosing their life over the lives of others.
There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics"
-Mark Twain

"If at first you don't succeed, redefine success"

"Therefore love moderately. Long love doth so.
Too swift arrives as tardy as too slow."
- William Shakespeare

"There must be no majority decisions, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' must be restored to its original meaning. Surely every man will have advisers by his side, but the decision will be made by one man."
- Adolf Hitler
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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10/27/2009 3:43:27 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 3:39:47 PM, JBlake wrote:
I certainly agree that we are all selfish. But it is folly to go the next step and claim that all of our actions are selfish.

You provided you own example of a selfless act: jumping in front of a bullet, or on a grenade. This is often done in a split second decision (without time to decide that you want to be a hero). They do so knowing that they are likely to die. They don't get any benefit from it (most combat on the field like this does not get recognized, so that rules out the desire to be a hero).

But, you also have to remember that, the person could also have taken a bullet to spare themselves the pain of watching someone important die, and the guilt of having to live for years with that person's death (which could have been prevented). So, in its own way, the action is still selfish, in that the person is taking the bullet more to satisfy their own conscience.
JBlake
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10/27/2009 4:00:49 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 3:43:27 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
But, you also have to remember that, the person could also have taken a bullet to spare themselves the pain of watching someone important die, and the guilt of having to live for years with that person's death (which could have been prevented). So, in its own way, the action is still selfish, in that the person is taking the bullet more to satisfy their own conscience.

You assume that they have enough time to consider all of those things in an instant.
Cody_Franklin
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10/27/2009 4:07:48 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:00:49 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 10/27/2009 3:43:27 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
But, you also have to remember that, the person could also have taken a bullet to spare themselves the pain of watching someone important die, and the guilt of having to live for years with that person's death (which could have been prevented). So, in its own way, the action is still selfish, in that the person is taking the bullet more to satisfy their own conscience.

You assume that they have enough time to consider all of those things in an instant.

I don't assume that they're sitting down and contemplating this for a long period of time, no, but that doesn't rule out consideration of the whole "being unable to live with someone's death on the conscience" idea.
JBlake
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10/27/2009 4:10:42 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:07:48 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/27/2009 4:00:49 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 10/27/2009 3:43:27 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
But, you also have to remember that, the person could also have taken a bullet to spare themselves the pain of watching someone important die, and the guilt of having to live for years with that person's death (which could have been prevented). So, in its own way, the action is still selfish, in that the person is taking the bullet more to satisfy their own conscience.

You assume that they have enough time to consider all of those things in an instant.

I don't assume that they're sitting down and contemplating this for a long period of time, no, but that doesn't rule out consideration of the whole "being unable to live with someone's death on the conscience" idea.

I contend that there is not enough time, in such instances, for that to even come to their consideration.

But further, that only serves as evidence from the opposite side. To be selfish is to put your needs for survival first. To jump in front of a bullet or jump on a grenade because you could not live with their death on your conscious, is a selfless act.
Cody_Franklin
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10/27/2009 4:17:33 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:10:42 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 10/27/2009 4:07:48 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/27/2009 4:00:49 PM, JBlake wrote:
At 10/27/2009 3:43:27 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
But, you also have to remember that, the person could also have taken a bullet to spare themselves the pain of watching someone important die, and the guilt of having to live for years with that person's death (which could have been prevented). So, in its own way, the action is still selfish, in that the person is taking the bullet more to satisfy their own conscience.

You assume that they have enough time to consider all of those things in an instant.

I don't assume that they're sitting down and contemplating this for a long period of time, no, but that doesn't rule out consideration of the whole "being unable to live with someone's death on the conscience" idea.

I contend that there is not enough time, in such instances, for that to even come to their consideration.

I appreciate your contention.


But further, that only serves as evidence from the opposite side. To be selfish is to put your needs for survival first. To jump in front of a bullet or jump on a grenade because you could not live with their death on your conscious, is a selfless act.

The problem is, you're operating on this idea of duality, that one action is selfish, the other selfless, ruling out the idea of both actions being selfish.

If the person continues to live, they will have to deal with perpetual suffering generated by allowing another person, possibly a loved one, to die; thus, we see in this instance that living isn't necessarily the best option for someone. Chances are, if it all happens in an instant, the person will hardly have the time to jump in front of a speeding bullet, so we have to assume that there is at least a moment or two of delay.

The point I'm making is that, the person in question is making the sacrifice in order to save themselves from their own conscience, rather than to save the person in a selfless act of heroism.
JBlake
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10/27/2009 4:19:41 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:16:10 PM, MTGandP wrote:
You should read The Selfish Gene.

Were you talking to me? Dawkins didn't argue that selfless acts were impossible (though I admitted from the beginning that most, even almost all, acts are selfish).
Ragnar_Rahl
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10/27/2009 4:23:15 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Almost everything we do in life can be linked to some selfish desire of our own.

A few examples:

1. Giving charity, although it helps someone else, ends up giving us a sense of satisfaction that makes us feel good about ourselves.
The term "Selfish" refers to pursuing things one values because they are one's own. Not because they are not one's own, which is the premise that motivates those who feel contradictory and vaguely positive emotions upon any action that conforms to the premise that the highest mark of virtue, that demands a reward, is not being themself. The only charity compatible with a definition of selfishness that does not commit the fallacy of the suppressed correlative-- is hardly charity at all except in name-- it is the giving up of money one can easily afford on the expectation that someone may act later in a way that benefits you more than the money could have-- act in the real world. Emotions are a side effect, one who permits them free reign as an absolute motive is abrogating their self (their mind) for a spare bit of chemical accident leftover from their ancestors.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Cody_Franklin
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10/27/2009 4:29:17 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Why exactly do we need to be rational? If emotions are merely a 'side-effect', it would follow that human rationality is also accidental, which would make it no better than the emotions that you seek to restrain; surely, you don't believe that humans ought to (or even can be) indifferent, super-rational beings, do you?
Puck
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10/27/2009 4:39:59 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:29:17 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Why exactly do we need to be rational? If emotions are merely a 'side-effect', it would follow that human rationality is also accidental, which would make it no better than the emotions that you seek to restrain; surely, you don't believe that humans ought to (or even can be) indifferent, super-rational beings, do you?

Firstly false dichotomy, being rational does not preclude one from experiencing, enjoying or wanting emotions, it does however correctly subsume them *under* ones thoughts and ideation. A rational approach then allows one to *know* why they feel what they do, the source of the reaction of which an emotion is - emotionalism however attempts to reverse this and assert emotions as primary over ideation, leading to all sorts or contradictory nonsense and guilt.
Cody_Franklin
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10/27/2009 4:45:34 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:39:59 PM, Puck wrote:
At 10/27/2009 4:29:17 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Why exactly do we need to be rational? If emotions are merely a 'side-effect', it would follow that human rationality is also accidental, which would make it no better than the emotions that you seek to restrain; surely, you don't believe that humans ought to (or even can be) indifferent, super-rational beings, do you?

Firstly false dichotomy,

I'm not saying "only emotions" or "only rationality" - don't be so quick to cry "fallacy".

being rational does not preclude one from experiencing, enjoying or wanting emotions, it does however correctly subsume them *under* ones thoughts and ideation. A rational approach then allows one to *know* why they feel what they do, the source of the reaction of which an emotion is - emotionalism however attempts to reverse this and assert emotions as primary over ideation, leading to all sorts or contradictory nonsense and guilt.

This answer doesn't exactly pertain to my question. I was merely asking why rationality is superior to emotions, and whether it's possible to remove emotion from considerations, since emotion is a part of the human character, just as rationality is. I'm curious as to the limits of rationality, and whether the average person would be able to think objectively in life-threatening situations, or situations which threatened someone or something of value to the aforementioned "Average Joe".

Furthermore, you discuss emotions inherently leading to contradictions and guilt (which, strangely enough, is an emotion in itself). I'm curious as to what kind of contradictions you are discussing, so that I might better understand your assertion.
Puck
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10/27/2009 5:45:10 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 4:45:34 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

I'm not saying "only emotions" or "only rationality" - don't be so quick to cry "fallacy".

Ya last sentence said otherwise.

This answer doesn't exactly pertain to my question. I was merely asking why rationality is superior to emotions, and whether it's possible to remove emotion from considerations, since emotion is a part of the human character, just as rationality is.

Rationality is superior because it is a method of correctly using reason. In terms of emotions it allows emotions to have *meaning* because they are traceable back to one's ideation. Emotions, properly subsumed under ideation, allow for correct interpretations of one's ideation in a given reaction to something (I feel this because...). If emotion is primary however you become reactionary without any definite basis. To use a very simple example, it allows "I love you" to have meaning precisely because the emotion is an evaluation of ones thoughts.

I'm curious as to the limits of rationality, and whether the average person would be able to think objectively in life-threatening situations, or situations which threatened someone or something of value to the aforementioned "Average Joe".

"Average" is a misnomer - what is the average here, if more or less treat emotionalism as primary? As for evaluating a situation, one needs the correct hierarchy in place before hand, one can't just make that on the spur of the emergency. For instance I am not a strong swimmer, my trying to rescue a drowning stranger would be largely futile. I value my life far above a strangers so in this "emergency situation" I would not attempt a rescue. If it was my partner, whom has much higher value to me, the decision would change.

Furthermore, you discuss emotions inherently leading to contradictions and guilt (which, strangely enough, is an emotion in itself).

It's the common one you see when people try and enact contradictions or hold attempt to hold contradictory elements, both as right. Guilt is an emotional red light to the knowledge that one is acting in contradiction.

I'm curious as to what kind of contradictions you are discussing, so that I might better understand your assertion.

There are plenty examples: The animal rights activist who is not a Vegan, the charity advocate who goes shopping for themselves, a person who reacts angrily to a violation of their values one of which is pacifism etc. These are basic examples, but the gamut is varied.
Puck
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10/27/2009 5:49:06 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 5:47:12 PM, wjmelements wrote:
Selfish is such a negative word.

The best way to change that is to challenge it where it occurs. :)
Rezzealaux
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10/27/2009 6:48:57 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 5:47:12 PM, wjmelements wrote:
Selfish is such a negative word.

It won't be if we keep emphasizing that it's a good thing.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Ragnar_Rahl
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10/27/2009 10:07:08 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
You don't need to be rational, Cody Franklin. Unless you are interested in your own life, which depends in large part upon it ( you can live without it but your odds aren't that great).
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
PoeJoe
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10/28/2009 8:19:41 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/28/2009 8:14:59 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Ai ya

I know I'm ignoring everything else in this thread, but the above quoted text is awesome.
Television Rot: http://tvrot.com...
Rezzealaux
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10/28/2009 8:20:10 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/28/2009 8:14:59 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Psychological Egoism again? Ai ya, it started and should've died with Hobbes >.>

Hobbes did not know how to draw conclusions from psych egoism.
: If you weren't new here, you'd know not to feed me such attention. This is like an orgasm in my brain right now. *hehe, my name is in a title, hehe* (http://www.debate.org...)

Just in case I get into some BS with FREEDO again about how he's NOT a narcissist.

"The law is there to destroy evil under the constitutional government."
So... what's there to destroy evil inside of and above the constitutional government?
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/29/2009 12:34:47 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/28/2009 8:19:41 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
At 10/28/2009 8:14:59 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Ai ya

I know I'm ignoring everything else in this thread, but the above quoted text is awesome.

What do you mean?
President of DDO
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/29/2009 12:35:13 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/29/2009 12:34:47 PM, theLwerd wrote:
At 10/28/2009 8:19:41 PM, PoeJoe wrote:
At 10/28/2009 8:14:59 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Ai ya

I know I'm ignoring everything else in this thread, but the above quoted text is awesome.

What do you mean?

LOL whoops... wrong quote.
President of DDO
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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10/29/2009 12:35:35 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/28/2009 8:20:10 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:
At 10/28/2009 8:14:59 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Psychological Egoism again? Ai ya, it started and should've died with Hobbes >.>

Hobbes did not know how to draw conclusions from psych egoism.

* What do you mean?
President of DDO
TheSkeptic
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10/30/2009 6:33:44 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/29/2009 12:35:35 PM, theLwerd wrote:
At 10/28/2009 8:20:10 PM, Rezzealaux wrote:
At 10/28/2009 8:14:59 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Psychological Egoism again? Ai ya, it started and should've died with Hobbes >.>

Hobbes did not know how to draw conclusions from psych egoism.

* What do you mean?

Hobbes is inspired with his version of the social contract theory partially from the supposed fact of psychological egoism. Interestingly enough, Rezz is inspired with his version of anarchism partially from the supposed fact of psychological egoism.
Conor
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10/31/2009 10:39:00 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 10/27/2009 3:35:56 PM, crackofdawn_Jr wrote:
Almost everything we do in life can be linked to some selfish desire of our own.

A few examples:

1. Giving charity, although it helps someone else, ends up giving us a sense of satisfaction that makes us feel good about ourselves.

2. People who throw themselves in front of a bullet do so becase:
A. They can't imagine life without that person
B. They don't really care much about their life
C. Like the idea of being a hero

The only true selfless act would be to do something you don't want to do, that you don't like, that would help someone, that would hurt your life, and cause you all over harm and no good at all.

If someone jumped in front of a bullet to save their twin, it doesn't mean they were necessarily driven by any of the motives you outlined. They did it (and this is why I use the example of twin) in order to preserve their genes, of which their twin possesses an identical copy. So, the action is not selfish at all (if by self you mean the specific individual), but only in accordance with the selfish gene. The gene is ultimately the selfish one, which seeks to replicate itself and prolong its unique DNA coding--it's only a apparently selfish in terms of the individual. Although this is a strange situation, it's very practically observed in less complex animals.