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Thread: People are selfish

  1. #1
    Creepy-krae

    Default People are selfish

    Yeah, really, are they?

    I was thinking today how nobody ever turned down requests for favors, everyone I know I can count on, some for some things, others for different things. They can count on me too.

    Selfish? Yeah pursuing our own interests out there. Strangers can expect limited help, although usually they receive a lot more than expected.

    Within a group of friends, in a local community and to strangers people can be pretty and actually _are_ altruistic.

    People send stuff to BionicGoat,

    I bet if you have some presence around you'd receive things too if you ask.

    Selfish? I don't see it.

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    ESTj Tom's Avatar
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    Everything everyone does is entirely selfish. Even if you do something entirely to help someone else out, you're gaining more than if you hadn't, because to you it's worth more in that instance to "help someone else". What you want in that case is for someone else to gain. You gain from their gaining in that instance because the thing which you profit from is their profiting. Profit isn't just about "money+things"; profit is about subjective gain in value.
    Wond'ring aloud, How we feel today. Last night sipped the sunset, My hand in her hair. We are our own saviours, As we start both our hearts, Beating life Into each other. ~Ian Anderson

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    Landlord of the Dog and Duck Subteigh's Avatar
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    I suppose you could say that those who carry out seemingly "selfless" acts may be doing so because it will mean that people will think well of them, or because it gives them a boost to their psyche.

    But...it is conceivable for someone to do something selfless without considering how people will see them or what effect it will have on their psyche - i.e. something basically done on impulse. Of course, being impulsive would not be rationally selfless, and it could have disastrous effects! But then so can carefully considered plans with selfish motives! Such an action would be selfless though.

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krae View Post
    It isn't intentionally selfish, because most don't expect to feel good after helping someone, they end up being surprised.
    It's called pack mentality. That's WHY you "feel good" after helping someone. It IS selfish, because we believe on a very basic, instinctual level that we are helping ourselves by helping others.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Everything everyone does is entirely selfish. Even if you do something entirely to help someone else out, you're gaining more than if you hadn't, because to you it's worth more in that instance to "help someone else". What you want in that case is for someone else to gain. You gain from their gaining in that instance because the thing which you profit from is their profiting. Profit isn't just about "money+things"; profit is about subjective gain in value.
    I feel like you're on a roll today

    Yes, helping people out is often due to cultural conditioning, social positioning, or just weird stuff like co-dependency and histrionic insecurity. But, I still don't think that in every case it ties back to some self-contained sense of personal gratification. If one truly extends past themselves, in order to facilitate the happiness of another, and receives a feeling of happiness from the accomplishment of said thing, I see no problem with that, and would consider it selfless. One is living for another at that point, their state being dependent (in a good way, that promotes mutual concern) on the state of the other. I think this is the ultimate kind of intimacy one could hope for.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    From a strictly biological standpoint, everything we do is selfish in the sense that our primal mechanisms of functioning tell us that it is in our best interest in terms of survival.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    strrrng's Avatar
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    But... from a human/moral standpoint, we can understand greater implications to acts of selflessness, and thus more genuine motivations for engaging in said things -- even if, biologically, it satisfies the 'self.'

    Is sex with someone you love selfish? That kind of thing.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Is sex with someone you love selfish? That kind of thing.
    On one level - yes, because it satisfies an impulse to procreate, which is simply you being a vessel for your hormones.

    On another level - no, because, concretely, you seek to please your partner, and are engaging in a shared loving experience. These things, on a biological level, are "selfish" in their own way, but in the context of our experience as humans, they are both loving and potentially selfless.

    Even raising children is, biologically speaking, "selfish" in this same manner: we are gratified by the sex, and once we have kids, it "feels better" to raise them than to ditch them or kill them or any other alternative. Even if, say, we make a decision like putting a child up for adoption that we can't afford, it's partly out of self-interest in the obvious sense that life will be easier, but also in the sense that we would be avoiding the guilt of not being able to provide properly for the child.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  9. #9
    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    However, in the context of actually being a human, these things are simply natural, simply the right thing to do, and, as such, not really "selfish," per se, in practice, and these impulses can lead us to things like self-sacrifice that are ultimately selfless in the extreme. However, biologically speaking, as a rule, we put ourselves first, in one way or another.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  10. #10
    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    I should probably put a "jading" tag on this thread
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    The Soul Happy-er JWC3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krae View Post
    I bet if you have some presence around you'd receive things too if you ask.

    Selfish? I don't see it.
    You know why the Yankees always win?
    It's 'cause the other teams can't stop staring at those damn pinstripes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Everything everyone does is entirely selfish. Even if you do something entirely to help someone else out, you're gaining more than if you hadn't, because to you it's worth more in that instance to "help someone else". What you want in that case is for someone else to gain. You gain from their gaining in that instance because the thing which you profit from is their profiting. Profit isn't just about "money+things"; profit is about subjective gain in value.

    I think you're talking about the term "self-interest", not selfishness.
    I think Krae meant selfishness as in the generally accepted definition: not caring about anyone EXCEPT yourself, and your own self-gratification. Like when it's not even to your own self-interest to help out another person..
    IEI, perhaps Fe sub.

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    Gilly, you're a self-admitted narcissist. Don't you think your opinion on this subject is a bit biased. =D

    I think we're just a complex, interesting mix of both altruistic and selfish qualities, definitely- and neither side is really bad or good.

    As for us making love being about selfishly replicating our genes. Hmm, not really. Otherwise you would only want to have sex when the woman could breed. Why be horny for any other reason? And humans, even if they are 110% heterosexual-- just aren't wired that way. And the very fact that we have a conscious awareness of all this crap tells me that we're meant to take a higher path, somehow- from our natural base instincts anyway, even when we should always give respect to it. (Deep down everybody likes to be throat fucked in the maw and I kinda like it that way) But because we have an awareness of ourselves and can look at these supposed "dark" or "natural" qualities, that means to me we're obviously meant for something more.

    ie, insert a self-aggrandizing speech about the limitlessness of human potential and all that gay Star Trek crap here.

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    It's selfish when you can't conceive of that which is outside of your own boundaries, and thus possess zero potential to extend past yourself, for another. Actions demonstrate this by the relative emphasis they put on self and other, within the given parameters of a situation.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Selfishness does limit you in that way. Even Esther Hicks limits herself to talk to mealy-mouthed middle-class losers about feeling better about themselves. I mean you'd think her 'Vibrational Alignment' or whatever would have something more in store for her, but I suppose it makes one feel special to be that bossy. The more you extend in return the more you help yourself, so I definitely see what you mean there Nick. It's not really about being selfish or not, it's just the more selfless you are- the more you tend to experience and grow and the more you do that- the more of a quality leader you are.

    I think people have a tendency to view selflessness as this thingie where like you are 'too nice' and let people walk all over you or some shit but it's really not like that. It's more like the more you give yourself up the more you can relate to others and see others went through the same shit as you do, so the more you want to be a helper and since everybody needs to be helped in different ways- as that is what society is based upon, ummmm.....it's just this really good ripple effect that I don't see how anybody can really fight against it.

    Even if you're introverted, we're social beings- we're meant to help and communicate and get along. Not disney-ish it's just how we're born and wired.

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HKitty View Post
    I think you're talking about the term "self-interest", not selfishness.
    This.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    Gilly, you're a self-admitted narcissist. Don't you think your opinion on this subject is a bit biased. =D
    I'm always biased

    As for us making love being about selfishly replicating our genes. Hmm, not really. Otherwise you would only want to have sex when the woman could breed. Why be horny for any other reason? And humans, even if they are 110% heterosexual-- just aren't wired that way. And the very fact that we have a conscious awareness of all this crap tells me that we're meant to take a higher path, somehow- from our natural base instincts anyway, even when we should always give respect to it. (Deep down everybody likes to be throat fucked in the maw and I kinda like it that way) But because we have an awareness of ourselves and can look at these supposed "dark" or "natural" qualities, that means to me we're obviously meant for something more.
    lmfao

    You're missing the point though. The point is that we all have biological mechanisms that dictate: "I should have sex;" we feel better if we have sex than if we don't, so in an instinctual sense, sex is selfish, whether it's for procreation or not.

    ftr I don't think procreation is typically selfish in a "narcissistic" self-image sense; more that we just want to have sex.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    Everything everyone does is entirely selfish. Even if you do something entirely to help someone else out, you're gaining more than if you hadn't, because to you it's worth more in that instance to "help someone else". What you want in that case is for someone else to gain. You gain from their gaining in that instance because the thing which you profit from is their profiting. Profit isn't just about "money+things"; profit is about subjective gain in value.
    I tend to agree, and I think that is well put.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    From a strictly biological standpoint, everything we do is selfish in the sense that our primal mechanisms of functioning tell us that it is in our best interest in terms of survival.
    Amazon.com: Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior: Prof. Elliott Sober, Prof. David Sloan Wilson, David Sloan Wilson: Books

    this is an extremely interesting book on the matter. I had never thought about the issue in the way that it's presented there, so it's totally worth taking a look. The argument "everything we do is selfish, because we end up gaining something out of it, be it pleasure or money" does not take into account that sometimes humans behave in a way that they cannot rationally explain.
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    The fact that they can't rationally explain their behavior only indicates that it was due to a biological impulse.

    ...and I'm broke
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Selfish/Selfless/Altruism are just descriptions for different characteristics that we are perceiving. These are evaluations of some underlying cause.

    "We are selfish biologically..."
    "He is selfless in his devotion to..."
    "This is altruistic behavior..."

    But these terms are only somewhat true when evaluating different aspects of our existence.

    So it's not that we are selfish, selfless or altruistic but that we display "selfless" sentiment, "altruistic" behavior but the underlying causes of these expressions is our "selfish" gene.

    As a group, these are all ethical evaluations, reality is neither selfish or unselfish, but necessity.

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Well put.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

  23. #23
    ESTj Tom's Avatar
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    Biological impulse is rational; "the first nature of the thing is to preserve the thing" (can't remember where that's from). Whatever people do is what they want to do.

    But I think I realize where the discrepancy comes from here. The word "selfish" tends to have the connotation "only to benefit the self", and what it really means is "aiming only to benefit the self". So you are correct that some people are "selfish", however, my point is simply that no matter what it is, the "self" does what it wants solely for the "self" in all cases. How is this, when there are martyrs which we all know of? Well the answer to this question dictates that one must know what benefit actually is. Benefit is profit. How does one profit or benefit? Because value is subjective, we must say that one only profits when he or she believes that value is increasing in their favor. But what does in their favor mean? Why, whatever they desire.

    So if their desire is to have another benefit in place of themselves, they've really stumbled onto a situation where the profit of the other IS their profit, even if they, themselves don't have material gain. In some people, this becomes of the highest priority and they'll do things like jump in front of a bullet for someone else (and I'm sure all of you can think of certain cases where this would happen for you). But we know that if we get what we value, we benefit. If what we value is the life of another, and save them by dying in their place (obviously this is the extreme case), then we have benefited greatly. Because our selfish whim moves to the value of another life.

    So what it really comes down to is semantics. Everything we aim to do is for our own benefit. But, when our own benefit coincides with the benefit of another, or that other is the object of our benefit, does our aim change to being not our benefit? No. But do we call these specific situations unselfish, because someone aside from ourselves benefits? Yes.

    But this does raise an interesting problem. Often (and almost all of the time), someone else benefits by our selfish action. The greedy businessman next door lowers his prices so that he may get more business and make more money. In doing so, however, the consumer benefits. Were his actions also unselfish? By this definition, yes.

    So we must make a definition for "selfishness" which appeases our own feelings and connotations. In general, I think the connotation which is added is that the self is, in aim, the sole benefactor. If this is applied to the definition (which it is, usually), then people can be unselfish, and are on a regular basis, as are they selfish.

    What I tried to get across in my earlier post, however, is that no matter what someone does, it is entirely for their own gain. But if we apply the particular connotation of "sole benefactor in aim" to the definition, then this still does not change, but the word "selfish" does.
    Wond'ring aloud, How we feel today. Last night sipped the sunset, My hand in her hair. We are our own saviours, As we start both our hearts, Beating life Into each other. ~Ian Anderson

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Agreed.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    What I tried to get across in my earlier post, however, is that no matter what someone does, it is entirely for their own gain.
    No. This just isn't true. I've done stuff for other people before where I got NOTHING at all from it, just to help them-, cause I actually have the ability to be altruistic and selfless; just like you do. I don't do this often. I am a mixture of selfless and selfish traits, just like everybody else.

    I got nothing out of it. I mean nothing. I didn't even feel good 'helping them' I did it to be selfless. It just sort of happened without any thought process of my own. *shrug* It wasn't painful or hard, but it didn't give me satisfaction either. I didn't do it for some moral code or anything like that, it just kind of happened.

    How about this: 'Generally speaking, people are selfish. And that's okay. But when they aren't, it isn't a big deal either.'

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    "I should have sex;" we feel better if we have sex than if we don't, so in an instinctual sense, sex is selfish, whether it's for procreation or not.
    True and even masturbation is sex. It's a form of sexual release that can be quite powerful depending on how aroused you are and how much sexual tension is built up, of course. Another person is therotically the best, but they also have to know what they're doing. In modern society that can be hard to find. Entertainment and ease have spoiled us. Sometimes even if you're attracted to another, the technique is off. The libido and energy seems to be more potent, and its like nobody really ever has sex with the other. It's just technically an erotic release, from the pressure built up in my day.

    So it's not really narcissistic or selfish I guess it's just 'is what it is.' God I hate that phrase. But I don't know where else to put it. You work hard, you let the natural eroticism and sexuality flow through you in the day. You then suddenly get horny. You want to fuck. You could get another person yeah. Or you could do it yourself. Either way, sex is nothing more than a sweet release. It's a letting go, and that's what it feels good. But if you haven't lived enough to let go of much, it's not going to really feel as good. Sex is also tied into pain. Life is pain. But that's what makes you know it's real. Anti-depressants take away the pain. But they also tend to have sexual side-effects, taking away the sex. Risk the pain. And enjoy the sex. You can't have it any other way. We can't live in a safe bubble and enjoy really good sex too.

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    Your reasoning is exquisite
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    You are complimenting me so I will in turn compliment you. Because you are selfish.

    But that's okay. *hugs*

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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    You are complimenting me so I will in turn compliment you. Because you are selfish.

    But that's okay. *hugs*
    Now, in all seriousness, this is the oversimplification that gets people into murky, nihilistic, disproportionately jaded waters with this kind of thinking. I mean, sure, that might be my motivation, but maybe I also just did it because I felt like it, because it's part of my natural "pack instinct" to want to support people, so that they will support me in the long run, or maybe because I feel some kind of kinship with you and want to be closer, so I display amiability. I know you were being facetious, but that really IS a good example of the kind of oversimplified thinking attributed to this mindset that makes people get paranoid or depressed and miss the forest for the trees.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    survival is inherently selfish, but there is a difference between being a symbiotic parasite and a leech. The first is actually more in your self interest; it is not in a parasites interest to kill their host. And most morals we hold onto I find can be justified in this way
    INTp

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    Quote Originally Posted by crazedratXII View Post
    survival is inherently selfish, but there is a difference between being a symbiotic parasite and a leech. The first is actually more in your self interest; it is not in a parasites interest to kill their host. And most morals we hold onto I find can be justified in this way
    Agreed.
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    Aww a kinship. Like we're puppies from the same litter? *Bromance snuggle, takes a long weekend man-nap with you and promises not to tell anyone to keep your macho image.*

    =D

    Nick, I like what you wrote. I've been called a leech before. But I'm really just a parasite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Isha View Post
    Genes are selfish, not people (though there are definitely some selfish people out there).

    People just do what they're programmed to do. Some of it is selfish and some of it is altruistic. Most of it is neither.
    I think thats getting into alot of semantics; what is "selfish"? What is "altruistic". It all depends on how you define these terms.

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    ESTj Tom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    No. This just isn't true. I've done stuff for other people before where I got NOTHING at all from it, just to help them-, cause I actually have the ability to be altruistic and selfless; just like you do. I don't do this often. I am a mixture of selfless and selfish traits, just like everybody else.

    I got nothing out of it. I mean nothing. I didn't even feel good 'helping them' I did it to be selfless. It just sort of happened without any thought process of my own. *shrug* It wasn't painful or hard, but it didn't give me satisfaction either. I didn't do it for some moral code or anything like that, it just kind of happened.

    How about this: 'Generally speaking, people are selfish. And that's okay. But when they aren't, it isn't a big deal either.'
    You've done something. You wanted to do it. No matter the reasoning, if it gets done, you have gained. Benefit isn't only things, etc., though in this case it actually is. You see a thing (someone else). You want that thing to be augmented/changed in some way. Augmentation/change happens. You have just gained. So what I'm getting here (and I'm trying to reason, not sound like a dick, so sorry in advance) is: "I don't understand that someone else's benefit is my benefit, if that's what I value". Sure, you can have motives entirely not physically beneficial to your person, but if what you value is another person's happiness, and make that person happy, you've just gotten what you value. You gain.
    Wond'ring aloud, How we feel today. Last night sipped the sunset, My hand in her hair. We are our own saviours, As we start both our hearts, Beating life Into each other. ~Ian Anderson

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    Right. Well, I think it's clear to anyone who isn't brain-dead that all actions inevitably tie back to the self, due to... the nature of space, and objects and subjectivity. Now, if one can move past this baffling ontological conundrum, they can begin to gain a more subtle glimpse into what constitutes selfishness/altruism on a psychological level -- as it is, motivations and meaning are what constitute these things, and not the [relative] position in space they may come from, or whereupon they stem back to, given their subjective ties.
    4w3-5w6-8w7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom View Post
    So we must make a definition for "selfishness" which appeases our own feelings and connotations. In general, I think the connotation which is added is that the self is, in aim, the sole benefactor. If this is applied to the definition (which it is, usually), then people can be unselfish, and are on a regular basis, as are they selfish.

    What I tried to get across in my earlier post, however, is that no matter what someone does, it is entirely for their own gain. But if we apply the particular connotation of "sole benefactor in aim" to the definition, then this still does not change, but the word "selfish" does.
    Exactly lulz
    Wond'ring aloud, How we feel today. Last night sipped the sunset, My hand in her hair. We are our own saviours, As we start both our hearts, Beating life Into each other. ~Ian Anderson

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    mutual parasites on a psychological level. That's basically duality for you. There is no reason you should be separating altruism and selfishness into different categories.
    INTp

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    You've done something. You wanted to do it. No matter the reasoning, if it gets done, you have gained.
    No, Tom. Are you even listening? Slow down, listen. I didn't want to do it. I didn't not want to do it either, but I didn't WANT to do it. Not everything we do is because we want to. Sometimes people are just that selfless. Are you telling me that everything you did is because you wanted to? Whatever, although we wish we were that free- in society with all these rules and regulations that is not possible.

    Either way, nothing as big as 'selfishness' and 'alturism' can exist in a vacuum, and if you try- you'd only create a neurosis in yourself and ultimately go nowhere. Your lack of Ti-valuing is showing, even if I do realize you're not trying to be an ass.

    Of course I got something. I get something every day. You get something no matter what you do, even if you try to do nothing and just exist. Dirt still grows under your fingernails.

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    Perhaps I misunderstand you; what precisely do you mean by "selfless"?
    Wond'ring aloud, How we feel today. Last night sipped the sunset, My hand in her hair. We are our own saviours, As we start both our hearts, Beating life Into each other. ~Ian Anderson

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mimosa Pudica View Post
    I don't agree.


    Not true. At times people help people out despite the fact that they will NOT feel it's worth it.


    I can think of other reasons.


    I see what you say, but this is not true for all people, only because it's true for some.
    Quote Originally Posted by BulletsAndDoves View Post
    No, Tom. Are you even listening? Slow down, listen. I didn't want to do it. I didn't not want to do it either, but I didn't WANT to do it. Not everything we do is because we want to. Sometimes people are just that selfless. Are you telling me that everything you did is because you wanted to? Whatever, although we wish we were that free- in society with all these rules and regulations that is not possible.

    Either way, nothing as big as 'selfishness' and 'alturism' can exist in a vacuum, and if you try- you'd only create a neurosis in yourself and ultimately go nowhere. Your lack of Ti-valuing is showing, even if I do realize you're not trying to be an ass.

    Of course I got something. I get something every day. You get something no matter what you do, even if you try to do nothing and just exist. Dirt still grows under your fingernails.


    Yeah I agree with Mimosa and Bullets on this one, even though it's not the initial question.

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