Is There a Truly Selfless Act? 13 replies

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11th SS Pz. Lt. Jat

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#1 11 years ago

Hello all, I would just like to put this little concept past you. Not counting breathing, pumping blood, and other automated functions, there isn't really an act you can commit without doing it for yourself. I'll give you some scenarios and let you ponder them. Tell me if and why you think they are selfless acts.

Sacrificing yourself to save the person you hate most.

Trying to make someone happy.

Eating.

Trying to make the world a better place.

If you can think of a truly selfless act (not counting automated actions like breathing, blinking, etc.) please post it so we can all debate it.




Tas

Serious business brigade

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4th September 2004

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#2 11 years ago

I don't think there is such a thing, not for the sane people anyway.




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#3 11 years ago

There are only a very, very few select selfless acts. The only one I can think of is one you posted in the OP. Sacrificing yourself to save someone you hate.




11th SS Pz. Lt. Jat

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#4 11 years ago
Afterburner;3663838There are only a very, very few select selfless acts. The only one I can think of is one you posted in the OP. Sacrificing yourself to save someone you hate.

Well, If I were to do this, it would be to show the person I hate that I am willing to set aside my hatred. In my OPINION, it is basically proving myself a better person.




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#5 11 years ago
11th SS Pz. Lt. Jat;3663847Well, If I were to do this, it would be to show the person I hate that I am willing to set aside my hatred. In my OPINION, it is basically proving myself a better person.

Depends why you did it. Did you do it because you wanted to show you were a better person or did you do it out of a natural instinct to help someone, something which I think all, or atleast most humans have.




11th SS Pz. Lt. Jat

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#6 11 years ago

The basic instinct to help someone in need is natural, but we do it because we fear the guilt or ridicule of not foing it.




elevatormusic

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#7 11 years ago

Opening a door for another person, or holding one open... doesn't put you out any, and it's such a small thing that if you're doing it deliberately for the gratitude, you're probably pathetic.

Eating I don't think would count, you're doing that for a very specific purpose which is in your own interest.

However being a vegetarian might, as that's a diet based around an animal's right to live, rather than a persons own desire.




11th SS Pz. Lt. Jat

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#8 11 years ago

elevatormusic;3663874Opening a door for another person, or holding one open... doesn't put you out any, and it's such a small thing that if you're doing it deliberately for the gratitude, you're probably pathetic.

Eating I don't think would count, you're doing that for a very specific purpose which is in your own interest.

However being a vegetarian might, as that's a diet based around an animal's right to live, rather than a persons own desire.

Yes, but opening the door for someone usually results with gratitude, and when it doesn't, we often consider the person who passed to be rude. As for eating, you get hungry, and don't like the pain from hunger, nor do you want to die, but I'll agree that eating is spliting hairs.




aeroSPACE_engineer

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#9 11 years ago

Sacrificing you life for someone you hate, is not specific enough, although admittedly the supposed benefit of such an action would have to be pretty huge and one your are convinced you will receive before I would consider it not selfless. But it would really depend on the circumstances. I would argue that an act is selfless if you stand to loose more than you stand to gain, and would include any satisfaction received from doing the right/selfless thing as part of the gain. That said true selfless acts I believe, can only be the result of love of one form or another. An extreme example would be sacrificing your life to save a complete stranger you know nothing about, and where no living soul will ever know what you have done. i.e. No personal gain. No recognition either. In fact, that last thing is probably what makes any 'selfless' act conclusively 'selfless'... not being recognised for it. As regards holding the door for someone, whether or not you receive grattitude, most people who are inclined to do that sort of thing, would feel some satisfaction at having been kind enough to do that. And that satisfaction could arguably be enough of a selfish motive to render the act not selfless. I would point out though that this satisfaction has it's limits, and many acts are costly enough that the saticfaction of doing the right thing is heavily outweighed by the personal cost




11th SS Pz. Lt. Jat

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#10 11 years ago
aeroSPACE_engineer;3663893Sacrificing you life for someone you hate, is not specific enough, although admittedly the supposed benefit of such an action would have to be pretty huge and one your are convinced you will receive before I would consider it not selfless. But it would really depend on the circumstances. I would argue that an act is selfless if you stand to loose more than you stand to gain, and would include any satisfaction received from doing the right/selfless thing as part of the gain. That said true selfless acts I believe, can only be the result of love of one form or another. An extreme example would be sacrificing your life to save a complete stranger you know nothing about, and where no living soul will ever know what you have done. i.e. No personal gain. No recognition either. In fact, that last thing is probably what makes any 'selfless' act conclusively 'selfless'... not being recognised for it.

This is an extremely good point, I do not have an argument for you :bawl:




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