Everything we do is for our own benefit
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16-03-2014, 04:03 PM
Everything we do is for our own benefit
I found this idea on a random website last year, and I actually found myself agreeing with it. Let me explain.

We all strive to be happy. We play a game, we are happy. We have money, we are happy. We eat chocolate, we are happy. Whatever it is that you enjoy, you will do. But even if you are doing work, for the benefit of someone else, you are still only serving yourself.

Say you are walking down the street, and you give money to a homeless person. You are a good person right? You care for others? Well, not really. After you gave away that money, now you feel happy inside. You feel great because you helped someone. Although it seems like you are caring, the reality is you are serving yourself because you are making yourself happy by doing so.

Another example. A friend asks for a massive favour from you. You really really don't want to do it, but yet you do it anyway because you are their friend. You may not have enjoyed doing it, you may have helped your friend, but in fact the only reason you did it is because it made you feel happy by helping hour friend.

I know this probably sounds confusing, and I am writing this as I think of it. However, this argument really got my thinking about why I care for other people and do things for them. Try to think about how you really feel when you are do something for someone else.
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16-03-2014, 04:28 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
If that were true, there would be no cases of people sacrificing themselves so that others will live.

However, I always think about that and point it out to Christians. "Be good so that you can get Paradise". Well, there's benefit there, so you're not exactly a "good" person.

Many verses are like silver threads
tied on the chimes of the stars-
if you pull them,
a silver peal makes the horizon vibrate.
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16-03-2014, 04:32 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
It's called enlightened self interest. Doing good for others also cultivates an atmosphere where others are more likely to be helpful to you and others. Creating a cycle of positive reciprocity is in everyone's best interest.

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16-03-2014, 04:42 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 04:03 PM)Magoo Wrote:  I found this idea on a random website last year, and I actually found myself agreeing with it. Let me explain.

We all strive to be happy. We play a game, we are happy. We have money, we are happy. We eat chocolate, we are happy. Whatever it is that you enjoy, you will do. But even if you are doing work, for the benefit of someone else, you are still only serving yourself.

Say you are walking down the street, and you give money to a homeless person. You are a good person right? You care for others? Well, not really. After you gave away that money, now you feel happy inside. You feel great because you helped someone. Although it seems like you are caring, the reality is you are serving yourself because you are making yourself happy by doing so.

Another example. A friend asks for a massive favour from you. You really really don't want to do it, but yet you do it anyway because you are their friend. You may not have enjoyed doing it, you may have helped your friend, but in fact the only reason you did it is because it made you feel happy by helping hour friend.

I know this probably sounds confusing, and I am writing this as I think of it. However, this argument really got my thinking about why I care for other people and do things for them. Try to think about how you really feel when you are do something for someone else.

This might be interest to you.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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16-03-2014, 04:51 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 04:28 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  If that were true, there would be no cases of people sacrificing themselves so that others will live.

The same argument as above could be made for this scenario as well. If a man sacrificed himself for others, he didn't do it for others, he did it because he wanted to see others benefit from his actions. Others benefitting is simply luck that what he wanted was also benefitting them.
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16-03-2014, 04:53 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 04:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(16-03-2014 04:03 PM)Magoo Wrote:  I found this idea on a random website last year, and I actually found myself agreeing with it. Let me explain.

We all strive to be happy. We play a game, we are happy. We have money, we are happy. We eat chocolate, we are happy. Whatever it is that you enjoy, you will do. But even if you are doing work, for the benefit of someone else, you are still only serving yourself.

Say you are walking down the street, and you give money to a homeless person. You are a good person right? You care for others? Well, not really. After you gave away that money, now you feel happy inside. You feel great because you helped someone. Although it seems like you are caring, the reality is you are serving yourself because you are making yourself happy by doing so.

Another example. A friend asks for a massive favour from you. You really really don't want to do it, but yet you do it anyway because you are their friend. You may not have enjoyed doing it, you may have helped your friend, but in fact the only reason you did it is because it made you feel happy by helping hour friend.

I know this probably sounds confusing, and I am writing this as I think of it. However, this argument really got my thinking about why I care for other people and do things for them. Try to think about how you really feel when you are do something for someone else.

This might be interest to you.

This is exactly it, thanks! Smile If only I could have written it like that.
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16-03-2014, 04:55 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 04:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  This might be interest to you.

Very interesting. Empathy has been vital for our survival as a species so it makes sense.

(16-03-2014 04:51 PM)Magoo Wrote:  
(16-03-2014 04:28 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  If that were true, there would be no cases of people sacrificing themselves so that others will live.

The same argument as above could be made for this scenario as well. If a man sacrificed himself for others, he didn't do it for others, he did it because he wanted to see others benefit from his actions. Others benefitting is simply luck that what he wanted was also benefitting them.

How could he gain any satisfaction if he dies? Our instinct for survival is probably the strongest one. When you die, you give up everything you may want in the world. How can that be out of self-interest? There is nothing to gain, simply because you're not there to enjoy it.

Many verses are like silver threads
tied on the chimes of the stars-
if you pull them,
a silver peal makes the horizon vibrate.
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16-03-2014, 05:01 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 04:55 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  
(16-03-2014 04:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  This might be interest to you.

Very interesting. Empathy has been vital for our survival as a species so it makes sense.

(16-03-2014 04:51 PM)Magoo Wrote:  The same argument as above could be made for this scenario as well. If a man sacrificed himself for others, he didn't do it for others, he did it because he wanted to see others benefit from his actions. Others benefitting is simply luck that what he wanted was also benefitting them.

How could he gain any satisfaction if he dies? Our instinct for survival is probably the strongest one. When you die, you give up everything you may want in the world. How can that be out of self-interest? There is nothing to gain, simply because you're not there to enjoy it.

The same reason why people care so much about their legacy, and what people say about them when they die. You will have no thoughts when you die, so why would you care? People care because they are alive when they make that choice. When the man kills himself, even though in the future he won't have any satisfaction, at that precise moment he does. Therefore he is doing what is in his self-interest, at that time.
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16-03-2014, 05:05 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 05:01 PM)Magoo Wrote:  The same reason why people care so much about their legacy, and what people say about them when they die. You will have no thoughts when you die, so why would you care? People care because they are alive when they make that choice. When the man kills himself, even though in the future he won't have any satisfaction, at that precise moment he does. Therefore he is doing what is in his self-interest, at that time.

And one would think that survival is our primary interest Tongue

Many verses are like silver threads
tied on the chimes of the stars-
if you pull them,
a silver peal makes the horizon vibrate.
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16-03-2014, 05:09 PM
RE: Everything we do is for our own benefit
(16-03-2014 05:01 PM)Magoo Wrote:  
(16-03-2014 04:55 PM)undergroundp Wrote:  Very interesting. Empathy has been vital for our survival as a species so it makes sense.


How could he gain any satisfaction if he dies? Our instinct for survival is probably the strongest one. When you die, you give up everything you may want in the world. How can that be out of self-interest? There is nothing to gain, simply because you're not there to enjoy it.

The same reason why people care so much about their legacy, and what people say about them when they die. You will have no thoughts when you die, so why would you care? People care because they are alive when they make that choice. When the man kills himself, even though in the future he won't have any satisfaction, at that precise moment he does. Therefore he is doing what is in his self-interest, at that time.
Do you really think that people who make the ultimate sacrifice are worried about what people might think after they are dead?

“The first duty of a man is to think for himself” ― José Martí
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