Sunday, November 05, 2006

People are selfish. Everything we do ends up being for ourselves even if we think we do it for others. I'll explain more in a comment if someone writes back.

If nothing changed there would be no butterflies

It's the last things that stay in your mind, the last thing you hear, you see, you feel, before you sail off back to where you came from.
If nothing changed there would be no second view

The deepest things come on the thinnest sheets of paper

One of the most annoying things is something that could be changed if not for skipping heartbeats and adrenaline si
zzling up my brain.

What's beyond the concrete walls of reality?
What's beyond the skies of conception?


*Miriam* said...

Every color has a whole scheme of ideas
Every shape has a whole world of philosophy
Every corner is a bridge
Every teardrop is a road
Every step has a million side-steps
Every side-step has a million levels
Every level has a milliom colors
Every color has a whole scheme of ideas
Every shape is a philosophy
Every angle is the light
Every glance is how you move
Every move is what you learn
What you learn is where you'll go
Every way has a million roads
Every road is a teardrop
Every teardrop is a color.

*Miriam* said...

That was totally ans completely a string of random words that came to mind. No thought put into it. That way, it either means nothing at all, or evrything.
It's not true that every road is a teardrop. Every road has either a shortcut or the long way though a forest, in the rain. Or just the normal way, on a paved road. OR you can just sit at home and type non-stop on a blog...
Sad, huh?

Gabi said...

not sad..thats life, what you choose to do with it is what makes it so special. actually i really do think that everyone is selfish, but its not always a bad thing, its just normal. everything you do has something you get from it, even if what you do was pure giving you would be recieving the pleasure of giving. When u have a friend, you give and you take but there is an element of slefishness in everything you do. If there was no selfishness in the world we wouldnt make any progress and we would stay stuck in the same place...mayb people do have to b less selfish though...!!!

Joi said...

ur right. we are selfish. even the good deeds we do to strangers boost or own egos and make us be happy. smarter people than me have said that the person who benefits most from giving is the giver himself.
what can we do?
maybe we should try to be a little MORE selfish. do things that truely make us happy, instead of settling for cheap replacments like money and fame. maybe we hsold be spoiled little brats- demanding REAL happiness, REAL excitment. noone of the fake stuff we keep seeing...

i dunno. maybe being 100% truely slefish will save us.

Gabi said...

Or mayb if we would all be 100% selfish it would kill everyone and destroy the world (i know i'm being extreme) if there was too much giving you wouldnt have anything left for yourself and if all you did all day was recieve then....well you would be very fortunate but yet very sad..there has to be some kind of blance between selfishness and unselfishness, you cant have any total extreme!

*Miriam* said...

As it is now, I think we are already 100% selfish. There's nothing we do that doesn't benefit us in the end.

Joi said...

Gabi, i think u misunderstood. think about it- if we were selfish- we wouldnt settle for situations that make us unhappy- like always receiving. we arn't truly selfish. we dont take advantage of everything. we settle.
there really isnt much unselfishness. thats how we work. i say we take what we have- awful human selfishness, and make it real. start doing things that make u happy- not in the short run- drugs, e.g., but stay healthy.

the problem is that you dont fully understand selfishness...

Leenie ;-) said...

I agree with the 1st thing Gabi said-- except that the word "selfish" has a bad connotation, so I don't like 2 use it if it's a good thing.. but i'll use it anyway.. ;-)... The truth is that u get when u give, and u usually want 2 get (Mim wrote "There's nothing we do that doesn't benefit us in the end" and ur right-- although some things u give and recieve a lot in return, and some things u really only recieve a little). I dont think it's a bad thing-- when Eminem writes "sometimes I feel like the world's on my shoulder"-- is it really? of course not, I mean-- Im part of the world, right? and I'm not depending on him at all! No one carries the world on their shoulder, but we all do carry ourselves, and to ourselves we are the world. Maybe it's selfish, but it's ok. And we have 2 carry ourselves.
Joi, if every1 was MORE selfish things may work out ok. That is, if "selfish" is wanting the joy of giving. But "u can never take more than u give" (Circle of Life/Tim Rice & Elton John). Even if selfish is TAKING ur right, tho-- if every1 took the max they could then the world would develope at the speed of light, it would be amazing, but for that everyone would have 2 be equal in ego and confidence and the fact is we're not.
U also mentioned "settling for situations that make us unhappy", but that has an element of selfishness too, because by settling ur giving, and 2 a certain extent ur getting the satisfaction u get from giving. I think it all works out in the end.
I guess it just means that every1 should be equal in what they expect from others-- equal in selfishness, and in what we give.
My comment should make sense, I like it. Please tell me if it doesn't. (It's 1:00am)

*Miriam* said...

Alina, you say that sometimes you give and only receive a little in return. But I think that even that little is what satisfies us enough to make it worth is for us to give. Even if you're saying receiving in turns of actual things, like money or fame, if you give money to a poor person, even if you don't get any people to notice that you're doing it and think you're generous, you still give the money to the person becasue you believe it will make YOU better. Truthfully, the only reason you care if that person is poor is becasue if he has to be homeless and suffer out there in the cold, it will make YOU sad. So you do it for yourself, you give him money to make YOURSELF happy. You always receive, or else you wouldn't do it.
And "selfish" isn't only the joy of giving, it's the joy in anything. It's that you always want every joy in the world to be yours. Not just giving. If it would be possible to be happy withOUT giving, people would settle for that. We all do what makes us happy, and in a way the terms of what makes us happy has a lot to do with the society and the culture - besides for the fact that you don't want to be sad thinking about that homeless person, it makes us happy becasue we know giving charity is the "right" thing to do.
A lot of being selfish is a natural feeing of satisfaction, but another part is also the feeling of knowing we're doing something "right", and "contributing" to the world and it makes us feel happy and satisfied.

Basically, I guess you're right that to us we're the whole world so we always want our world to be fully happy, but also becasue it is in our nature to not want to be sad. If you can ever ever do something for someone else that does not help you in any way, I don't think you would be human.
Some of the things I said here are also things that Gabi said. I agree with some things you said Gabi, but I also don't agree that there has to be a balance. We are right now 100% selfish, we don't have a balance.

Avital said...

Miriam, in response to your last post:
If you give a poor person money because it would make YOU sad if he doesnt have a roof over his head and food to eat, doesnt that mean that you care about him and not yourself? Yes it makes you sad- because you pity HIM. I'm not saying that in part you want the satisfaction. Of course there is satisfaction in knowing that you did the right thing. But I am saying that I don't think we always give charity for the satisfaction- many times we do the right thing out of pity or kindness for others, and that satisfactory feeling comes afterwards, and is only secondary. Dunno, maybe I'm blabbing, but thats what I think.

Gabi said...

ok so now i have a stronger opinion about something, mayb if every1 was 100% selfish then it wouldnt b called being selfish, and then ppl will strive for something diffrent....and then it al sorta just goes in a circle like that...100% selfish wouldnt b selfish it would just b normal...ah wtvr...if you get what i say then great if you dont...o well

Ben said...

In any interaction, if all end up worse in the end than they started it's obviously bad; if one gains and one loses it raises a judgment issue of comparing costs and benefits; but if all end up better, then it's obviously a good interaction. Most people can judge when such a net positive effect happens to themselves, so it's a matter of extrapolating that to figure out what creates positive effects in general. And net positive effects in human interactions create a better world overall.
With that premise, then, the issue of selfishness is irrelevant. Selfishness (as traditionally defined) is about the intent: do you do something for the benefit of yourself or the benefit of someone else? That's the wrong question to ask. The question should simply be, what is the net effect of your action? If your intent is for you or for others, if the net effect is good, then the action is good. If the effect is bad, all the good intent in the world is meaningless.
People blast capitalism because it's "selfish," because people just want profits for themselves. But if capitalism generates overall net positive effects, and it certainly does, then the complaint of intent is counter-productive. It is only when capitalism or anything else goes too far in its selfishness, to the point that the net effect is negative, that there becomes a legitimate ethical complaint of selfishness. Otherwise, most people who go around condemning others for being selfish are actually condemning actions that do a lot of good in the world.

That said, Ayn Rand tried to redefine the concept of selfishness as a great virtue, with the creed: "I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

*Miriam* said...

When you talk about positive or negative effects, what do you mean? You mean gaining something like money, no? Well, I think that the intent does matter. Because if we can't get past our selfishness, it'll make us in general worse people and part of a "potive effect" is good human relations. Depends what you consider Progress. If you're talking about gaining stuff without havign any matter of how people act to each other than we could all just live inside a bubble with all the money we need in it with us.
Well, I guess from the Ayn Rand quote you believe people should live for themselves. So then when you say a positive effect, maybe you mean like that we ourselves become happier because that's the only thing that's important.
But then, talking about selfishness, and I said that people would give charity becasue it'll make them sad if the person is homeless, according to you it should not make us sad at all! We should not care what happens to him, and then I guess by giving that person charity we're LESS selfish then if we really did care about him.

*Miriam* said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
*Miriam* said...

So that contradicts about everything in Judaism. But what the hell. I think if we don't care about a poor person and give him charity we're less selfish than if we DO care about him. And of course Judaism doesn't want us to be selfish, so why do they tell us to care about the poor person?
It's a paradox. I knew it. lol

Ben said...

"When you talk about positive or negative effects, what do you mean? You mean gaining something like money, no?"

The simplest way to judge whether the effect of an interaction is positive or not is to ask the person involved: are you better off now than before? Gains and progress are all subjective concepts, so only the answer of the person involved matters. If everyone in an interaction thinks it benefitted them in some way (whether it's money, or love, or happiness, or whatever else they want), then it's good.
If you go to the pizza shop, you want pizza because you're selfishly hungry. The pizza shop sells you pizza because it selfishly wants to make a profit. You enjoy a good meal and the shop owner gets a little richer. Completely selfish, completely good. Now if the pizza shop gives out pizza for free, it might be good too, for a little while, until the shop goes broke. Selflessness is only good as long as the benefit (the happiness of the owner from giving it away) outweighs the cost (him going broke).
So I go back to what I said earlier: the intent is not as important as the outcome, and "selfish" intents (by all involved parties) generally produce the best outcome.