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  1. #71
    Male johnnyyukon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    If I decide to pay you for every good thing you do for anyone - and I am all knowingly watching you from the NSA's spy equipment to know when you are - can you still act out of goodwill towards others? Would you ever get the opportunity?
    Ok I think I know what you're saying.

    The answer is, FUCK YEAH.

    So I've read that people begin to enjoy and invest more in their jobs once they reach a certain threshold of comfortable living income. That perhaps they liked what they did, but when they were not getting paid much or were broke, they had a lot of doubt, a little motivation.

    I know I've experienced this.

    Also, anyone that's ever volunteered for a good cause, and has felt like they've really helped people knows it's a good feeling.

    And can even turn into a "selfish" addiction, but I'd say it's one that's win win.
    I've had this ice cream bar, since I was a child!

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  2. #72
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    If I decide to pay you for every good thing you do for anyone - and I am all knowingly watching you from the NSA's spy equipment to know when you are - can you still act out of goodwill towards others? Would you ever get the opportunity?
    I feel like we're cutting smaller and smaller slices of the same pie.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  3. #73
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    You know, this shouldn't be a difficult riddle to solve: Are there any situations in which a religious person Believing in a god which rewards good actions for the benefits of others in the afterlife can act for the benefit of others without believing they would benefit themselves in their own afterlife in the process?
    Counter-question: Are there any situations in which a secular* person, believing in a system in which good actions lead to better treatment from others and better lives overall, can act for the benefit of others without believing they would benefit themselves in their future life success in the process?

    Everyone has some kind of code that they live by. Everyone operates out of self-interest. We're taught early on that being nice to people means they'll be nice back -- and that respecting others means they'll respect you. We're taught that you can live a more fulfilling life if you are a better person. How is that not self-interest?


    *defined in this case as a person who doesn't think about religion and/or the afterlife all that much in their everyday life decisions
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  4. #74
    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Counter-question: Are there any situations in which a secular* person, believing in a system in which good actions lead to better treatment from others and better lives overall, can act for the benefit of others without believing they would benefit themselves in their future life success in the process?

    Everyone has some kind of code that they live by. Everyone operates out of self-interest. We're taught early on that being nice to people means they'll be nice back -- and that respecting others means they'll respect you. We're taught that you can live a more fulfilling life if you are a better person. How is that not self-interest?


    *defined in this case as a person who doesn't think about religion and/or the afterlife all that much in their everyday life decisions
    I went through a heavy cynical phase, where I surprisingly learned that no matter how much I wanted to believe everyone was essentially self-interested, people do have a natural altruistic streak. I don't believe this is a learned behavior. We are herd animals, we instinctively help others... as long as we think they are in our herd. In a way this is self-interest, but it's rooted beyond our training, beyond our conscious, or even the shallow end of our sub-conscious thought processes.

  5. #75
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I went through a heavy cynical phase, where I surprisingly learned that no matter how much I wanted to believe everyone was essentially self-interested, people do have a natural altruistic streak. I don't believe this is a learned behavior. We are herd animals, we instinctively help others... as long as we think they are in our herd. In a way this is self-interest, but it's rooted beyond our training, beyond our conscious, or even the shallow end of our sub-conscious thought processes.
    I agree with this. It's an elegant way of putting it -- including self-interest, community-orientation, "othering" people who aren't a part of the community or would presumably do harm to the community, and the selectiveness of our altruism.
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


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  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlip View Post
    I went through a heavy cynical phase, where I surprisingly learned that no matter how much I wanted to believe everyone was essentially self-interested, people do have a natural altruistic streak. I don't believe this is a learned behavior. We are herd animals, we instinctively help others... as long as we think they are in our herd. In a way this is self-interest, but it's rooted beyond our training, beyond our conscious, or even the shallow end of our sub-conscious thought processes.
    Yes - In fact mathematical models (often used in evolutionary psychology) have repeatedly shown that "tribes" simulating ultruism fared better then tribes that did not - the later where statistically inclined to perish.





    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    I feel like we're cutting smaller and smaller slices of the same pie.

    My intention was a thought exercise in better understanding self-awareness, I failed to predict the ease at which my first example came across as religious bashing (In hindsight quite foolishly on my part ). The payment example helps focus the question closer to my original intent (Despite not really having a substantial real life equivalent).


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    My answer to this:


    1. Yes, you CAN still act out of goodwill, internally. It's all about your motivations.


    2a. No external viewer will be able to tell the difference between compliance and good will.
    2b. In addition, since you're being pressured to comply, you yourself might not be sure of your own motivations until you finally act in a vacuum, possessing a reasonable amount of freedom.
    So we're back in step 1: It is possible but inherently unknowable.

    The good sinner loophole: I love that! I did assume that the person's morality and the morality of the dogma they believe in correspond perfectly, when that isn't the case, goodwill becomes knowable. When doing the best for another is not what you believe to be the right thing to do.

  7. #77
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    The good sinner loophole: I love that! I did assume that the person's morality and the morality of the dogma they believe in correspond perfectly, when that isn't the case, goodwill becomes knowable. When doing the best for another is not what you believe to be the right thing to do.
    ...well, when "doing what the System / State / Doctrinal Scree says is the best" is not what you think is the best. This actually happens a lot, but the person acting in accordance to conscience will be labeled as a reprobate at the time by the dominant social system.

    ^^ I mean, hell, you could say Jesus himself fits in that category, ironically.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #78
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    @Jarlaxle is your conception of goodwill based only on intention?

    Edit: Actually, to be even more specific about your position can you tell me if you are presupposing a deontological ethic?

  9. #79
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Everyone has some kind of code that they live by. Everyone operates out of self-interest. We're taught early on that being nice to people means they'll be nice back -- and that respecting others means they'll respect you. We're taught that you can live a more fulfilling life if you are a better person. How is that not self-interest?
    In some sense, everyone always acts in their own self interest. Even when we are trying to think of others vs. ourselves, we do that because it is in keeping with our values. We thus act to support the values we promote. Even people like Mother Teresa did that.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  10. #80
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    The thought of an observer paying you for being altruistic reminds me of an article about how the illusion of being observed makes people act more morally. It seems like a religious belief often includes the idea of an unseen observer (deity, the soul of an ancestor, etc), which might (in a small way) lead to more moral behavior.

    Of course, the other way religion is pro-social is by making people more "groupish" and hence more likely to help in-group members.

    I suppose one can always argue the "feeling good about oneself" or "feeling moral" is kind of a reward for altruistic behavior... which puts even altruistic behavior in the realm of self-interest. Still, that altruism can (and often does) feel good indicates a human capacity for altruism.

    My other thought (triggered by Jennifer's earlier post) was about the difficulty of knowing our own motivations. Most of our decision making process is not available to consciousness, so our brains end up fabricating reasons for why we acted in a particular way. It really is difficult to know.

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