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  1. #21
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    May 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Haven View Post
    Here's a question you can ask yourself when making a decision to help someone out: "Am I being selfless, or am I catering to their selfishness?"
    I like this

    Some people will just take if they can.

    To answer the original question: I don't think "looking out for yourself" is "selfishness", at least in the normal sense. What you described doesn't strike me as being selfish at all. However, there's a huge difference between 'giving' out of the goodness of your heart (and really wishing they are happy), and simply 'giving in' because you don't know how to say no.

    4w5 sp/sx EII

  2. #22
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2009


    The legitimacy of self interest question.

    I think there's such a thing as legitimate self-interest yes, although I believe it has to be tempered otherwise it will be illegitimate and unmitigated selfishness. Those sorts of virtue and vice dichotomies are so common in human life and history that I think it is some vindication of ideas such as the Golden Mean, which hold that moderation is sovereign.

    The other thing about altruism is that most insightful theories about such dont deny the self and often proceed from there, for instance the Judeo-Christian idea of "love others as thyself", well, its obvious presumed that you "love thyself" in order to love others that way, it could be a curse, if you are loving others as you love thyself and in actuality you are full of self-loathing then you will be loathing others.
    All for ourselves, and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind.
    Chapter IV, p. 448. - Adam Smith, Book 3, The Wealth of Nations

    whether or not you credit psychoanalysis itself, the fact remains that we all must, to the greatest extent possible, understand one another's minds as our own; the very survival of humanity has always depended on it. - Open Culture

  3. #23
    Member Skip Foreplay's Avatar
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    Dec 2010


    Selfishness and altruism can both be taken too far, and in my opinion, in neither extreme would one find an ethical existence. Selfishness has been so important to the development of life on earth - it shouldn't be downplayed and it's important to know why it's there. A rational being can compensate for mere urges by determining what is just.

  4. #24
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2011


    I am of the opinion that no creature on earth with a conscious mind is completely unselfish. After all, who's going to take care of yourself other than yourself? It's easier to give to others and help when you yourself are whole.

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