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Are human beings inherently selfish?
#1

Are human beings inherently selfish?
I don't have an opinion on this yet personally but would like to read your thoughts.
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#2

Are human beings inherently selfish?
Good question. Here is my thought on the subject.

Yes, human are inherently selfish. But the good news is that it only takes up a part of our time. After that, we are free to behave in other ways.
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#3

Are human beings inherently selfish?
1. Instinct of self preservation
2. instinct of preservation of the species

Some of us have more of one, some more of the other, like all other traits.
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#4

Are human beings inherently selfish?
I'd say yes we are, we kind of have to be because we live in a world that will use you as much as it can.

But part of being selfish as a social species does actually require that you help others in order to help yourself.

But then if you have kids you don't have the luxury of being selfish any more.
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#5

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-18-2019, 05:18 PM)Unsapien Wrote: But then if you have kids you don't have the luxury of being are now selfish any more on their behalf.

  Fixt Tongue
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#6

Are human beings inherently selfish?
I don't have to tell you because only I need to know.
Being told you're delusional does not necessarily mean you're mental. 
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#7

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-18-2019, 05:37 PM)TheGulegon Wrote:
(08-18-2019, 05:18 PM)Unsapien Wrote: But then if you have kids you don't have the luxury of being are now selfish any more on their behalf.

  Fixt Tongue

Yep, and possibly even more selfish, because you love them and don't want to lose them...
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#8

Are human beings inherently selfish?
My mother is.  Aggravated


Carry on.
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#9

Are human beings inherently selfish?
It's about just two things:

Pleasure and Pain.

Personally I have concluded that there is not one living thing that exists that is capable of performing an unselfish act. Every last thing we do is selfish, no matter what reason we do it for.  

I will try to explain ...

Often we hear stories of people who have appeared to have performed an unselfish act. For example, some of you may have heard a story such as how a soldier throws himself on top of a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers, dying in the process. And on the surface it would appear that what he did was sacrifice his own life to save the others, and that is true. He did do that. 

But was it a selfless act?

We need to look at what motivated him to do that. Let's, for example, say that he was motivated by the emotion of fear. He was fearful for the lives of his fellow soldiers. So what does fear do? Is it a pleasurable feeling? Or is it a painful feeling?

When you really think about it, every last thing we do revolves around just two things.

1. Pleasure.
2. Pain.

And those two things emanate from the one thing we all do every day: 

Preserve Our Selves. 

So lets go back to the soldier who sacrificed his life to save the others. If, as we suspect, he was motivated by fear, then to alleviate the pain of his fear (a selfish act) he sacrificed his life. Therefore, there was indeed a reason why that soldier sacrificed his life. He was afraid for the lives of the others. That fear drove him to his death.

Our emotions are always on a balance beam between pleasure and pain. Love can be both pleasurable and painful. Hatred can bring both euphoria and despair. Every emotion has both a negative and a positive.

Once you find the motivating factor behind all of our actions, you will see they are all selfish. We are always striving to either increase our pleasure, or decrease our pain. Once you think about it, you may agree that is all we are always trying to do.

We will even kill ourselves to save ourselves from experiencing the pain of other people dying, and we also kill ourselves to save ourselves from experiencing the pain within ourselves, and we call that suicide.

So is selfishness something negative? No, it is not. It's an absolute requirement to exist, for without it we could not exist. It can only be negative when we employ it to bring harm to others.

And that's life.

But that's just my opinion on this.

Hmm
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#10

Are human beings inherently selfish?
Evolution built in self-preservation.
It also built in preservation of one's group.
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#11

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-18-2019, 08:26 PM)Free Wrote: ...Often we hear stories of people who have appeared to have performed an unselfish act. For example, some of you may have heard a story such as how a soldier throws himself on top of a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers, dying in the process. And on the surface it would appear that what he did was sacrifice his own life to save the others, and that is true. He did do that. 

But was it a selfless act?

You're actually confusing "selfless" with "unselfish", each of which has a subtly different meaning to the other.

If I take the last chocolate in the box, I may be considered selfish.  If I pass it on to you, I'm being selfless.

Your lengthy comment tends to overcomplicate a relatively simple question.
I'm a creationist;   I believe that man created God.
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#12

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-18-2019, 10:19 PM)SYZ Wrote:
(08-18-2019, 08:26 PM)Free Wrote: ...Often we hear stories of people who have appeared to have performed an unselfish act. For example, some of you may have heard a story such as how a soldier throws himself on top of a grenade to protect his fellow soldiers, dying in the process. And on the surface it would appear that what he did was sacrifice his own life to save the others, and that is true. He did do that. 

But was it a selfless act?

You're actually confusing "selfless" with "unselfish", each of which has a subtly different meaning to the other.

If I take the last chocolate in the box, I may be considered selfish.  If I pass it on to you, I'm being selfless.

Your lengthy comment tends to overcomplicate a relatively simple question.

To me they are synonymous, and both definitions and thesaurus' agree.

There's nothing complicated about my response.

Are you sure it's not me you're taking a swipe at as opposed to what i said?

Consider
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#13

Are human beings inherently selfish?
If you expand the "self"' concept to encompass tribe, then generally, yes.  

The scope of" tribe" varies wildly from person to person.
god, ugh
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#14

Are human beings inherently selfish?
Are human beings 'selfish'. Perhaps a little simplistic. I think it's also a matter of degree.I agree that human beings are driven by self interest ,and tend to be hedonistic.

Is selfish the same narcissistic self absorption?.

My own position is that of egoism, as opposed to egotism**. This is not a simple idea

I accept that human beings are self interested and that the most powerful drive is preservation of the species, which begins with self preservation, and extends to protecting family, or even 'the group'.

OF COURSE there seem to be altruistic acts, many, daily. As far as I'm aware I've ever met nor read about a completely altruistic person.

"Egoism and egotism are quite different. For example, egotists often talk about themselves a lot, not listening to others—which makes people dislike them. In contrast, egoists might act very humbly, and pay attention to others—because it’s in their best interests to make people like them and want to treat them well. Egotism is a character trait; egoism is a philosophy."

https://philosophyterms.com/egoism/

Different forms of egoism:

"Personal ethical egoism
me only everyone else irrelevant
individual ethical egoism
everyone out to act in my self-interest
universal ethical egoism
everybody out to act in his or her own self-interest

Hedonistic egoism
short term pleasure
rational egoism
I ought to act in a way that promotes long term self-interest"

https://quizlet.com/1572859/types-of-ego...ash-cards/


Imo, the arguments of egoism are worth more than a casual glance and simplistic explanations. There's heaps online.


** My Reference ; Milo Egoism and Altruism
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#15

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-18-2019, 08:26 PM)Free Wrote: Personally I have concluded that there is not one living thing that exists that is capable of performing an unselfish act. Every last thing we do is selfish, no matter what reason we do it for.  

I agree with this.

(08-18-2019, 08:44 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Evolution built in self-preservation.
It also built in preservation of one's group.

My bolding, are you saying that is an un-selfish act? It very much is a selfish act since preservation of one’s group is a great benefit to the individual.
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#16

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-19-2019, 02:33 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:
(08-18-2019, 08:26 PM)Free Wrote: Personally I have concluded that there is not one living thing that exists that is capable of performing an unselfish act. Every last thing we do is selfish, no matter what reason we do it for.  

I agree with this.

(08-18-2019, 08:44 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Evolution built in self-preservation.
It also built in preservation of one's group.

My bolding, are you saying that is an un-selfish act? It very much is a selfish act since preservation of one’s group is a great benefit to the individual.

It's neither selfish or unselfish. Acts which help preserve the group are what we evolved to do. 
"Selfish" is a concept that does not apply.
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#17

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-19-2019, 02:55 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 02:33 AM)Smercury44 Wrote:
(08-18-2019, 08:26 PM)Free Wrote: Personally I have concluded that there is not one living thing that exists that is capable of performing an unselfish act. Every last thing we do is selfish, no matter what reason we do it for.  

I agree with this.

(08-18-2019, 08:44 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Evolution built in self-preservation.
It also built in preservation of one's group.

My bolding, are you saying that is an un-selfish act? It very much is a selfish act since preservation of one’s group is a great benefit to the individual.

It's neither selfish or unselfish. Acts which help preserve the group are what we evolved to do. 
"Selfish" is a concept that does not apply.

I think I get the gist of what you are trying to say. You are basically saying, 

"Give me a better word than 'selfish.'"

Involuntarily Compelled?

Although I don't think self preservation is the result of evolution, but rather the contrary. Evolution is the result of self preservation.
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#18

Are human beings inherently selfish?
Yes. Always.

I'm a psychological egoist:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_egoism

I'm also a rational egoist:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_egoism

I'm not an ethical egoist, though. I don't think there's anything ethical about putting yourself above—or below—others. The well-being of all sentient beings is equal provided the suffering is the same intensity.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#19

Are human beings inherently selfish?
It depends on what one means by selfish.

Humans are definitely self-interested, we wouldn't be here if we weren't. But the term selfish seems to have connotations that self-interested does not, and I'd need to know what I'm signing onto first. Like the thread on stubborness, there appear to be 'innocent' ways of conceiving these traits, and ways which invite stigma. It seems a tailor made situation for misunderstandings based upon equivocation between the various connotations.
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#20

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-19-2019, 01:01 PM)Dānu Wrote: It depends on what one means by selfish.

Humans are definitely self-interested, we wouldn't be here if we weren't.  But the term selfish seems to have connotations that self-interested does not, and I'd need to know what I'm signing onto first.  Like the thread on stubborness, there appear to be 'innocent' ways of conceiving these traits, and ways which invite stigma.  It seems a tailor-made situation for misunderstandings based upon equivocation between the various connotations.

Or the question could be deliberately vague to invite different definitions and responses.
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#21

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-19-2019, 01:01 PM)Dānu Wrote: It depends on what one means by selfish.

Humans are definitely self-interested, we wouldn't be here if we weren't.  But the term selfish seems to have connotations that self-interested does not, and I'd need to know what I'm signing onto first.  Like the thread on stubborness, there appear to be 'innocent' ways of conceiving these traits, and ways which invite stigma.  It seems a tailor made situation for misunderstandings based upon equivocation between the various connotations.

Well I brought up the question because I'm also interested in the claim "socialism doesn't work because humans are selfish" (i.e. greedy and on average not willing to distribute resources fairly) so I want to investigate whether that has any basis in fact.
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#22

Are human beings inherently selfish?
I'M NOT!  Angry

Fuck_Off_2
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#23

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-18-2019, 04:46 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote: I don't have an opinion on this yet personally but would like to read your thoughts.

Not taking care of yourself is anti-evolutionary. Evolution isn't particularly noble.
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#24

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-19-2019, 01:41 PM)GenesisNemesis Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 01:01 PM)Dānu Wrote: It depends on what one means by selfish.

Humans are definitely self-interested, we wouldn't be here if we weren't.  But the term selfish seems to have connotations that self-interested does not, and I'd need to know what I'm signing onto first.  Like the thread on stubborness, there appear to be 'innocent' ways of conceiving these traits, and ways which invite stigma.  It seems a tailor made situation for misunderstandings based upon equivocation between the various connotations.

Well I brought up the question because I'm also interested in the claim "socialism doesn't work because humans are selfish" (i.e. greedy and on average not willing to distribute resources fairly) so I want to investigate whether that has any basis in fact.

I think that you should look on welfare states citizens thoughts about taxes to gain better understanding of this phenomena. Also keep in mind that socialism is word with so much baggage that it is nearly useless - opponents will say that socialism does not work and that it is nightmare while pointing to USSR or Mao China (ignoring state capitalism interpretation of USSR at least), while proponents will find part of definition that wasn't fulfilled and claim that x wasn't socialism. 

Frankly it is better to leave socialism alone and look to history of welfare states - they did existed and they did work. What this say about selfishness can be subject of debate I guess, after all it wasn't spontaneous decision of people that created them. State was needed to enforce it, even if populace didn't protest for a time.

ETA: If you're interested in socialism then I recommend Andrzej Walicki Marxism and the Leap to the Kingdom of Freedom: The Rise and Fall of the Communist Utopia and Socialism The Active Utopia by Zygmunt Bauman. Both will give you useful info.

ETA 2: To see how complicated issue of socialism is consider Martin Malia quote from History Locomotives: [...]All of which indicates that socialism is much more than an economic project or the logical product of industrial development. Indeed, enough has already been said to indicate that socialism is a total project, aiming as it does at transcending present society completely and creating a whole new world and a new man. In other words, socialism is not something that exists or has existed in the real world; it is a utopia.[...]
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#25

Are human beings inherently selfish?
(08-19-2019, 03:22 AM)Free Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 02:55 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(08-19-2019, 02:33 AM)Smercury44 Wrote: I agree with this.


My bolding, are you saying that is an un-selfish act? It very much is a selfish act since preservation of one’s group is a great benefit to the individual.

It's neither selfish or unselfish. Acts which help preserve the group are what we evolved to do. 
"Selfish" is a concept that does not apply.

I think I get the gist of what you are trying to say. You are basically saying, 

"Give me a better word than 'selfish.'"

Involuntarily Compelled?

Although I don't think self preservation is the result of evolution, but rather the contrary. Evolution is the result of self preservation.

Those who were strong enough and possessed the traits needed to survive, ... lived and produced off-spring with similar traits. It's very much the result of evolution.
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