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Is having children selfish?

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  • Permabear wrote: »
    This post had been deleted.

    When people start asking if something is selfish, I always get a little nervous about the implied moral stance embedded in it. It's like it assumes the morally superior position, in that if the answer is NO IT'S NOT SELFISH, is by default the defensive position.




  • ...anybody of average intelligence would understand. It was a remedial enough explanation I thought. Not so.

    Do keep up
    MOD: Please focus on making contributions to the thread topic, and avoid making very personal and condescending comments such as these.




  • Another topic I have covered a lot in my own thoughts and had the same conversations with friends on this too.
    It seems to come down to a situation of clear logical thinking versus moral or ethical values in these discussions.

    Heres how I see all this for what it's worth.

    Everything we do is inherently selfish. I recently wanted to start a thread on this, but decided not to, because the answer is so clear to me now.
    I would welcome all challenges to that idea, as I love to challenge my own ideas in general, to get a more clear view.
    It might partly tie into the idea for me as well, that everything is subjective. I started a thread in philosophy forums on objectivity and encourage people to join in there too, especially if they dissagree with those statements on subjectivity and we mayhave covered selfishness there too. I know I have covered this in one of those threads.

    So IF everything we do is for selfish reasons, then having children is selfish.
    The issue that arises in my view, is that society has been condition to believe or think that being selfish is a negative trait and a certain portion of shame is attributed to that idea of being selfish.

    Once you start to see things clearly and drop shame out of the equation, selfish acts (all acts) lose their ethical/morale importance/value and the decision comes down to what you want and/or the consequences of our actions for ourselves and others around us.

    It's ok to be selfish and have children.
    It's ok to be selfish and not have children.
    It's all ok.

    Life is just a thing that happened.
    Morales and ethics are the guidelines society created to structure their lives in order to create social rules to "get along" and not have to consider these things truly.
    I am very happy to have learned how to set aside morales and ethics as I think about things. It helps me to think more clearly and ask myself why i am doing things and get real answers, without those filters rippling my view of reality.
    It also helps me do the "right" thing and be a better person. Because I am always thinking about the effects of my actions, instead of the conditioned view that I did not come to by my own conclusions.
    My morales and ethics are my own and I would say they are much more noble than any I learned through societies general and current views or my religious upbringing.

    I have an urge to go on and talk about why I think every action we make is selfish...but i think it was covered very briefly and I tend to write way too much when I post anyway.
    So I will wait for that question to arise, if it does again.

    I might go now and play a morally questionable game, involving american soldiers shooting terrorists :)
    Am I wrong to do so!?
    Maybe it depends on the result of those actions. Which is why i don't care for morales and ethics somuch these days. I am fully responsible for my thoughts and actions.
    So too are those who decide to have children or not.
    Be they feeding the population or not. helping society thrive or not.
    We are allin it for this one experience. No shame is needed. Just consideration for actions and consequences.
    Psychopaths have an inability to for see consequences. Which might help people understand why I don't feel the need for those morales and ethics. Not that I am a psychopath :D
    The opposite. I clearly see the consequences and take the results seriously bwecuas eof that indepth sense of cause and effect in relation to my actions. I think that empowers me to make the right decisions and my ability now to see the propoganda in the game i mentioned also allows me to enjoy the parts I do appreciate and disregard the bullsh1t philosophy of the games theme.

    When you take the shame out, you see it for what it is. Maybe more "objectively". And it's all ok.
    A good general rule i once read went something like this.
    "Don't be a d1ck"




  • Making the distinction of having children being selfish could only be useful as a reply to some of the more common reasons people give for the importance having children in the first place.

    "It's an instinctive urge", "The survival of the human race depends on it".

    People don't have children as some kind of noble gesture for the greater good of humanity. We have more than enough people on the planet as it is. Also the "instinct" is more to have sex, not necessarily to have children. Even if it were an instinct to have children, humans are not slaves to instinct like other animals.

    Having children is a selfish decision, but not necessarily in a bad way. I think selfishness is only a bad thing if the result of your selfishness has a negative impact on yourself or others.

    There are many people that shouldn't have, or shouldn't have had children. Whether it is because they were not ready, view children as some kind of accessory, couldn't be bothered/ are not capable of taking care of them, etc.

    Looking at it from another standpoint, if you live in The West and are the kind of person who is very concerned about your carbon footprint & global warming, then having a child might be the worst possible thing you could do. From an Oregon State University study:
    Some people who are serious about wanting to reduce their “carbon footprint” on the Earth have one choice available to them that may yield a large long-term benefit – have one less child.

    A study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.

    A more pertinent question IMO relating to this issue rather than asking "Is having children selfish?", would be "How important to society is having children?".

    In my opinion, while having children is I'm sure a very joyful & significant moment in many families lives, it's importance to the rest world in this day and age is negligible at best. That's perfectly fine I think, as long as you are honest and don't pretend you are contributing to some greater good.


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  • To continue on selfishness at a foundational level.

    If we think about our evolution as a society through primitive cultures, to todays cultures, we can see that it is advantageous for a single entity to create alliances. Marriage, community, family etc. Those "organisms" survive.
    Maybe this is tying a little into Nietzsches Will to Power. That under current of drive that pushes living things forward to gain power(survival at the foundation or a catalyst for entropy at a very macro/universal level, IMO).
    Apologies, I have been smoking before typing this.... I may be talking rubbish :D

    This Will to Power or survival is an inherently selfish thing. To preserve the self and continue the course, whatever that course might be.

    And if we consider how having children has increased our chances of the survival of the group(through the evolution of humans), and therefore the survival of the individual, it is clear that having children to interact and ally with this group is beneficial, instinctual and also selfish or self preserving. I see it as an instinctual intelligence, the tried and tested "logic" in the evolutionary mechanic.
    It is debateable whether everyone should partake at this stage in our evolution or maybe de-evolution lol
    We have stepped off the course in some ways, I am still trying to figure that part out fully or if it is actually the case.




  • fr336 wrote: »
    Hoping I'll find some slightly more intelligent, well spirited people here who won't be on the attack from the off..

    Often the quality of a thread stems from the quality of the initial OP just as much as it does from the replies that follow. As such.... given your OP was not all that quality in the first place.... and you have simply pasted a link to it here..... your "hope" might not prove too fruitful.

    I think the main issue with your Thread Title and the original OP however is that "selfish" is a very floating term that means different things to different people.

    If you define any act that people do for their own reasons and desires therefore, you have already got your answer. Having children is selfish by definition.

    But what of people who do actions to fulfil their desire to care for others, help others, improve the world around them and more? Those people too would fall under the FIRST pedantic definition of "selfish" above too, but many would also label such people "selfless".

    So for any thread on this topic to be meaningful we need to use a definition of "selfish" that is not so dilute and general as to simply end the conversation before it begins. And since the question on whether having children is "selfish" is YOUR one..... perhaps you could at least clarify what meaning of "selfish" you are operating under.... and whether or not it is too dilute to be conducive to discourse at all.

    For me for example a "selfish" act is not just one one does for oneself, but does one at a cost to others or the greater negativity in the world that is not scaleable to the benefit to me. To me reaching out for the chocolate cookie is not "selfish" at all.... but reaching out for the LAST one when I know I have had at least one already and there are others in the house that have not yet had any.... would be more so.

    As such "selfish" is subjective and contextual.... which renders the question in your OP entirely meaningless. If "selfish" is contextual and subjective then clearly whether or not "having children is selfish" depends entirely on who is doing it and what their motivations and contexts were.




  • If my parents hadn't had children I wouldn't be here. I like being here.

    I hope to one day give that gift to someone else.




  • Often the quality of a thread stems from the quality of the initial OP just as much as it does from the replies that follow. As such.... given your OP was not all that quality in the first place.... and you have simply pasted a link to it here..... your "hope" might not prove too fruitful.

    I think the main issue with your Thread Title and the original OP however is that "selfish" is a very floating term that means different things to different people.

    If you define any act that people do for their own reasons and desires therefore, you have already got your answer. Having children is selfish by definition.

    But what of people who do actions to fulfil their desire to care for others, help others, improve the world around them and more? Those people too would fall under the FIRST pedantic definition of "selfish" above too, but many would also label such people "selfless".

    So for any thread on this topic to be meaningful we need to use a definition of "selfish" that is not so dilute and general as to simply end the conversation before it begins. And since the question on whether having children is "selfish" is YOUR one..... perhaps you could at least clarify what meaning of "selfish" you are operating under.... and whether or not it is too dilute to be conducive to discourse at all.

    For me for example a "selfish" act is not just one one does for oneself, but does one at a cost to others or the greater negativity in the world that is not scaleable to the benefit to me. To me reaching out for the chocolate cookie is not "selfish" at all.... but reaching out for the LAST one when I know I have had at least one already and there are others in the house that have not yet had any.... would be more so.

    As such "selfish" is subjective and contextual.... which renders the question in your OP entirely meaningless. If "selfish" is contextual and subjective then clearly whether or not "having children is selfish" depends entirely on who is doing it and what their motivations and contexts were.

    That doesn't quite sit with me.
    I think all people and acts are selfish , end of story.
    If someone wants to do charity and help others, thats great. But they shouldn't have any more ammo to make themselves feel any way superior or more "good" than someone who is not doing charity for the same reasons. Selfishness.
    If giving our spare money to charity made us miserable and taking homeless people into the house to use our shower and eat some food gave us a nice feeling, guess what we all would be doing.

    My point I think , is that people shouldn't need to have to decide if they should be shamed or raised up by their actions, there should be complete acceptance of ourselves and others.
    Be they selfish in their enslavement to their ego or selfish in their want for more freedom.

    Actually the paragraph I quoted seems to be saying its a moot point. If so I agree.




  • People aren't solely motivated by feeling good because it is not always about a reward. People can be motivated by a sense of responsibility or out of pity. Empathy can be much more powerful than selfishness, for if it was not there would be no discussion of selfishness at all.


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  • People aren't solely motivated by feeling good because it is not always about a reward. People can be motivated by a sense of responsibility or out of pity. Empathy can be much more powerful than selfishness, for if it was not there would be no discussion of selfishness at all.
    If we see someone suffering it can cause us suffering.
    In order to get rid of that suffering we can help them.
    We help ourselves. That's the reward unconsciously in my view.
    Consider the chemicals also gained from helping others. We get a hit of either seretonin or oxytocin. Nice feelings.
    Most of us can't really sense the reasons for our actions.
    I read recently about raising the Veils of Maya ( those filters we have, between us and reality). Maybe this is one way to know more of our actions intentions.

    The sense of responsibility, can also be traced back to the persons perception of how others see them(ego). The perception of ourselves from the third person.

    On the topic of feeling good about doing things. I think it is social conditioning or an evolved condition based on survival. To be social.

    The reason it feels good for me to help others, is probably because we have evolved to produce good feeling chemicals, for doing the things that have helped us survive in the past. And also the ego part, where the good I do, tells me, due to social conditioning, what type of person I am, as well as unconsciously and consciously, how that measures up to the groups standards.
    Loss of ego then appears to be a very dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

    It feels a little like people would rather skirt around the selfish topic, instead of accepting we are all inherently selfish.
    I think the word selfish has too much social stigma attached.




  • The problem is that if you define selfishness like that, then there is nothing other than selfishness. It loses any meaning and this entire discussion becomes redundant. Just as you can't have good without bad, you can't have selfishness without unselfishness.




  • Torakx wrote: »
    If we see someone suffering it can cause us suffering.
    In order to get rid of that suffering we can help them.
    We help ourselves. That's the reward unconsciously in my view.
    Consider the chemicals also gained from helping others. We get a hit of either seretonin or oxytocin. Nice feelings.
    Most of us can't really sense the reasons for our actions.
    I read recently about raising the Veils of Maya ( those filters we have, between us and reality). Maybe this is one way to know more of our actions intentions.

    The sense of responsibility, can also be traced back to the persons perception of how others see them(ego). The perception of ourselves from the third person.

    On the topic of feeling good about doing things. I think it is social conditioning or an evolved condition based on survival. To be social.

    The reason it feels good for me to help others, is probably because we have evolved to produce good feeling chemicals, for doing the things that have helped us survive in the past. And also the ego part, where the good I do, tells me, due to social conditioning, what type of person I am, as well as unconsciously and consciously, how that measures up to the groups standards.
    Loss of ego then appears to be a very dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

    It feels a little like people would rather skirt around the selfish topic, instead of accepting we are all inherently selfish.
    I think the word selfish has too much social stigma attached.

    Human beings are physical individuals with subjectivity. We can philosophically doubt the objectivity of the world and the genuineness of our experiences. We can, as in your thesis, collectively reduce all human values to one motivation impulse, selfishness. Nobody can really challenge your position because it is so fundamentally reductive whilst at the same time consistent. Everybody, be they self-consciously aware or not, can be understood to behave to the best of their ability in accordance with their own interest. Sometimes they fail and it just looks like a sacrifice.

    Perhaps you are right; I spent a few years in that wilderness. I do not wish to condescend, but in the end you should ask yourself if everything you have done in your life been motivated by selfishness, or even self-interest. To get to the ‘truth’ of subjective motives only you can answer the question. Personally I believe I have made sacrifices for others, knowing that I would not be rewarded or acknowledged for them. I have given to people I know who were ungrateful. Others have been there for me long after the novelty of helping a friend has worn off.

    I believe human beings have a complex make-up of nature and nurture and as we develop we are free to act with values which are learned and/or chosen. You can explain it away with social conditioning but if you do you remove the choice, and therefore the responsibility from other people and yourself. If we are all selfish then no one subjective motive is really more valuable than another. The outcome is largely irrelevant because either you came out on top or somebody else did, and nobody else matters or cares.




  • Human beings are physical individuals with subjectivity. We can philosophically doubt the objectivity of the world and the genuineness of our experiences. We can, as in your thesis, collectively reduce all human values to one motivation impulse, selfishness. Nobody can really challenge your position because it is so fundamentally reductive whilst at the same time consistent. Everybody, be they self-consciously aware or not, can be understood to behave to the best of their ability in accordance with their own interest. Sometimes they fail and it just looks like a sacrifice.
    I would agree on all of that I think. :)
    Perhaps you are right; I spent a few years in that wilderness. I do not wish to condescend, but in the end you should ask yourself if everything you have done in your life been motivated by selfishness, or even self-interest. To get to the ‘truth’ of subjective motives only you can answer the question. Personally I believe I have made sacrifices for others, knowing that I would not be rewarded or acknowledged for them. I have given to people I know who were ungrateful. Others have been there for me long after the novelty of helping a friend has worn off.

    I do things for people for the same reason I did in the past. Mainly because it felt like the right thing to do.
    What is clear to me now, is why these feel like the right things to do.
    Which goes back to my comments in the above posts about selfishness.
    I do like to consider things down to the most basic level. I think that makes sense though. The human social or otherwise factors, seem to be results more than causes.

    I believe human beings have a complex make-up of nature and nurture and as we develop we are free to act with values which are learned and/or chosen. You can explain it away with social conditioning but if you do you remove the choice, and therefore the responsibility from other people and yourself. If we are all selfish then no one subjective motive is really more valuable than another. The outcome is largely irrelevant because either you came out on top or somebody else did, and nobody else matters or cares.
    This confused me a bit. I am not sure what you mean at the end.
    There is probably a lot we could cover in that paragraph.

    I see social conditioning as one of many factors affecting choices and thoughts.
    This would be where the ego largely comes into play.
    I think we have independant choice as well. Especially with more awareness.

    If we are all selfish, all motives values, are a matter of perspective.

    "The outcome is largely irrelevant because either you came out on top or somebody else did, and nobody else matters or cares."
    I don't think that is true.
    If keeping a healthy community around you, is a great way to survive longer, then it is much easier to feel good about it.
    Again I would refer back to my comments on chemical stimulus, evolved to help us orientate towards the things that are inherent in human survival and evolution.

    It seems like you mean that if all things are selfish, we have no meaning or our actions are empty.
    I may have that wrong... I can't see the last part of the last paragraph working for me.

    When I consider the things I know from reading about NLP(neuro linguistic programming) I know that when a comedian is doing a stand up routine they will use certain gestures or pausing at the peak of a feeling and anchor that gesture for a later laugh.
    I still see this when I watch stand up comedy, but It doesn't take away from the fact it still works and I still enjoy to laugh at it.
    The result has not changed and that's all that matters I think.

    I help people because I'm selfish. It doesn't ever feel selfish when I do it though.
    It's just my reasoning that tells me it's selfish.




  • Torakx wrote: »
    This confused me a bit. I am not sure what you mean at the end.
    There is probably a lot we could cover in that paragraph.

    I see social conditioning as one of many factors affecting choices and thoughts.
    This would be where the ego largely comes into play.
    I think we have independant choice as well. Especially with more awareness.

    If we are all selfish, all motives values, are a matter of perspective.
    If we are all selfish our motives are ethically irrelevant. You either approve of a motive if it is in your interest, or you disapprove of it if it is not.
    "The outcome is largely irrelevant because either you came out on top or somebody else did, and nobody else matters or cares."
    I don't think that is true.
    If keeping a healthy community around you, is a great way to survive longer, then it is much easier to feel good about it.
    Again I would refer back to my comments on chemical stimulus, evolved to help us orientate towards the things that are inherent in human survival and evolution.
    I really don't think selfishness and only selfishness is in the interest of the community. They may say greed is good but what about the selfish bankers, irresponsible politicians and bureaucrats who indebted the country’s youth for generations? How is this selfishness constructive? If people are inherently selfish but consciously socially responsible why do people poison ground water or sell hard drugs or promote intolerance. I think it makes more sense that some people only care about themselves whilst some people care about their community and other people. It is fair to say some people are short sighted but you can't say every anti social act is the result of incompetence.
    It seems like you mean that if all things are selfish, we have no meaning or our actions are empty.
    I may have that wrong... I can't see the last part of the last paragraph working for me.

    When I consider the things I know from reading about NLP(neuro linguistic programming) I know that when a comedian is doing a stand up routine they will use certain gestures or pausing at the peak of a feeling and anchor that gesture for a later laugh.
    I still see this when I watch stand up comedy, but It doesn't take away from the fact it still works and I still enjoy to laugh at it.
    The result has not changed and that's all that matters I think.

    I help people because I'm selfish. It doesn't ever feel selfish when I do it though.
    It's just my reasoning that tells me it's selfish.
    Aside from social conditioning we have choice that differentiates adults from children. This choice at heart is about what kind of values you believe in. We become responsible as we mature and we are accountable for our motives and actions. If all motives are essentially selfish, you could not argue to the judge that you were trying to do the right thing, only the rational thing. If you hurt somebody by accident doing something irresponsibly but with the intention of doing something responsible, say after a road accident, the judge will convict you or let you off depending on your motives, but only if he can distinguish and discern the motives involved. If there is no ethical difference in motive, that is, all motives are rationally selfish, then there is no grounds to criticise one motive over another, save one was more achievable than another.




  • Torakx wrote: »
    That doesn't quite sit with me.
    I think all people and acts are selfish , end of story.

    Then what I said DOES sit with you because that is infact one of the definitions I actually gave. The first one.

    My point was that IF that is the definition we are operating under then the OPs thread is over before it has even begun. The answer is "YES" simply due to the definition you are operating under. Thread closed.

    The point I am making is that perhaps there are other definitions conducive to actual discourse on the topic and the OP might want to inform us which one he is operating under when asking the question.

    What makes no sense to ME I feel is that IF we operate under a definition of "selfish" that pretty much applies to almost everything..... then what use is the word at all in the first place? Something that applies to EVERYTHING in my mind essentially applies to NOTHING.

    EDIT: I see the later comment from "Maximus Alexander" essentially says what I just did, only more concisely. Perhaps ignore my post and read his. Being concise has never been my forte.




  • The point I am making is that perhaps there are other definitions conducive to actual discourse on the topic and the OP might want to inform us which one he is operating under when asking the question.

    What makes no sense to ME I feel is that IF we operate under a definition of "selfish" that pretty much applies to almost everything..... then what use is the word at all in the first place? Something that applies to EVERYTHING in my mind essentially applies to NOTHING.

    In fairness there is plenty of room for discourse with the original post regardless of whether or not everything boils down to being a selfish act. Its also pretty clear the difference in the level of discussion achieved here in comparison to AH. And I think its clear the OP is questioning whether its justifiable or not to have children given it is it his mind a purely selfish act.

    The fact that its selfish may not alone be the actual issue though, the issue may be that as a result of it being nothing but a selfish act the implications and consequences become that much more of an issue. Other people are affected by this, none more so that the being who has been brought into existence to satisfy the wants of its parents.

    It seems to me the OP is accepting that there is huge implications and consequences to having a child and the only way to justify that is that if the act itself was necessary outside of a basic selfish want on the part of the parents. I don't personally think it is, I don't think its necessary, its simply a decision made in the interests of the parents rooted in a want to have a child with all else simply being an afterthought if even that.




  • In fairness there is plenty of room for discourse with the original post regardless of whether or not everything boils down to being a selfish act.

    Really? I can not see it. The original post seems to just declare it "Obvious" and that is about it. That does not really fuel must discourse to my mind.




  • Really? I can not see it. The original post seems to just declare it "Obvious" and that is about it. That does not really fuel must discourse to my mind.

    Well just because the OP feels its obvious to them doesn't mean that's a statement of fact and all discussion after that fact is pointless. The thread OP was concluded with this:
    Am I wrong? And if so why? Really keen to know why because if I am really wrong it'd be great and I wouldn't be against having my own kids (which, yes, I'd really like)

    So the OP is asking questions, looking for answers, trying to explore the topic and open to changing their view that its selfish to have children and therefore cannot justify doing it. The fact they are trying to justify it means there is quite a heavy moral aspect to this that they are trying to grasp so it could probably be rephrased as "Is having children morally justifiable ?" regardless of the fact that the OP is judging it based on whether or not the reasons for doing it are selfish.

    I see where you're coming from (I think) and its understandable given the OP is using "selfishness" as the key aspect. But I think you have to give a bit of leeway with these things in terms of wording and phrasing and simply try deal with the underlying issue. If you do there's always ample room for discussion.

    That's how I see it anyway.




  • And as I said if the OP were to be clear what he means by "Selfish" it might be easier to tell him if he is "wrong" or not. Because if he is using, for example, the dilute version of the word which I described then he is "correct" simply by definition.... conversation over.


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  • Edit: Sorry! this is a bit spammy!
    If we are all selfish our motives are ethically irrelevant. You either approve of a motive if it is in your interest, or you disapprove of it if it is not.
    In a way, I think that is so.
    Where ethics comes in, the social "rules" and morals which I presume we have developed in order to survive as a group start to apply. That's why it is bad to murder within the tribe, but not as bad to kill others outside, I refer to war as an example of that.
    Others might go and try to stop the war, and I would consider empathy to play a large part in that, which would relate to the ego and perception of ourselves(what kind of world and people we expect,based on our own ideals). When empathy comes into the scene, it is like being hurt second hand.
    I see empathy and all those other feelings as tools to guide us in the group or otherwise. They induce feelings. Which are attached to ideas.
    This issue might be, that i am breaking everything down to the basic level and not really considering these morales or ethics. Mainly because I don't think they are at the foundation of these things. I think they developed for a reason over a long period of time.
    If I was restricted to a conversation on just morales and ethics, then it is for the group to decide the answer. I don't really accept that answer whatever it is, unless it is something that meets my logic or rational thoughts.
    It could be said that whatever the group decides should be right for the group, but I don't agree the group necesarily has the abilitity to decide clearly.[/QUOTE]
    I really don't think selfishness and only selfishness is in the interest of the community. They may say greed is good but what about the selfish bankers, irresponsible politicians and bureaucrats who indebted the country’s youth for generations? How is this selfishness constructive? If people are inherently selfish but consciously socially responsible why do people poison ground water or sell hard drugs or promote intolerance. I think it makes more sense that some people only care about themselves whilst some people care about their community and other people. It is fair to say some people are short sighted but you can't say every anti social act is the result of incompetence.
    I see community as second to individual. Otherwise we have some kind of hive mind mentality going on, where the person gives up freedom of thought in exchange for safety. This seems to be a dangerous thing when we consider how society is controlled and manipulated.
    So I would agree that selfishness is not in the interest of community directly. First it is done for the individual and it may help the community when it helps or meets the individuals needs. and I don't see anything wrong with that. I realize fundamentally why it is important to be nice to everyone and I live it more so than when I was a bible student whohad more judgemental and flawed morales and ethics, because I followed a groups philosophy instead of a rational one.
    I truly believe now, that society needs to be made of individuals, as much as possible. Maybe religion and other group ideas for living together were needed to direct the ignorant, but I don't think it worked as well as it could and we need more individuals with independant minds.

    I don't know who says greed is good. It might be ok in some circumstances, I'm not sure..
    I would default usualy to considering if it has a negative impact on others experience of their reality. That is usually a safe bet for me.
    Which includes letting a person fall, in order for them to learn how to get back up again. An example of a negatively seen thing, having a long term positive impact.
    Regarding the beaurocrats etc.. maybe they do pay a price...
    Maybe they paid the price through upbringing and/or mental illness/abuse etc etc.
    Those bankers etc acruing so much money, they hardly know what to do with, seem like empty shells to me. They are hurting themselves and are lost.
    I somehow still have an intuition that if you hurt others, you hurt yourself....on some level, but I can't logically place it yet. Maybe because we have a part in our brain that triggers the human aspect(chemicals like oxytocin) when we see another human face(apparently missing in psychopaths), we are able to have this empathy and natural social feeling, it hurts us to break that natural orientation. Where a psychopath would not have this and so has gained much social stigma as serial killers become the default go to thought when considering them.

    Someone like me would find those bankers lives a nightmare. But then I wouldn't be someone like me if I had so much money and privilege.
    I do think that any anti social act that negatively impacts the individual doing said act, is either very smart or very ignorant and self damaging.

    I say very smart, because we can learn a whole lot more from mistakes and pain.
    And all the hard times I have had, seem to have made me who I am now and a much stronger a person. So in that sense it can be seen as a good thing to bring darkness on our own lives, if we can learn from it and make that price worth paying.
    Which brings me to a kind of new way of thinking I have been coming around too, that involves possibly disgarding the idea that certain things are good and bad. I think duality plays it's part in everything. But I need more time to think on that one :)
    I am not 100% sure, but on intuition, I would say every anti social act is a practice in ignorance or genius. It really depends I suppose..
    I willrefrain from more long winded examples... Sorry, I really dotry my best to keepthe word count down, but the topic seems to need much more than I am already using lol
    Aside from social conditioning we have choice that differentiates adults from children. This choice at heart is about what kind of values you believe in. We become responsible as we mature and we are accountable for our motives and actions. If all motives are essentially selfish, you could not argue to the judge that you were trying to do the right thing, only the rational thing. If you hurt somebody by accident doing something irresponsibly but with the intention of doing something responsible, say after a road accident, the judge will convict you or let you off depending on your motives, but only if he can distinguish and discern the motives involved. If there is no ethical difference in motive, that is, all motives are rationally selfish, then there is no grounds to criticise one motive over another, save one was more achievable than another.
    Ok how I would view it and I realise to anyone else this might seem warped. Compared to the majority, my thoughts are warped it seems, which is fine by me, if that's how it is..

    On the first sentence you wrote. I am unsure on how much we consciously choose, ourselves. I did not consciously choose to start considering duality in everything although i had been aware of it a very long time. I was guided though philosophy and it had an effect on my mind. A form of conditioning.
    So I chose to read philosophy, but did not consciously choose to form my current view of things. That happened "naturally" as I was selfishly doing something I wanted to do. A career criminal might orientate away from scieties rules in a similar way, from a societal view of morales and ethics, because of their circumstances and choices. You could say out of ignorance get lead down these paths, much like out of ignorance I ended up thinking this way.

    I believe that the judge would not be capable of judging in the first place. But say they were an all ecompassing body of knowledge on the human condition and societies values, with a rational mind..
    And the person wants to argue they did the rationally wrong thing, but socially right thing. The judge must consider ethics.
    Which I believe if they are to do so, should be and are for the most part, based on soceities needs over the individuals. As it is a court of and for society..well in this imaginary world I posed.
    Which is why a ruling in a high court will effect all further rulings in the matters concerned.

    With your example of the car accident, I think all still applies for me.
    Because I am not saying that there is no common use for the word selfish.
    It can keep the same meaning and I still use it for the meaning that is commonly known. However I just have accepted that their is much much more to it than what is on the surface.
    We could say for arguements sake that selfishness is generally doing something for oneself, when it is not beneficial to the group.
    However philosophically speaking or rationally maybe, I would also argue on any of those actions with duality in mind and find a way to see it as "good" or "bad" for the group.
    Again all these semantics, seem to be there to help people decide what to do socially, without having to go to the levels that I do to justify things or rationalise.
    I would say that having children is unselfish and not having children is also unselfish.
    Because morales and ethics are like a framework applied to reality. One of or part of the Veils of Maya?
    Its not ever going to be clear cut. and so when we start discussing this topic, I seek an answer foremost. So can't help but try to take it down to the root. Anything else like morales and ethics, seems like an irrational conversation, or fantasy. Not quite to the point if you know what I mean. Or not the whole true answer, but a discussion on the current societies values, which to me are flawed in many areas.
    We don't burn people at the stake/cross so much these days, so thats seen as a bad thing generally now. However we inject them with poison when they break certain groups rules. Why not burn them?
    Maybe because we are begininng to understand that evil is not something that is real. And some people orientate in certain directions through genetic "malfunction" or conditioning.
    The ethics and morales of society are constantly changing and apparently based more and more on rational thought.
    WhatI am doing is taking it to its extreme. In soem respects it is far ahead of the societal view, if such a progression of rationality is the case.

    Maybe this whole topic is more conflicted because of the limits in language, or my limited knowledge of english for that matter.
    I accept that it's quite possible I am using a different definition of selfish than is generally acccepted. i do tend tospeak my mind first on these things, before checking clearly what the deinition is exactly..

    Heres one of many definitions that sounds fairly balanced.
    ADJ. 1. chiefly concerned with one's own interest, advantage, etc, esp to the total exclusion of the interests of others

    Another
    1
    : concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others


    So is the question then.. Is having children, a seeking or concentrating on one's own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others?

    Unfortunately I was hoping to be able to change my mind haha
    But I can still see all those things I mentioned before.
    It is still both selfish and unselfish at the same time. Again, just perspective and values that can decide.
    If people want the societal view, it maybe best to ask government or those who control social behaviour through media and policy at any given time in history you need the answer for.


    Had i not gone down this route of discussion and thinking. I might say that the answer is depending on whether the person is considering others when making that decision.
    The result may accidently benefit the group and not actually be selfish.
    But the group might possibly still say it's selfish on the surace and soit that is the current group view, I am wrong according tothe group and right according to me lol... I think...

    Sorrry a lot of text. I find it very difficult to explain my thoughts clearly..




  • Really? I can not see it. The original post seems to just declare it "Obvious" and that is about it. That does not really fuel must discourse to my mind.
    I don't like to believe in right and wrong, or good and bad. It seems limiting to rational thought.
    I don't think there is a right or wrong answer.
    It's very much dependant on what you would like to base any answer on.




  • The problem is that if you define selfishness like that, then there is nothing other than selfishness. It loses any meaning and this entire discussion becomes redundant. Just as you can't have good without bad, you can't have selfishness without unselfishness.
    That is true. I do see the topic as a conversation on semantics and empty if based on morales and ethics, if indeed morales and ethics are dictated or developed based on ignorance. Considering we are still figuring out what it is to be human, I would say they are justifiably flawed, but flawed none the less.
    At least until I upgrade my thoughts with another way of thinking.




  • fr336 wrote: »
    I don't think it's about pessimism or optimism - it's about facts in front of us. Most parents I know aren't half as optimistic as myself.
    I know many a such women who have children to fill a hole in their lives and expect them to fill that hole. And when the kids do not, turn on the kids when the kids are not what they expected. That is selfish to me.

    Ten years ago, I have heard stories from a school in limerick city where girls in poor backgrounds deliberately failing in school, when ask what are they planning to do with their lives after school as some were already pregnant. A lot of them says they are going to get pregnant or pregnant again to get social housing, child allowance, free buggies for the kids, free fuel allowance, lone parent allowance, etc. The female teacher was bemused and the absurdity of it.
    How could they live like that, day to day. They say the state pays for it all. If they do not, we then complain or cry constantly, until they do.

    But these kids believe it that this what in their future is, no careers, no meaningless jobs they say. She ask them what about the fathers, do they want raise the child or are they just dead beat dads. They say they do want to be fathers, but if fathers live with them, then they will not get lone parents allowance or also lose the accommodation. We just used them for sex and more child allowance they say. I could not believe this was their future plans. Luckily, not all girls are like that and believe more in themselves and look for meaningful careers.




  • I supppose having children might give their life meaning and within their social circles, gives them a certain status.
    It might even be quite simple. They are smart enough to see how wasteful a job is when it is boring and soul destroying. And because of the educational system and job situation, they may see no clear solid prospects to have a happy or fullfilling working life.

    Also the government makes these subsidies, I suspect to keep families broken.
    As well as that, if there was nobody unemployed, they could not keep minimum wage as low as it is. The government relies on high unemployment numbers to keep wages down and foreign corporations coming in, to abuse the workers, sorry, I meant give us awesome jobs on the phones! :D

    I mentioned about splitting up families, because it causes a society to be insecure. And an insecure society will continue to do what it's told, as it is easier to control with fear, when it is split up into factions.
    Men fighting with women over children and housing etc.
    That's very useful for our corporate government.




  • fr336 wrote: »
    Is it?? I don't feel the urge - I just see other people's kids and think "Yeah that'd be nice" Purely from seeing it. I'm thinking independently from any overwhelming feeling, I feel - hence my internal debate about whether it's the right thing to do for unselfish reasons.

    I think you are missing the point a bit here! They are saying that selfishness doesn't come into it because the world needs reproduction in order to survive and in that sense, its instinct! You should quote the entire post, not just one line of the post.


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