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Can a human ever be completely selfless? Watch

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    So most people believe that humans are essentially selfish, and cite reasons such as the evolutionary theory (humans needing to be selfish in order to survive). I've found that with any action, someone can always spin it in a way so that said person had a selfish angle for doing it. The closest I have come to an example of utter selflessness is when one sacrifices themselves for their lover or family. However, even then, you could say that with lovers or relatives you could not bear to live without them, and so saved them at the cost of your life. In addition the thought of living with not having saved them will stay with you, and you want to save yourself from that.

    Can any of you guys think of an example which is perfectly selfless? Does one even exist?
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    Jesus.
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    I think the closest that would come to selfless love would be a mother's love for her child, or a religious person's love for God.
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    (Original post by SaharaDesert)
    I think the closest that would come to selfless love would be a mother's love for her child, or a religious person's love for God.
    to add:

    mother's *unconditional* love...
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    (Original post by SaharaDesert)
    I think the closest that would come to selfless love would be a mother's love for her child, or a religious person's love for God.
    That is probably one of the least selfless things going.. The child is her offspring and the unconditional love shown to it is in order to boost its chances of survival and therefore her own reproductive success.

    A religious person loves 'God' because in their eyes he/she/it controls their entire life and destiny, so they hope that loving God will be beneficial for themselves either on Earth and/or in any afterlife.
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    The only truly selfless good deeds I can think of are things like, accidentally dropping a £20 note near a homeless person and walking away without noticing. That can't have been performed with selfish intention, because it was an unintentional act.
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    I don't think so, but I mean I've done things before because making people smile/happy just makes me feel good. Now technically the fact I feel good means it isn't selfless, I am gaining positive emotion, but I think doing something nice because you like to see people happy is realistically the closest thing you can get to "selfless".
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    nope. theirs always a selfish spin on ones actions... even donating money to charity is intrinsically selfish as youre obviously getting something out of it.
    Maybe if you had a medical condition it would be truly selfless but then i believe your mental state kind of ruins any gain soo....no.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    The only truly selfless good deeds I can think of are things like, accidentally dropping a £20 note near a homeless person and walking away without noticing. That can't have been performed with selfish intention, because it was an unintentional act.
    But that is not a 'deed' as it was unbeknown to the individual who now has a wallet that is £20 lighter.

    It was simply a random event that was fortunate for the homeless fellow instead of some other pedestrian going about their day.
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    Normally, I don't do things for others because it will make me feel good, but because if I don't do it then it will eat away at me. The thing is though. that even after I've done it, I'll still be annoyed because I've often compromised my own happiness. But this is still a pretty selfish reason to do something, because the reasoning behind it is that even though I'm not gaining a pleasant feeling, I am trying to avoide a negative feeling.
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    I agree that giving your life for your child isn't altruistic. I seem to remember doing this for A-Level psychology (though it was some years ago now).

    The example that comes to mind was of a plane crash somewhere in America. The plane had landed in a river somewhere and I think there were about 15 survivors. A helicopter was using a winch to get people to safety, although one bloke repeatedly passed the life-ring to other survivors before himself. In the end he got washed away by the river and died, but I think that's was used as a truly altruistic act because he had nothing to gain from his behaviour and a lot to loose.

    But this argument will always continue for the reasons you mentioned OP.
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    (Original post by Mockery)
    But that is not a 'deed' as it was unbeknown to the individual who now has a wallet that is £20 lighter.

    It was simply a random event that was fortunate for the homeless fellow instead of some other pedestrian going about their day.
    Depends on your definition of "deed" really. It's distinct from a random event (e.g. the wind blowing a £20 note out of someone's open window towards the homeless person) in the sense that someone actually did it (which is why I describe it as a deed).

    But regardless of whether you use the word "deed" or not - it's still a completely selfless thing that someone does.
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    (Original post by Danz123)
    I've found that with any action, someone can always spin it in a way so that said person had a selfish angle for doing it
    Indeed, pure altruism is incredibly rare. Mostly the 'kind' things we do give us some (perceived/sub conscious) personal benefits e.g. everything from the warm and fuzzy feeling of having been generous to the recognition that through such acts we may appease our conscience/grow in the estimation of others who witness them

    (Original post by Danz123)
    The closest I have come to an example of utter selflessness is when one sacrifices themselves for their lover or family
    Also consider the fact that a little part of you will know that they will live on knowing of your sacrifice (personal, reputational, esteem)

    (Original post by Danz123)
    Can any of you guys think of an example which is perfectly selfless? Does one even exist?
    Totally anonymous acts of kindness, or acts of kindness from someone who has absolutely no expectation of recognition or gratitude and perceives a net balance of needs e.g. feels that the level of generosity they show to themselves is already in harmony with that which they show to the wider world

    (Original post by SaharaDesert)
    a religious person's love for God.
    You’re kidding right!? ‘Lord, thy maker’, ‘Lord protect me..’, ‘Lord, thy judge’ etc

    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    dropping a £20 note near a homeless person and walking away without noticing. That can't have been performed with selfish intention, because it was an unintentional act
    An unintentional act like that is not completely selfless, it's completely gormless*

    (Original post by 1on4)
    I think that's was used as a truly altruistic act because he had nothing to gain from his behaviour and a lot to loose
    He had reputational advantage, and honours for bravery (whether he died or not), to gain, although he is unlikely to have been thinking of such things at the time tbh. It could be something as simple as going with the moral education you have been given e.g. implicitly/subconsciously asking 'what would my parents have told me to do in this situation' or if he's religious 'what would Jesus do in this situation?' etc, which relate to personal esteem. Also, he wasn't to know that he would die, it could have been something as simple as wanting to look like a thoroughly decent bloke in the eyes of the rest of the party

    (not to take anything away from the guy, naturally he's worthy of our utmost respect)
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    Depends on your definition of "deed" really. It's distinct from a random event (e.g. the wind blowing a £20 note out of someone's open window towards the homeless person) in the sense that someone actually did it (which is why I describe it as a deed).

    But regardless of whether you use the word "deed" or not - it's still a completely selfless thing that someone does.
    They didn't voluntarily do it nor knew about it happening, so therefore you can not count it as alturism :lol:

    We are talking about the psycological process of someone doing an actually good deed and truly expecting or wanting absolutely nothing in return. We're not talking about how good people are at securing loose change in their pockets.
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    (Original post by Mockery)
    They didn't voluntarily do it nor knew about it happening, so therefore you can not count it as alturism :lol:

    We are talking about the psycological process of someone doing an actually good deed and truly expecting or wanting absolutely nothing in return. We're not talking about how good people are at securing loose change in their pockets.
    I don't think it's possible for a person to intentionally perform a selfless act. There must be some impetus within themselves causing them to do it, and you can always say that the selfish part of that deed is the fact that they're satisfying that impetus (e.g. giving to charity, and relieving yourself of some of the guilt of living such a luxurious lifestyle compared to others).

    I think unintentional acts are the closest a person can get to being "completely selfless", as the thread title asks. There's certainly nothing selfish about what they've done, therefore it must be selfless. Whether or not you want to call it a "deed", or call it "altruism" etc. is up to you.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    I don't think it's possible for a person to intentionally perform a selfless act. There must be some impetus within themselves causing them to do it, and you can always say that the selfish part of that deed is the fact that they're satisfying that impetus (e.g. giving to charity, and relieving yourself of some of the guilt of living such a luxurious lifestyle compared to others).

    I think unintentional acts are the closest a person can get to being "completely selfless", as the thread title asks. There's certainly nothing selfish about what they've done, therefore it must be selfless. Whether or not you want to call it a "deed", or call it "altruism" etc. is up to you.
    You're talking complete sense with respects to being unable to intentionally perform selfless acts, but you can't describe something as being either selfish or selfless if it is unintentional and unbeknown to the individual in the scenario, it just simply doesn't make any sense to do so.
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    Giving charity without anybody knowing about it...
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    (Original post by Mockery)
    You're talking complete sense with respects to being unable to intentionally perform selfless acts, but you can't describe something as being either selfish or selfless if it is unintentional and unbeknown to the individual in the scenario, it just simply doesn't make any sense to do so.
    Why not? Surely all unintentional acts are selfless acts, since the act is not performed in order to appease one's own interests.
    Surely any act is either selfish, or not selfish (a.k.a. selfless).
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    (Original post by Foo.mp3)
    You’re kidding right!? ‘Lord, thy maker’, ‘Lord protect me..’, ‘Lord, thy judge’ etc
    There are other religions other than Christianity you know....and people within those religions have different reasons for worshiping. I can't remember the name of the book, but I remember reading poems devoted to God by Muslim saints of the past. One said something along the lines of loving God, even if God were to send him to Hell...that seems close to selfless love to me.
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    (Original post by tazarooni89)
    Why not? Surely all unintentional acts are selfless acts, since the act is not performed in order to appease one's own interests.
    Surely any act is either selfish, or not selfish (a.k.a. selfless).
    Saying someone is behaving in either a selfish or selfless manner assumes and suggests that they have gone through a thought process in which they weigh up the act planned to be perfomed and the benefits for either party as a result of it. An unintentional act does not involve such thought process so then how can you describe it as being either?
 
 
 
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