Can anyone really be selfless?

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Re: Can anyone really be selfless?

Postby Metatron » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:54 pm

mirjana wrote:Help me with these two, please. For me they oppose each other, or...? Or, what would be the opposite to selfless, according to your idea of selflessness? I ask this as I think that maybe it the chosen word and what we understand under its meaning is the confusing part.


I meant to say that given our instincts, I don't think we would do anything that doesn't give some kid of a reward, even if it is only mental. Actually the man from the story Dermot posted could have had some problems in his life that made him a bit careless about possible death, or simply the thrill of the situation made him do what he did, we know there are people who enjoy risk, which doesn't mean that they want death to be the result of something they do, but rather they rely on the possibility that they will survive.

So I think subconsciously we are all selfish and remain selfish until we die. It's just that on the conscious level, we may decide and actively believe that an act is not selfish, we are either oblivious to the positive gain from the situation, or we give it only little thought. It's all relative, to quote Alby Einstein :P Just because two people don't share the same view on a situation doesn't mean that they both cannot be true (in some cases). Somebody's death could be an example of this. A close relative could very really be sad about it, an enemy of that person could very really be happy about it. Thus the statements "It's sad that he died." and "It's good that he died." could equally be true and be very real in their own frame of reference.

That's why I admit that I have to allow the possibility of selflessness.

Ryan wrote:Don't get me wrong... I don't mean to make little any grand acts of heroics... I just think that the reason they were able to do those acts were because of something having to do with their self... be it a philosophy, a guilt or regret where they didn't act, because they had nothing to lose and everything to gain, an innate state of being, or in order to avoid having regrets later on in life.


Ryan, thanks for the clarification. Very good points and if I got it well we're on the same boat so I can only agree.

And after giving it some thought I also agree that the word can be misleading..... In english, that is :) In both Hungarian and Slovak, both selfish and selfless point very exactly at a certain meaning and they don't imply a lack of something, rather they clearly state they're the opposites of each other. Actually, we don't have to use the word selfless, unselfish is euqally correct and definitely causes less confusion. This however, is completely my fault as I am the OP :) So I appologize for the confusion.
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Re: Can anyone really be selfless?

Postby Sabina » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:27 pm

Metatron wrote:Thus the statements "It's sad that he died." and "It's good that he died." could equally be true and be very real in their own frame of reference.

These statements are indeed examples of two opposite perceptions of the same event, however with selflessness or unselfishness it is different, because only the person themselves, if they are honest with themselves, knows their motivation behind their action.
Yes David, they can always delude themselves into a grand kind of thinking, but if you allow for that possibility you must at least allow for the possibility that they are not delusional, but truly did something without (primary) regard for themselves.

In that sense it is a question of motivation....
And yes, if one is courageous and valiant by nature, then given the option to act&save or stand back and do nothing, they will always choose to act and save... because their Self, who they are, doesn't allow them to do anything different than that, not in any situation.

I can totally relate to that reasoning.

So does that mean that there are no selfish acts either?
There is no spectrum? There is only different personalities?

In that case it would have to mean that a certain personality will always behave in the same way, as their Self is always their Self. Yes?
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Re: Can anyone really be selfless?

Postby Metatron » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:37 pm

Sabina wrote:In that case it would have to mean that a certain personality will always behave in the same way, as their Self is always their Self. Yes?


Yes, as their Self is at that point of their lives. Personality can change several times in one's life, we know that, no need to elaborate.

If someone is brave and just in heart, it is obvious that their decision would be to jump into the waters and save that person no matter what, because their brain has done reasoning and came to the conclusion that they would regret not doing so.

At the same time, if someone was a coward, their brain would reason again and come to the conclusion that their fear of dying is greater than the desire to help. But let's say there was an ongoing thought process before the incident, in which the individual was trying to raise their bravery and confidence, and such an incident and chance to do something great might just be the spark that can lead them to a new Self.

I have to say again that in tought situation such as this the body produces adrenaline which speed up thought process, which means these reasoning processes happen so fast that we don't realize it... But there always have to be a reasonin process, we can't decide without thinking.
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Re: Can anyone really be selfless?

Postby Sabina » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:45 pm

Metatron wrote:Personality can change several times in one's life, we know that, no need to elaborate.

That conclusion is a little premature.
There is a need to elaborate. I am starting a new topic about that particular question right now... :)
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Re: Can anyone really be selfless?

Postby Heidi » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:24 pm

Ryan said:
So... my statement, that you asked me to elaborate upon, is clarifying Sabina's dilemma in that if selfishness is one extreme and if selflessness is not actually possible then what is the opposite extreme... and my answer would be that it is generosity... In my opinion the self is always present and is behind everything being done...


Exactly!
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Re: Can anyone really be selfless?

Postby mirjana » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:35 pm

Heidi wrote:Ryan said:
So... my statement, that you asked me to elaborate upon, is clarifying Sabina's dilemma in that if selfishness is one extreme and if selflessness is not actually possible then what is the opposite extreme... and my answer would be that it is generosity... In my opinion the self is always present and is behind everything being done...


Exactly!
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Or Compassion in the sense of the following words:
“Compassion is not so much feeling sorry for somebody, feeling that you are in a better place and somebody is in a worse place. Compassion is not having any hesitation to reflect your light on things. That reflection is an automatic and natural process, an organic process. As light has no hesitation, no inhibition about reflecting on things, it does not discriminate whether to reflect on a pile of shit or on a pile of rock or on a pile of diamonds. It reflects on everything it faces.”
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
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