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Human interaction for personal gain

  1. Feb 25, 2007 #1
    Human interaction for personal gain of each individual.Is that the best summary of interaction between individuals.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2007 #2


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    Only in certain circumstances. I might be teaching someone in which case, it's only for their benefit and it is wasting my valuable time since I am not a trainer, but the person needs help. A friend or co-worker may have problems and need someone to talk to. I am taking time out of my schedule to listen to them, there is nothing in it for me.

    However, when I call my friend, he is giving me friendship and attention, which I gain from, but so does he since I reciprocate.

    Sometimes we give, sometimes we take.
  4. Feb 26, 2007 #3
    I agree, sometimes we simply do things for no gain because we are friends or even because it is just the right thing to do, but often in the case of friends this selflessness is then pointed out, at least in some people as if they then owe you a favour. Friendship relies on this to some extent and there is nothing wrong with it whether it is implicit or open. It's how a friendship structure works and I for one am glad of it.

    This is a very one dimensional view of human interaction - if taken at face value - true it is hard for some people to do something for no gain, and sometimes they expect to gain from it at some point. It's common to see acts of kindness, but truly selfless acts are somewhat rarer. Although I think they exist, sometimes you do something that no one is aware of, the only thing you get out of it is the pleasure of doing something for it's own sake, there is nothing wrong with patting yourself on the back for this though.:smile:

    Reciprocal behaviour is common in high order mammals, there is even some tentative evidence that chimps show primitive examples of morality,ie using the golden rule(do unto others as you would be done by) For example to elicit better relations.

    It's not hard to understand why and what benefit a complicated social structure gets from such behaviour.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  5. Feb 26, 2007 #4
    Could we be doing people favours and doing things to help people when no one will ever no we did them,for our own personal emotional gain.as well for our own sence of well being.So if these points are correct we are performing these actions for our own personal gain.
  6. Feb 26, 2007 #5


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    That seems a cynical view of human interaction.

    What if the interaction is one of mutual benefit? The receiver obtains a benefit, and so does the giver/provider - that seems a very positive outcome.

    I suppose one could indifferent about doing favors for others or helping others - but I somehow doubt for most that is the case.

    Is there a problem if one derives some satisfaction or positive 'emotional gain'?
  7. Feb 26, 2007 #6
    No Iam not saying it is write or wrong to do things for people out of the kindness of your heart.I just dont think we do anything with out some desire for personal gratification although it might be very slight,a feeling of achievment or sence of duty which when performed gives people a sence of well being which we enjoy,to me it seems to be the case that our actions are performed in order to fullfill this need
  8. Feb 26, 2007 #7


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    That's probably true. Positive feedback.

    Given a choice of being happy or unhappy, most people choose happy, or at least content.
  9. Feb 26, 2007 #8
    don't forget empathy.
  10. Feb 27, 2007 #9
    Indeed, your not going to establish a truly selfless act without some sort of reward whether it be actual or emotional. As soon as something is known or has conditions placed on it, by even just one individual, it becomes something in a context other than truly selfless, this is no reason to discount such "selfless" acts, morally they are still beyond reproach.

    It does lead to the question: has a truly selfless act ever happened? Maybe, someone who could have lived but chose to die in order to save thousands - knowing full well no one would ever know his act had done so - that's pretty close. Of course by it's nature it's impossible to know if it ever happened :smile: we're by definition at an impasse? Do I think a truly selfless act has never been performed, I'd have to be a cynic.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2007
  11. Feb 27, 2007 #10
    If we read accounts of stories of how members of the armed services give there lives in a war.A few very proud great bravery medal winners have lay on hand grennads to protect there fellow men in a very quick and great decsion to sacrifice there own lives in order to save there mates.Congressional Medal of Honour winners have performed these selfless acts,Idont want to talk about what there thought process were at the time out of respect for these men.
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