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Author Topic:   We must believe in what we're made for
Stile
Member
Posts: 3368
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


(1)
Message 16 of 19 (847103)
01-18-2019 8:54 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by GDR
01-17-2019 7:59 PM


GDR writes:

We are all selfish to varying degrees but if self love or gratification becomes our primary focus it is something that feeds on itself, and our personal lusts whatever they are can never be satisfied.

Of course, yes... I understand that if we take it to the absurd - that if every decision someone makes must be selfish... then this will lead to trouble. Possibly even self-destruction.

But what if different people have varying levels of selfishness?
What if a certain (small) amount of selfishness is actually good for us?
What if a certain (small) amount of selfishness is actually good for only a few of us - but not for other? - Should those few not be allowed to follow through on that selfishness?

Example:

A family grows up taking care of a farm.
Generation after generation cares for this farm, and the food it produces.

One generation decides they hate farming, and they would rather become doctors.

The older generations see this as "selfish" - the farm is a family tradition and needs to continue - to help the town.
The generation that hates farming also sees this as selfish - they want to become doctors and help the town that way, not help the town by providing some of it's food.

Let's assume that this family is one of many farmers - it won't kill the town if this family stops farming.
Let's assume that there are also many doctors - it won't kill the town if this 1 generation doesn't become doctors.

The choice is up to the generation (or maybe the family?)

Should they be 'selfish' and become doctors to make themselves happy?
Or should they be 'unselfish' and do what the family wants them to do to keep the family happy?

It is my contention that this generation should do self-reflection.
This is a decision that will primarily affect their own lives to a very high degree.
I don't even know if the word "selfish" applies - but, at least, it is how many people use the word today.

My larger contention is that "personal religious beliefs" are along this line - they should be made "selfishly" because they primarily affect the individual making the decision. Others may call it "selfish" in a negative way all they like, even though they themselves are likely a part of the religion they prefer (wouldn't that be "selfish" in the same way?)

I think the world would be a better place if we could all agree to be adult and mature about such personal decisions and not only allow each individual to make their own decision - but promote that each individual should make their own decision - and that such a decision should be made in alignment with that individual's personal identity (found through self-reflection by the individual.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by GDR, posted 01-17-2019 7:59 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by GDR, posted 01-18-2019 5:07 PM Stile has responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4773
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 17 of 19 (847165)
01-18-2019 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Stile
01-18-2019 8:54 AM


I guess I see it a little differently. We can only interact with the world from the position of the self. We are all basically selfish and we all want the best for ourselves. What I see as being called to, is to overcoming that basically selfishness that we are born with.

It is about being prepared to sacrifice time, material things, and even personal security for the benefit of others. I used the example of Jean Vanier who came from a family of wealth and privilege to work with mentally disabled people all over the world. The trouble is I then look at myself who is able to take luxurious vacations while millions of people do not have enough to eat.

With very few exceptions we are all selfish. However we can still have hearts that genuinely care and even hurt when we see the suffering of others. We can at least go part way in helping others who suffer and are in need. We are capable, even though still fundamentally selfish, able to perform small or even large acts of born out of a sense that is altruistic.

I would add however that we can also perform what has the appearance of an altruistic act, but is really born out of selfishness. If it is an act to gain the praise of others, or if we are doing it to gain favour with a deity, then it is no longer altruistic, which however does not negate the good that it might do.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Stile, posted 01-18-2019 8:54 AM Stile has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Stile, posted 02-11-2019 4:58 PM GDR has responded

    
Stile
Member
Posts: 3368
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 18 of 19 (848598)
02-11-2019 4:58 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by GDR
01-18-2019 5:07 PM


I'm not sure if we're still actually talking about the main topic this thread is about.

If not, this post probably won't make much sense, since I'm going to try and pull it all back to the main topic.
Main topic - People need to believe in what they're made for.

GDR writes:

I guess I see it a little differently. We can only interact with the world from the position of the self. We are all basically selfish and we all want the best for ourselves. What I see as being called to, is to overcoming that basically selfishness that we are born with.

It is about being prepared to sacrifice time, material things, and even personal security for the benefit of others. I used the example of Jean Vanier who came from a family of wealth and privilege to work with mentally disabled people all over the world. The trouble is I then look at myself who is able to take luxurious vacations while millions of people do not have enough to eat.

With very few exceptions we are all selfish. However we can still have hearts that genuinely care and even hurt when we see the suffering of others. We can at least go part way in helping others who suffer and are in need. We are capable, even though still fundamentally selfish, able to perform small or even large acts of born out of a sense that is altruistic.

In a very general "be nice to others" sense - yes, I think we would all agree.
But how does this relate to the main topic?

Should the want-to-be-doctors-generation "overcome that basic selfishness they are born with" and be farmers?
Should the family "overcome that basic selfishness they are born with" and allow their children to become doctors?
Should we promote that people should decide, on their own, what religion they should follow (or none at all?)

My answer is that the want-to-be-doctors should be "selfish" in this situation and become doctors.
The family should "overcome that basic selfishness they are born with" and allow their children to become doctors.
We should all promote that people should decide, on their own, what religion they should follow (or none at all.)

I would add however that we can also perform what has the appearance of an altruistic act, but is really born out of selfishness. If it is an act to gain the praise of others, or if we are doing it to gain favour with a deity, then it is no longer altruistic, which however does not negate the good that it might do.

I agree.
Along with the notion that actions speak louder than words (even if, sometimes, that loudness is incorrect.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by GDR, posted 01-18-2019 5:07 PM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by GDR, posted 02-11-2019 6:37 PM Stile has not yet responded

    
GDR
Member
Posts: 4773
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 19 of 19 (848604)
02-11-2019 6:37 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Stile
02-11-2019 4:58 PM


Stile writes:

n a very general "be nice to others" sense - yes, I think we would all agree.
But how does this relate to the main topic?

Should the want-to-be-doctors-generation "overcome that basic selfishness they are born with" and be farmers?
Should the family "overcome that basic selfishness they are born with" and allow their children to become doctors?
Should we promote that people should decide, on their own, what religion they should follow (or none at all?)

My answer is that the want-to-be-doctors should be "selfish" in this situation and become doctors.
The family should "overcome that basic selfishness they are born with" and allow their children to become doctors.
We should all promote that people should decide, on their own, what religion they should follow (or none at all.)

I don't see it as being selfish to choose a career that you want. The selfish/unselfish aspect is what you do with that career and how you deal with the rewards of that career. And, again it isn't the specific actions that are important but the sense of the heart that chooses between sacrificial or selfish love.

I also don't see it the choice of one's religion as the point. In the end I contend that is more about any individual choosing what they believe best represents truth. I obviously can't deny that culture plays a major role in the conclusions that people come to.


He has told you, O man, what is good ; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Stile, posted 02-11-2019 4:58 PM Stile has not yet responded

    
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