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Spiritual Crisis

Discussion in 'Congregation of the Masses' started by ivar, Jul 21, 2010.

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  1. ivar

    ivar

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    I feel as though I am in the middle of one. I've always accepted humanity as something sinister and completely self-serving, but lately it's been bothering me. A lot. The girl whom I love, I can tell, is emotionally insensitive and would probably drop me if things weren't going so well. The worst part is I feel I'm no different, nor any person in the world other than an extremely tiny minority.

    I hardly feel sorry for lonely losers because if in a higher hierarchical position they would take advantage just as popular assholes do. I remember joining the chess club as a noob in high school, being discriminated against based on my chess skill. I was still learning but was a slight outcast because of this. And these are the same pushovers who would complain about superficial popular people. I take it to mean that the difference between me and someone who appears nice but is generally disliked is that I'm the asshole on top and he's the shit stain at the bottom, trying to weasel his way up.

    Even acts of generosity seem in one's self-interest, either to fit in due to social pressures (a new culture of social awareness) or for simply uplifting oneself.

    We're just more elaborate and sophisticated monkeys, prone to the same cruel social misgivings, hatred and self-interest. Any altruism is done for the purpose of self-satisfaction, either as a pat on the back sort of thing, a way to lose the debt of guilt, or an act designed for mutual benefit.

    And as I said before, I feel like I'm, if anything, the paradigm of this ugly underbelly of humanity. I try to convince myself that this ugliness is relative or some product of unreasonable expectations set by overly optimistic narratives told to me as a child, but I can't deal lately. I need help or some solution. Obviously the answer can't be foolishly optimistic because it has to take into account some darkness, but there must be some resolution, or some light. There just has to be, right?
  2. Itchni

    Itchni

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    People are assholes and you discovered that. Thats life, enjoy it
  3. Lemmiwinks MkII

    Lemmiwinks MkII

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    Um, nobody's to blame for this, as this is all we humans are capable of really. You just try to imagine yourself consciously performing an act that you really don't want to do for any reason at all. You won't succeed, but you may hurt your head if you think about it too hard.

    All human acts are inherently selfish without exception, but there is still a big difference between positive selfishness (altruism, mutual benefit etc) and negative selfishness (acting purely in your own interest with no regard for the consequences of said actions on others around you). You would do well to keep this in mind when mulling over your 'spiritual crisis'. You can't change the nature of others just like that, but you can at least try and set some example by guiding yourself towards more the former than the latter, especially around younger and more impressionable people where it is more likely to rub off. It is better than trying to pretend that you have to be an unemotional robot designed to serve only as a vehicle of happiness for others in order to be 'pure'. It is just a completely unrealistic concept anyway.
  4. petrie911

    petrie911

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    Ah, misanthropy. A fresh look on life I never tire of seeing.
    Well, here we have problem number 1. You assume that people are sinister and self-serving, and so that is what you see in people.

    I see. You were new to the group, and thus weren't as well accepted as pre-existing members. This is wrong...how?

    And once again, you immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion about a person's motives.

    I see. So, basically, if I help others because I expect something in return, that's just me being self-serving. If I help others to make myself feel better, that's also just me being self-serving. And if I help others because I enjoy doing it, that's *also* self-serving. My, is there any way I *can* help others and not be a horrible person?

    The answer is simple. You've already made up your mind that people are evil, and thus you interpret everything you see to support that claim. From what I can tell, there's nothing I can do in your worldview to not be seen as "sinister and completely self-serving".

    Oh, and BTW,
    You're absolutely right. You're not any different. Perhaps it might help to consider that other people might actually think like you, rather than fear that you are no different from them.
  5. Objection

    Objection

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    Well ... there is no way you can help another person without gaining something, whether that something is a tangible reward or just a nice feeling, without somehow removing all emotion from yourself. However, this "self-serving" is not necessarily bad. On the contrary, some amount of selfishness is vital to avoid becoming totally dependent on others, because you can't expect everyone you meet to prioritise you above everything else.
  6. ivar

    ivar

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    I understand and accept that we are self-interested based. I don't need it reiterated in different prose. I just don't know how to deal with it anymore. I don't see positive self-interest as anything positive at all, just a superficial disguise.
  7. cookie

    cookie Adominnustrata
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    All that separates you from any other person is that you've seen through all the pretenses and realised there is no such thing as real altruism and have realised the true nature of humanity. You can't 'unsee' this, unless you can somehow fool yourself.
  8. ivar

    ivar

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    Inception?
  9. Brain

    Brain
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    Well, let's go to the root of the problem here: why do you think that generosity and altruism are good things to begin with? Imagine a society where altruism does not exist at all - people only help other people if they can get a tangible, material benefit out of it. This seems "bad" and "evil" to us, but the people in that society would not be humans, and thus they would not see it the same way. In such a society, some people would be rich and powerful and others would be miserable, but since there would be no possibility (and thus no expectation) of altruism, resentment would not exist, nobody would bother complaining about their plights, and it might even be the case that the very concept of "good" and "evil" would not exist. People in that society would "play the game" and that's pretty much it - if someone in that society helped someone else, they might even be seen negatively by others as well as the person they helped, because helping is "cheating the game". In the end, I see no reason why such a society is morally "worse" than one where there is altruism. If it's fine on the inside, then it's fine. You can't apply an outside perspective to it.

    Empathy, as it evolved in humans, made altruism desirable, a bit like an ideal. I believe there are good evolutionary reasons for this, and that some altruism ultimately makes society more productive. I believe that your problem is that you took this ideal, elevated it to a sort of moral imperative (which it isn't), noticed that humanity could not meet such absurdly high standards, and can't deal with it.

    Furthermore, you seem to suggest that altruism needs to be based on something else than self-interest to be "positive". That's utterly absurd. First, you have to realize the only reason you think altruism is good to begin with is precisely because you have a sort of self-interest in helping other people and seeing them happy. If you didn't, the very idea of altruism would strike you as ridiculous, and if you applied it at all, it would be out of a rational interest for the productivity of the species. And without the usual incentives, it would probably fail. Besides, without self-interest, who would even want to be helped at the expense of the helper?

    Let's put it this way: helping others through self-interest is not a superficial disguise. The positive feelings you get both give you incentive to do it and make you think it's a good thing. Without these feelings, not only would you not help others, you would not even think helping others is a good thing, and neither would anyone else. You would just play the game, and everybody else would just play the game, and that's it, and it would be fine.
  10. cantab

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    OK, so the majority of people act in their own self interest. What's the consequence? Well think of the last century or two, and it's clear that the world is getting better and better. Not just technological advances, but social ones too, like the rise of equality and the decline of racism. The idea of the "invisible hand" in economics springs to mind; that everyone acting in their own self-interest ends up producing a result beneficial to everyone.

    Don't listen to those who say our society is collapsing. There may be flaws and we may face challenges, but overall we've never had it so good, and in the long term things are going to get better.
  11. ivar

    ivar

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    I understand rational self-interest is productive and I am not worrying about the downfall of man, nor am I elevating any moral imperative. I am just uncomfortable with the cleverly disguised brutishness of humanity, hence why I am experiencing a spiritual crisis, not a purely logical one. I know this is frustrating for some of you pokenerds but my emotions are dampening my spirit lately to a profound, and I think ultimately spiritual degree.

    I don't care for the virtues of self-interest nor for the relativity of morality and meaning, I just need a way to cope with these disturbing truths.
  12. TAY

    TAY You and I Know
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    You are not going to find this on a Pokemon discussion board. If you are having trouble coping with what you consider "disturbing truths" you should be talking to a therapist, not getting upset that "pokenerds" are discussing your rant about the evils of humanity.

    If someone wants to make a thread regarding the motivations of altruism then they can, but this OP is not a good starting point.
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