Why help others?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by eagleseven, Sep 4, 2009.

  1. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Because helping others provides both psychological benefits and strengthens your social network. If one thing is evident about the human experience, it is that strong social networks ensure survival.

    Thus, it is to everyone's personal advantage to create a strong social network, and this is done through generosity. Even the most tyrannical dictator needs to have an inner circle with whom he is generous. When he fails to appropriately reward his inner circle, the tyrant is deposed, assassinated.


    This realization has made me far more generous than did my old fear of hell.
     
  2. Dr Grump
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    Dr Grump Gold Member

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    So are you going to give a dollar to the vet in the wheelchair?
     
  3. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Yes, because it makes me feel good, allowing me to cheaply fulfill multiple psychological needs. If donating to charity made us feel bad, nobody would do it.

    Of course, I'm not actually thinking about this when it happens...I just know it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  4. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    *really wide evil grin* You do realize that most of the planet disagrees with that for a good reason. Even with my own religious belief, the only thing that stops me from just going on some psychotic spree is the law. While I agree that religion is not a requirement for morals, it helps a lot, since morality is subjective there needs to be something to compare it to. I see humanity as having overgrown, and like all things that overgrow it needs a culling, and my religious belief does not deny that killing humans is sometimes appropriate, but obeying the law is always important. Basically, the issue is extremely complex and to simplify it like this doesn't work well, it will always lead to pointless arguments.
     
  5. Dr Grump
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    Dr Grump Gold Member

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    I concur, it does make you feel good. I like donating money...especially my wife's...
     
  6. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    We have Pavlovian conditioning.

    When I give to charity, I get a good feeling. Multiplied over the course of my lifetime, I've learned to expect a good feeling when I donate, like a dog salivating at the sound of a bell.
     
  7. KittenKoder
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    KittenKoder Senior Member

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    I don't feel good when I "help". I feel good when I accomplish, and I feel bad when people don't try for themselves.
     
  8. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Most of the planet does not disagree with me at all. This morality I have described comes purely out of selfishness...and requires only selfishness...a trait all humans posses.

    Go to the tribesmen of Afghanistan, the SS of Nazi Germany, the Romans, or even the Mongols, and you will see this trend. Those at the top are always the best-connected, and they established those connections through a series of favors.

    No, the only thing preventing you from going on a psychotic spree is your fear of death. Even in a situation of pure anarchy, anyone you kill has family and friends. You know that those family and friends would likely seek revenge upon you, which would stack the odds against you in a fight.

    So, you avoid that psychotic spree in self-preservation. This was true for humans long before the advent of laws.

    Religion is subjective, and a particularly ornate form of law. Morality, including religion, all grew from human self-interest. Religion is one method for unifying a group into a cohesive whole; the God of Abraham was intended for one people, the Israelites, and this is no coincidence.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  9. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    This isn't a discussion of the welfare state, so you can leave lines like "don't try for themselves" at the door.

    You do not feel a surge of pleasurable brain chemicals when someone gives you a genuine smile, or demonstrates genuine gratitude? You do not feel any satisfaction in knowing that someone needs you?

    Perhaps you are a sociopath, completely incapable of empathy? Rare is the person completely lacking in empathy...even hardened criminals self-medicate the trauma away.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
  10. KittenKoder
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    You assume I fear death ... that assumption is so wrong it's almost humorous ... almost. It's actually quite sad, that you fear death so much yourself you assume everyone does. No, I disdain loss of freedom, period, death is a release not a loss. Morality is highly subjective, the Incans believed it was good to eat other people, the Aztecs would torture their victims because they believed it was what the gods wanted. The Romans believed it was okay to kill anyone but their own. The Egyptians believed in fair fights. Muslim extremists believe when you die fighting for your cause, no matter how or why, you are blessed. Native Americans believe that nature is more valuable than a human life.

    Religion is the basis for law in these areas, even in the US. My lack of fear is the only reason I have survived, oddly, not just a lack of fear of death, but I simply fear nothing, When the military turned me down because of my disabilities, they turned down what they would find to be a perfect soldier, but meh. In my religion the one thing that will prevent you from moving on, out of this world, is guilt. Fear is one form of guilt. ;)
     

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