The Point of Advice and Self-Sacrifice?

Postby Art Vandelay » Fri May 20, 2016 9:43 am

This could go in the Self-Esteem forum I guess, because my self-esteem hinges on this.Though perhaps more appropriately in some sort of Philosophy forum? Anyways, I'll just ask. Why would someone dispense information (tips, advice), knowingly, that can lead others to potentially have an advantage over them?

I’m asking this operating under the assumption that most people are primarily all about self-interest. I know people are indeed capable of altruism, and capable of providing helpful information, but why would someone do so if it means that person would lose the upper hand? Moreover, knowing that self-interest is frequently the ulterior motive behind altruism (subconsciously even, at times)..what would be the point of pure self-sacrifice with no long-term gain, ultimately?

The answer may be simpler than I can imagine, but I cannot arrive at an easy answer due to the fact that I'm so distrusting of people, and information as a whole. The only reason I can think of, for doling out information to another that would then give that advisee an edge over them, would merely be if that person got lazy or perhaps had enough overinflated confidence to feel the need to (irrationally?) broadcast their tricks.

I mean I know it happens. Scholars and such leave behind objective information that is indeed effective and workable into our everyday lives, but I can't for the life of me understand how acts of sacrifice like this, for the greater good of people (and especially in the case of others surpassing the initiator), even came about, other than...just...as I said, blind confidence.

If any non-religious people would like to throw their hat in and hazard an explanation, I'd appreciate that. Advice from others has indeed worked in the past for me, so I'm going to take the gamble now and presume that I can trust the answers given to me here. For now.
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0


#1

Postby bert_ernie » Fri May 20, 2016 10:41 am

because it's not necessarily or even probably a win/lose scenario. it's win/win.

if there are more happy people in the world then i get to interact with other happy people rather than depressed people.

it's also not a one way interaction.

by interacting with people and giving advice to people, in thinking about their problems, in interacting with them, i learn about myself. i learn about the world. i end up improving myself. i learn from them & from others giving advice.
bert_ernie
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1299
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:41 am
Likes Received: 91

#2

Postby darmos653 » Sun May 22, 2016 1:51 pm

What bert_ernie said.

Just to add to that a little, of course there's an element of self interest involved, how couldn't there be? But it isn't always the overriding factor as you seem to be trying to persuade yourself that it is.

"By giving, you receive."
darmos653
Junior Member
 
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 12:04 pm
Likes Received: 15

#3

Postby tijmenklip » Sun May 22, 2016 2:57 pm

bert_ernie and darmos653 are both right :)

You can see it as a social investment. I help someone, and because they get better, the possible can help me (or the human tribe) later.

It doesn't even have to be true. But it feels that way. Helping people often feels good. You bring it like all human relationships are some sort of rivalry in the end. While many human relationships are collaborative!
tijmenklip
Junior Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:10 pm
Location: Amsterdam
Likes Received: 5

#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Sun May 22, 2016 4:09 pm

The benefit of giving has been proven repeatedly in controlled experiments.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reciproci ... chology%29

Look at both the coca cola experiment and the christmas card experiment. You give, you receive. It has nothing to do with giving someone an advantage.
User avatar
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 10097
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 1016

#5

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 23, 2016 8:46 am

darmos653 wrote:What bert_ernie said.

Just to add to that a little, of course there's an element of self interest involved, how couldn't there be? But it isn't always the overriding factor as you seem to be trying to persuade yourself that it is.

"By giving, you receive."


I'm trying to understand how it would not be the overriding factor. How could it not be?


You can see it as a social investment. I help someone, and because they get better, the possible can help me (or the human tribe) later.

It doesn't even have to be true. But it feels that way. Helping people often feels good.


Exactly. And that 'good feeling' is your emotional intelligence kicking in, intuitively letting you know that it's an intelligent move to do this. It's a strategic move to ultimately derive self-interest in the long run. It comes back in your corner; that was the aim at least. You help someone and they'll remember that. It's self-sacrifice to you, but it makes you viewed more favorably by others, which benefits you more in the end. So, as I say, it would seem we do this even when we're not conscious of it. This is my contention at least. I'm willing to revise this view if someone can convince me, but so far nothing has.

(For instance) Hell, even some of the superficial feeling of 'help' right here, in the instance of this thread, feels like it's advice with an amount of judgment attached. I FEEL no benevolence with a statement like:

of course there's an element of self interest involved, how couldn't there be?


It's tinged with a superior vibe. So far I've seldom seen pure hospitality from people. It's rare, but it appears to mostly come from submissive people...which I can appreciate. Your 'of course' sounds condescending, and I can't view that as one generously pointing out where they're wrong.

It would actually seem like the very fact that I'm broadcasting my view of self-interest makes you view me as a less than decent person. Which in all honesty could be true, seeing as how I've basically been coerced into a competitive lifestyle I don't care for, but obligatorily surrender to it out of a conceivably misguided need for survival. So the fact that I'm not already presenting myself as just a willingly giving person by virtue of merely questioning it is an error on my part. It's a failure in proper manipulation. So in turn this causes others to respond less kindly. Sort of what I was getting at all along. Make sense? I can elaborate.

But, like I said, I could understand if someone was religious and felt obligated to sacrifice out of a fear of sinning. That's born out of irrational fear.


Richard, that study didn't really point out anything to me. Maybe you can more specifically point out what proves that it has nothing to do with giving someone an advantage in the long run.

Anyway, still open to revising my stance. Always hoping I'm wrong. It'd certainly make me feel better. But others rarely do.

by interacting with people and giving advice to people, in thinking about their problems, in interacting with them, i learn about myself. i learn about the world. i end up improving myself. i learn from them & from others giving advice.


Right, yeah. I understand this, and it's a good selling point, but isn't this still to give YOU satisfaction?
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0

#6

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 23, 2016 8:59 am

It's because of this need for self-interest that I feel as if we can never truly achieve an egalitarian society. Someone will always want more. The ego, the reptilian brain wins out. Fortunately we've improved over the years and have become more civilized beings, but we're not out of the jungle yet. We're more homogenized, more progressive-thinking, but it reverts back to that someone's-gotta-have-more state.

Think about all of the new forms of competition we create even in outlets that are supposed to 'bond' us. Like for example people viciously debating over technicalities in movies. We always find new and inventive ways to form hierarchies, to marginalize others, etc.
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0

#7

Postby tijmenklip » Mon May 23, 2016 9:11 am

If you view it like this, were you view people as purely individual actors, YES helping people is egocentric! I follow your reasoning. You gain a more favourable position and/or better feelings. So in the end you only do it for yourself - because through yourself is the only way you will ever experience the world.

People tend to do this, because they see this as a more beneficial strategy for themselves and the group! Than only competition (which can also be benificial to group and individuals). On the long run, it helps the group, which makes you feel good blablabla etc. We've been down this road.

Within this logic I disagree though that only submissive people do this without ulterior motives. They want to be either accepted, gain higher status or whatever other psychosocial dynamic benefits them. So also 'selfish' reasons.

--

There are people though - who don't see themselves as an individual. And especially in eastern philosophy and religion this comes forward. They see temselves as a part of a bigger whole. A bigger thing living system. Be it the human society or the universe in total.

Within this view, helping you is helping me. Because we are part of the same interacting system. A little sacrifice here for a big gain there is helping myself/the system.

And I think people who experience the world in such a way definitely help others without egocentric reasons. Because there is less of an individual/ego to reason from.

Does that make sense to you?

--

Personally I think I am somewhere in the middle of these paradigms. But heck, I am biased as heck about myself, so what do I know. But a lot of people on forums like this also reason from the second paradigm. And truly want to help!
tijmenklip
Junior Member
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:10 pm
Location: Amsterdam
Likes Received: 5

#8

Postby bert_ernie » Mon May 23, 2016 12:22 pm

Art Vandelay wrote:Right, yeah. I understand this, and it's a good selling point, but isn't this still to give YOU satisfaction?


i was responding to your idea that you're giving others a leg up on you. ie this win/loss idea where you self-sacrifice for another perhaps doesn't exist.

so like i said, the reason for people to help others who may surpass them, can be because they don't view the world in competitive terms. they may think that by behaving in this way & viewing the world in this way, ultimately they will be a happier, better person than if they hoarded all their secrets from their possible enemies. who could be numerous. and out to get them :0 & likewise the whole world may be better for it. maybe they care about that, maybe they don't. who knows:) the point is they like where they end up with this way. where anyone else ends up is maybe not even the point.

not sure about your point on altruism. can it all ultimately be boiled down to selfishness? maybe? or possibly is this just some mental gymnastics for you to justify your own aspects of selfishness? at any rate, i liked what tijmenklip said about that.

personally when i post on these boards i know that there's some empathy, there's some selfishness. maybe a lot of selfishness. i'm not too concerned how much of which. if it's useful for the recipient then i figure it's fine either way.
bert_ernie
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1299
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:41 am
Likes Received: 91

#9

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon May 23, 2016 3:00 pm

Art Vandelay wrote: Richard, that study didn't really point out anything to me. Maybe you can more specifically point out what proves that it has nothing to do with giving someone an advantage in the long run.

Anyway, still open to revising my stance. Always hoping I'm wrong. It'd certainly make me feel better. But others rarely do.


I hope that others rarely do. It is not the responsibility of others to make you feel better. But, you are more than welcome to continue to judge others capacity to make you feel better and see how that works out for you in life.

Maybe you do not understand the implication of the experiments. People do not send out christmas cards because they are callous humans calculating some long run advantage. The experiments showed a "hard wired" response. You are born, already wired to give. It was not a conscious, calculating attempt to obtain an advantage. In other words people give, simply as a social norm that is intuitive, passed down through their DNA. Similar to how you will automatically respond to a nearby gunshot with a hard wired fight/flee response, the act of giving is also hard wired.

And why does it even matter? What if science is wrong and the act of giving is always about getting the upper hand? What if behind the scenes our brains are always looking into the future, trying to gain a long run advantage over our fellow human? Why should you care? Why would that make you feel bad? You didn't create the rules, you didn't design the universe. Does it make you feel bad that a black widow spider kills her mate? Does it make you feel bad that vultures scavenge carcasses? If it were true, that humans are always trying to get the upper hand on their fellow human, then that would be the nature of humanity. It would be like feeling bad because humans take 9 months to be born.
User avatar
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 10097
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 1016

#10

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 23, 2016 5:42 pm

Within this view, helping you is helping me. Because we are part of the same interacting system. A little sacrifice here for a big gain there is helping myself/the system.


When you break it down with that phrase, that's actually a good way of looking at it. Kind of sums up what I've been thinking about lately.

Although I've been thinking of it in terms of: as human beings, we end up working towards a very similar goal, remain mostly on the same playing field, out of insecurity. If that makes sense. I see it as: we establish a kind of order out of an inherent need to 'connect', since it's a big need.

I hope that others rarely do. It is not the responsibility of others to make you feel better. But, you are more than welcome to continue to judge others capacity to make you feel better and see how that works out for you in life.


You hope that others rarely do? See man, that's starting to sound like my kind of warped thinking. Do you really say this kind of stuff consistently on Psychology forums, which I assumed were partly here for intent of helping? Either way, it makes me view you leerily, as I'm sure you likewise must with me at this point.

See, yeah. This sounds like selfishness to me when you frame it as "it's not the responsibility of others to make you feel better". Sure, not a responsibility. But you would do it because it's 'the right thing to do', right? Giving's (helping others) good, right? It's partially contradicting what you're saying.

In other words people give, simply as a social norm that is intuitive, passed down through their DNA.


Right, I already stated the thrust of what you're saying here.
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0

#11

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 23, 2016 5:56 pm

Richard, I get some of what you're getting at though, maybe. You can't expect others to just give without reciprocating. Look, I have deep misanthropy however. A lot of it has to do with giving and giving and never seeing returned results. Compassion would make me in turn feel better and pay it forward. But compassion so rarely exists and almost never serves me well, that I can't help but think I'll experience much of it all, in any capacity. Not even in a long-term capacity. I know it's not like: do something good - > automatically receive something good in return.

Thus, selfishness was a defense mechanism I gradually developed. I started off being a very nice person, and to a lesser degree, still can be. But the urge to do is greatly lessened

Maybe you're a well-known a**hole around here (the forums). I don't know your backstory, but I'll just choose to believe you're not for the time being.
Last edited by Art Vandelay on Mon May 23, 2016 6:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0

#12

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Mon May 23, 2016 6:00 pm

Art Vandelay wrote:You hope that others rarely do? See man, that's starting to sound like my kind of warped thinking. Do you really say this kind of stuff consistently on Psychology forums, which I assumed were partly here for intent of helping? Either way, it makes me view you leerily, as I'm sure you likewise must with me at this point.


Why would I be leery of you? I think you may have misinterpreted my, "hope that others rarely do". I'm not saying I hope others do not treat you with kindness, I'm saying that regardless of others, you are responsible for your feelings. I hope that it would be a rare thing when you believe others have the responsibility to make you feel something.


See, yeah. This sounds like selfishness to me when you frame it as "it's not the responsibility of others to make you feel better". Sure, not a responsibility. But you would do it because it's 'the right thing to do', right? Giving's (helping others) good, right? It's partially contradicting what you're saying.


There is no contradiction, because I am not saying people do not give and I'm not saying that people do not experience feelings of responsibility. It goes back to whether or not you believe that you are responsible for your feelings or other people are responsible to provide you your feelings. People will try to make you feel better, but it is not up to them, they have little control over your feelings and the idea you expressed that "they rarely do" seems to place the burden on the others, rather than on yourself.

Maybe I am misinterpreting what you meant when you stated that others rarely make you feel better. Maybe I misread that paragraph, maybe it had nothing to do with your feelings. Maybe you were stating others rarely make you revise your stance.
User avatar
Richard@DecisionSkills
MVP
MVP
 
Posts: 10097
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 1016

#13

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 23, 2016 6:03 pm

Why would I be leery of you? I think you may have misinterpreted my, "hope that others rarely do". I'm not saying I hope others do not treat you with kindness, I'm saying that regardless of others, you are responsible for your feelings. I hope that it would be a rare thing when you believe others have the responsibility to make you feel something.


Ah. Well that clarifies things a bit. All you needed to tell me. Unfortunately though, the great irony is that I'm quite a bit dependent on validation from others.
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0

#14

Postby Art Vandelay » Mon May 23, 2016 6:15 pm

Had to keep following up with another post, because I was only able to edit my post X number of times.

People will try to make you feel better, but it is not up to them, they have little control over your feelings and the idea you expressed that "they rarely do" seems to place the burden on the others, rather than on yourself.


Well, that's wherein the distrust lies. I'm not sure I can buy yet that people will try to make me feel better. I see it so rarely.
Art Vandelay
New Member
 
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 10:12 pm
Likes Received: 0


Next

  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to Self Esteem & Confidence