What's In It For Me?-A Controversial World View

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This is my world view.

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First of all, let us establish that the ultimate goal in life is to gain as much happiness as possible. Nothing else matters for me. My only objective is to be as happy as possible when I die. Also, more pleasure equals to more happiness.

So when someone asks me to help someone else purely for the sake of helping them, I have to stop and think. Does the intangible pleasure of helping someone outweigh the troubles I have to go to in order to help that person? Most of the time, no, it does not. So I don’t help.

In other words, not helping gives me more happiness(or rather, causes me to lose less happiness) than helping. Thus, logically I should not help someone because of compassion or graciousness or gratefulness or anything like that.

Let us take the problem of the old woman on the train.

Most of us would automatically let an old woman have our seat if we saw one. Such behavior has been ingrained in us since birth; negatively reinforced, as our parents reprimand us every time we do not give way to an old woman. Even I sometimes act on this reflex. I still haven’t kicked this bad habit.

But really, the last time you gave up your seat for an old woman, you weren’t thinking,“Ah, how nice it is to display compassion”. You were probably thinking,“Damn, I hate standing up.”

Which would mean that the pleasure of displaying compassion to an old woman does not outweigh the displeasure of standing up. By my logic, it would mean that less pleasure is lost by sitting down than by standing up. Since more pleasure means more happiness, and our objective is to be as happy as possible, we should not let the old woman take our seat.

This sort of “does X outweigh Y in terms of happiness?” thinking, or rather the “What’s it in for me?” thinking, will, in the long run, lead to more happiness, as you make the right choices in terms of happiness every time.

The obvious argument against this:assuming I like to eat chocolate, wouldn’t it make sense for me to steal chocolate?

No, it would not. The displeasure of taking on the risk of the even greater displeasure of getting caught far outweighs the pleasure of stealing the chocolate.

Now that the obvious argument has been put out of the way, can anyone find any objections against this world view? Yes, I know that it “doesn’t follow our society’s moral values”. But society is not known for making smart choices. Perhaps the moral values are not as good, and ultimately does not give us as much happiness, as we thought.

Discuss.

 
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Addendum:By my world view, by the way, it is okay to help someone if you think that helping them will help you as well. For example, if you’re trying to impress a rich client who is noted for her strict moral values, you would let an old woman take your seat as the displeasure of standing up far outweighs the pleasure of impressing the client, which would lead to an even greater pleasure of sealing the deal and pocketing a healthy commission.

 
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For me to be able to participate in this thread,, it is very important to know if the above positions are, indeed, YOUR PERSONAL “world view”.

It’s a whooooole lot easier to strongly “attack” a position when it is presented as NOT BEING that of a personal nature of the OP.

BUT, I can say this: a view such as the above is extreeeemly full of “holes”. It fails to take into many factors….IMPORTANT FACTORS. Most of what ya’re describing is little more than childish selfishness. Such “me-me-me-me” ideology is best exercised ONLY in a colony of masochists.

OH, btw… only a very foolish person fails to take into a particular form of “what-is-in-it-for-me”. Or, most apply stated: what are all the ramifications concerning ME should I become involved or NOT become involved. This is simple “common sense”.

 
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I’ve always looked at happiness as two parts, Pleasure and Joy. Sure it would give my legs Pleasure to sit in that seat like a selfish fat * while the elderly woman stands, but I sure wouldn’t be feeling any Joy at myself. Now if I stood up than sure I would be like “Dangit, I hate standing up” but on the inside I would very well pleased with myself for making someone else’s life better. In other words, I would be feeling Joy not Pleasure. Pleasure is only for yourself and lasts short, Joy lasts long ,if not forever, and helps not only yourself but the others around you.

 
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Damn, acedragon….I already like ya. A really fine reply to the OP.

I hope I can (soon?) find the time to expound on it.

Until then, I ask ya to read this to see how much of it expresses YOUR ideology there.

 
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All this text just to say you’re selfish and egoistic?

Survival of the fittest, what you’re essentially agreeing on, is that selfish bastards, sneaky criminals, corrupt politicians, and rich bank directors rule the world and punish the poor for not being enough of an asshole. The more people with this world view, the more people you convince of also taking this world view. The more people you have to fight to get your supposed “pleasure”. Gangsters find pleasure in beating the crap out of you, Helltank, so them keeping your world view will do exactly that. And you’ll have to suck it up, because those corrupt politicians of yours keeping the same world view really don’t give a crap about you. Oh, you’re in the hospital? Better cough up all of your life savings if you want to be healed. Don’t forget that you can be kicked out of the hospital halfway through if some rich prick buys off half of the floor. And don’t even think about having a seat with your poor, broken legs. There’s some pretty tough-looking guys seated already and they don’t seem convinced you need the seat more than them.

So, basically, you have to adjust your world view to be the sneakiest, most egoistic, worst criminal on the planet to prevent those other bastards from stealing your precious pleasure.

What a wonderful world we live in.

 
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selfish hedonism (or hedonistic egoism, w/e). nothing new about this concept. and Kant i think would bury your ass (never read Kant).

if everyone lived the way you do, then mathematically, you, along with everyone else, would necessarily be far less happy than if everyone acted from utilitarian considerations.

hence your ideals would lose. however, the problem with utilitarianism is that one hedonist within a utilitarian society would win from the utilitarians. so your way would win only if you can trick every other person in the world to adopt a contradicting position.

this is where my ideals of treating others as they would treat you comes from. (and no, this is the reverse of the biblical ‘treat others as you would have them treat you’.)
be an egoist to egoists, and a utilitarian to utilitarians. it needs to be repricotional, or it’s self-hurting.
game theory proves my position.

 
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But really, the last time you gave up your seat for an old woman, you weren’t thinking,“Ah, how nice it is to display compassion”. You were probably thinking,“Damn, I hate standing up.”

Actually, I don’t have any issues with giving up my seat for the elderly. It would inconvenience her far more to stand up than it would me, so I stand. Some people are just nice. ;)

(Sometimes I even move so that parents can sit together with their baby. Outrageous!)

 
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My World veiw is That helping someone is Also Helping you and my goal in life is to become dicatator over all. We each have differnt goals in life.

 
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Just to wander and say this, your world view perfectly matches mine.

Incidentally, I can tell you about the “Selfish moralist” idea my boyfriend says he is, as he brought up in a moral discussion we had. He says he does “Good” things becuase it makes him feel good. So he follows morality because it gives him pleasure. It doesn’t do so for me, so he’s perfectly fine with me being as uncaring about morality as I am. So he would give up him seat to an old woman, simply because his habits make that feel good to him. So he more or less follows your world view, but with some of the parameters of what gives happiness (Openly) modified.

 
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My world view seems to be a bit different than yours, but It serves me well.

I can find happiness either alone, or with the company of others. But I can be much more happy, if everyone around me is happy (nobody wants to be around depressed, sad people). So I try to make others happy, I try to make my world a better place. I’m just trying to improve my corner of the world for everyone else there. I’m not aiming for Nobel Prize level level happiness spreading. Just in my world, my house, street, job, friends, neighborhood, If everyone, and everything I interact with is in a happy mood, it cheers everyone up. My goal in life, be happy, by spreading happiness to others. Theres a quote I heard that explains it well (cant remember who said it) “The World is a sad, depressing, hell hole, so don’t include your home in that world.”

 
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Originally posted by Bobneson:

Maybe a goal that you can actually achieve would be better.

 
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Your flawed premise can erroneously lead to any conclusion possible. “Happiness” is an human artifact, dreamed up via self interest. The true, ultimate goal in life is to procreate and keep your species alive. It is by this mechanism, irrespective of the mentality or the means by which copulation is achieved, that life goes.

Contemporary evolutionary biologists, e.g. Richard Dawkins, assert that, were every genome written to be selfish, we would die out. There is, however, a selfish gene that can also be branded as the “tit-for-tat” gene, where you reciprocate behavior done to you, but always initialize with niceness. These organisms continue to survive, due to mutual benefit.

In other words, my argument against your world view is twofold: firstly, you are out for only yourself, and justify this on a flawed, biased premise, designed in order to assist in your self interest. Secondly, it is biologically disadvantageous to act in only your self interest, irrespective of the interest of others. The elder hermit dies alone, without a legacy. (Nota Bene: One may be a mental hermit in the scenario you describe. Assimilated he may be, divorced from connection he remains.)

 
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Seems just about right for most people I’ve met. Just take into account pleasure derived from acting upon your morals, as well as general praise for being “good” and the the feeling of moral superiority and you can explain most choices with seeking pleasure. Nothing wrong with that, society balances its needs by punishing “bad” choices and rewarding “good” ones.

 
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If you’re a selfish prick you won’t have friends.
If you don’t have friends you won’t be as happy.
Thus, you doing that will lose more happiness than whatever you were going to do for short term happiness.

 
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So I assume you never get pleasure out of being nice to people or doing good?

 
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I’m surprised no one has yet brought up antisocial personality disorder..
Maybe I see the OP this way because I’ve had the “opportunity” to be around them (in a unique capacity).

I like what Darkruler said on this subject. He pretty much hit the proverbial nail right on the head.

 
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Someone’s been reading too much Ayn Rand.

 
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I’m going to respond to each and every single one of your posts, because, as KKK so aptly states, my world view is full of holes, and I want to patch them up by clarifying or explaining things.

@KKK post 1:You fail to tell me what exactly are the holes in my world view and you’re basically just telling me “Helltank you masochist your position is full of fail”.

@acedragon:Not me. I would feel a neutral amount of Joy(or if there are any Joy changes, they are small enough to be rendered negligible by the Pleasure swings) in the Old Woman On Train case.

@KKK post 2:You agreed with acedragon and linked to a site my computer can’t access for some reason. Nothing much here.

@Darkruler:Selfish bastards, sneaky criminals, corrupt politicians and rich bank directors and “the fittest” ALREADY rule the world. Which is why I’m advocating becoming one of them. If I drop some moral values along the way, well, I never liked the damn things. And, by the way, I don’t recommend crime. See the quote on why I would not steal chocolate.

@OmegaDoom:True. If everyone thought like me, my pleasure would take a shortcut downtown. Which is why I adopted this world view. I adopted it precisely because very few people think like me. My whole plan for getting happiness hinges on the assumption that humans are sheep and will automatically adopt a contradicting world view. Which is not a wild assumption.

@ParaNoir:That’s because your pleasure downswing is neutral or negligible when you give up your seat, while your joy upswing is significant. In that case, since the pleasure of giving up your seat outweighs the pleasure of sitting down, you should give up your seat.

@Bobneson:Your post was off-topic. Furthermore, the two parts of your post, your World View and your Goal in Life, have no logical bridge between each other. It’s like you’re just spouting stuff off the top of your head.

@Ponkiny:What your boyfriend does is exactly what I recommend to ParaNoir. Do what gives you happiness and screw everyone else(unless screwing everyone else causes you to lose happiness).

@tenco1:You wrote an off-topic post about an off-topic post. I have no comment to this.

@SavagedSavant:I don’t really care about being biologically disadvantageous. Richard Dawkins may be right and I may have genes that want me to procreate, but currently they’re deactivated, haven’t activated yet or are simply subconsciously ignored. And I don’t mind being a mental hermit. I’ve been one all my life; might as well take advantage of that.

@TheKnifeGrinder:You made an off-topic post that had bad grammar, spelling and punctuation. Furthermore, this badly written off-topic post was about an off-topic post.

@Suicidal_waffles, for me, the pleasure derived from being morally right or morally superior is nil or negligible when compared to the material pleasure I derive from doing selfish things.

@Moderated:I don’t need friends to be happy. Also, I can act like I’m not a selfish prick in front of my friends. In other words, giving up short term pleasure in return for long term pleasure in the form of a good friend.

@KKK post 3:I have not been diagnosed with that disorder. Also, your entire existence seems to revolve around agreeing with people. Out of your 3 posts on this thread, two were simply agreements and links to other websites.

@softest_voice:I didn’t even know who Ayn Rand was until I Googled her. And may I point out that my world view(which I shall call Selective Selfishness) is NOT Objectivism.

 
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The long and short of what you’ve written up as your philosophy, and Rand’s objectivism, are that man is meant to pursue his own happiness as the sole moral purpose of his life.

Call it what you want, it boils down to about the same thing.
Not really critiquing, just pointing out the similarities.

Personally, I feel selfishness as a way of life is kinda bullshit. But that’s my opinion, and in no way represents a hard and fast rule.
As a result, I feel that you’re no more than a child. I feel that empathy and sympathy are something that develops with maturity. But there are those that feel exactly the opposite is the case, so hey…who knows?

 
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I read the Wikipedia article about Objectivism. There was some fairly deep shit about metaphysics and stuff.

 
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Selfish bastards, sneaky criminals, corrupt politicians and rich bank directors and “the fittest” ALREADY rule the world.

That’s exactly what I said, and that’s a shitty outlook on life if you want everyone to become egoistic assholes instead of trying to actually be decently kind.

 
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Originally posted by helltank:

I’m going to respond to each and every single one of your posts, because, as KKK so aptly states, my world view is full of holes, and I want to patch them up by clarifying or explaining things.

ONE: It NOW appears that YOU deign to respond to my: “For me to be able to participate in this thread,, it is very important to know if the above positions are, indeed, YOUR PERSONAL “world view”.”

TWO: Did YOU not see my quotation marks on your “HOLES”? I’m sorry if ya’ve missed my explanation that when I do so,,,,one should be somewhat careful in applying THEIR OWN meaning to it.

@KKK post 1:You fail to tell me what exactly are the holes in my world view and you’re basically just telling me “Helltank you masochist your position is full of fail”.

Please, see above.

@KKK post 2:You agreed with acedragon and linked to a site my computer can’t access for some reason. Nothing much here.

It is a link to The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It is a good read,,,I highly recomend it…for all ppl. The part of the book I recomended for reading was “On Giving”….something highly related to the topic here.

@Darkruler:Selfish bastards, sneaky criminals, corrupt politicians and rich bank directors and “the fittest” ALREADY rule the world. Which is why I’m advocating becoming one of them. If I drop some moral values along the way, well, I never liked the damn things.

Are ya familiar w/ the concept of: What goes around…comes around? Are YOU fully prepared to ACCEPT the harshness of YOUR OWN philosophy being shoved up YOUR ass?

@KKK post 3:I have not been diagnosed with that disorder.

That is good….I guess. BTW, hope ya didn’t see my using it’s assessment of your OP as being a personal one for YOU. Afterall, I did make a “disclaimer” about not knowing if YOU were speaking about YOUR PERSONAL life.

Also, your entire existence seems to revolve around agreeing with people. Out of your 3 posts on this thread, two were simply agreements and links to other websites.

Give all of that a weeeebit of thought…..I think ya’ll soon see the absolute “fail” in it. Good grief,,,,since when is agreeing w/ someone here and providing a link to support ones position on an issue a “bad” thing? I think most here are laughing quite heartedly about how my ""entire existence revolviing around agreeing….."". How odd of ya that ya haven’t noticed that my thinking is quite eclectic.

@softest_voice:I didn’t even know who Ayn Rand was until I Googled her. And may I point out that my world view(which I shall call Selective Selfishness) is NOT Objectivism.

I might suggest that if one were to make a modern-day assessment of her ideology, esp. that of laizze-faire capitalism for (lack of regulation) for big business (esp. the evil, sociopathic kind)…..then, ya just might see there is a huge parallel between this modern concept of hers and YOUR “Selctive Selfishness”.
 
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Doesn’t living this way create and empty world and an empty life?