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Are good deeds valueless if bragged about?


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#16    lightly

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 01:13 AM

if i saved a person from starvation    but then bragged about it...    is the person saved or starved?  

So,  while it might be ill mannered  to brag about a good deed,  the deed itself wouldn't necessarily loose all value?

Important:  The above may contain errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and other limitations.

#17    Paranoid Android

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 04:55 AM

I'm thinking more people than would like to think have selfish motivations for seemingly selfless acts. Maybe not as obvious as bragging about it but nonetheless for selfishness. There was an experiment done a few years back to see how people respond to certain situations. They got two cars and placed them at busy intersections, looking broken down. At one car, an elderly couple stood looking lost. At the other an equally lost young female blond bombshell.

Who stopped and helped which car? During the course of the experiment, one middle-aged man stopped to help the elderly couple, and that was it. Compare that to the many young men who stopped to help the woman. Each of those young men probably went home thinking "I've just done a good deed", but considering how many equally young men ignored the elderly couple, the fact that the woman was cute and possibly single must have played a part.

How many other good deeds do people do for other selfish reasons? Just thinking aloud :)

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#18    White Crane Feather

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 06:13 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 25 December 2012 - 04:55 AM, said:

I'm thinking more people than would like to think have selfish motivations for seemingly selfless acts. Maybe not as obvious as bragging about it but nonetheless for selfishness. There was an experiment done a few years back to see how people respond to certain situations. They got two cars and placed them at busy intersections, looking broken down. At one car, an elderly couple stood looking lost. At the other an equally lost young female blond bombshell.

Who stopped and helped which car? During the course of the experiment, one middle-aged man stopped to help the elderly couple, and that was it. Compare that to the many young men who stopped to help the woman. Each of those young men probably went home thinking "I've just done a good deed", but considering how many equally young men ignored the elderly couple, the fact that the woman was cute and possibly single must have played a part.

How many other good deeds do people do for other selfish reasons? Just thinking aloud :)
If you take that route, then in truth all good deeds are selfish. This would be the utilitarian approach. In truth, the man stoping for the elderly couple got some sort of satisfaction out of doing it. Some sort of utility. The rules of utility and economics would consider the man paid in someway for his actions, otherwise he would not have performed it in the first place.

I guess it's what kinds of actions give you utility that determines ones virtue.

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#19    Spiral staircase

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:16 AM

OK what about Mr. Good Deed who stops traffic to let someone else in.

He conveniences two people, the person he let in and himself so he can feel like a "good guy" but by doing so he inconvenienced everyone else behind him.

What is the karmic balance in this? Does stupidity in doing a good deed diminish the good deed?


#20    Spiral staircase

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:21 AM

View PostParanoid Android, on 25 December 2012 - 04:55 AM, said:

I'm thinking more people than would like to think have selfish motivations for seemingly selfless acts. Maybe not as obvious as bragging about it but nonetheless for selfishness. There was an experiment done a few years back to see how people respond to certain situations. They got two cars and placed them at busy intersections, looking broken down. At one car, an elderly couple stood looking lost. At the other an equally lost young female blond bombshell.

Who stopped and helped which car? During the course of the experiment, one middle-aged man stopped to help the elderly couple, and that was it. Compare that to the many young men who stopped to help the woman. Each of those young men probably went home thinking "I've just done a good deed", but considering how many equally young men ignored the elderly couple, the fact that the woman was cute and possibly single must have played a part.

How many other good deeds do people do for other selfish reasons? Just thinking aloud :)

Oh the "good folk" who will help everyone "they like and approve of".

Even those in their group will claim how "so and so" will go out of their way for others.

But they ignore everyone else or worse, wish them ill will if not part of their group.

Edited by I believe you, 25 December 2012 - 08:28 AM.


#21    Paranoid Android

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:25 AM

View PostSeeker79, on 25 December 2012 - 06:13 AM, said:

If you take that route, then in truth all good deeds are selfish. This would be the utilitarian approach. In truth, the man stoping for the elderly couple got some sort of satisfaction out of doing it. Some sort of utility. The rules of utility and economics would consider the man paid in someway for his actions, otherwise he would not have performed it in the first place.

I guess it's what kinds of actions give you utility that determines ones virtue.
in one sense you're quite right. Generosity is its own reward, and self-satisfaction is a good motivator for selfless deeds. However, IMO there are other reasons that are indeed "selfish" and also detract from the act - the desire to make oneself more desirable in the eyes of a potential mate, for example, while similar people withholding aide from others because it holds no personal benefit

Don't get me wrong, in one sense, all humans do things for selfish reasons, if there is no "pay off" we don't do it. But my opinion is that deriving satisfaction from a good act is more selfless than desiring some kind of personal outcome from that action.

Edited by Paranoid Android, 26 December 2012 - 12:44 AM.

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#22    Paranoid Android

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:26 AM

Sorry, my phone is acting strange tonight :blush:

Edited by Paranoid Android, 25 December 2012 - 08:27 AM.

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#23    Paracelse

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:11 AM

View PostlibstaK, on 23 December 2012 - 04:32 AM, said:

No rule steadfastly applies in every instance.  Buddha would be the first to also say that a Master knows when to bend and even break the Universal Laws of cause and effect.

If you do it as a plain "braggart" amongst friends to preen and show you are a generous soul, then it does no good.

Many however, do it to encourage and enlist others to also do good - by setting a public example not only to be charitable but to show that to life a full life does not mean you have to be selfish.

The only way a good deed would be recognized as such when the one who received the said deed talks about it.  Charity should be in anyone of us and shouldn't be used as an exemple.  When teaching children about charity, one should use other people and not the self.

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#24    libstaK

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 09:58 AM

View PostParacelse, on 25 December 2012 - 09:11 AM, said:

The only way a good deed would be recognized as such when the one who received the said deed talks about it.  Charity should be in anyone of us and shouldn't be used as an exemple.  When teaching children about charity, one should use other people and not the self.
Agreed, when teaching others about charity but I don't see why we should judge those who commit the charitable acts and advertise them either, we don't know their motives.

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#25    Paracelse

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 10:01 AM

View PostlibstaK, on 25 December 2012 - 09:58 AM, said:

Agreed, when teaching others about charity but I don't see why we should judge those who commit the charitable acts and advertise them either, we don't know their motives.
And yet people are bragging about JC Budha and others all the time ;),  Don't you think when teaching children it would be more ethical using others as exemple and at the same time showing the exemple while not talking about the self?  Just an opinion.

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#26    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 05:46 PM

George Lucas gave all the money he got from the  Star Wars franchise and gave it all to education, that was a buttload of cash, The fact that he would mention it to anyone doesnt take the amount of cash that it was and dimish it. Like it said before just because someone brags about the deed doesnt bring the value of said deed down.

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#27    Paracelse

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:35 PM

View PostR4z3rsPar4d0x, on 25 December 2012 - 05:46 PM, said:

George Lucas gave all the money he got from the  Star Wars franchise and gave it all to education, that was a buttload of cash, The fact that he would mention it to anyone doesnt take the amount of cash that it was and dimish it. Like it said before just because someone brags about the deed doesnt bring the value of said deed down.
he could have done anonimously ...

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#28    nothingliz

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 12:09 AM

To give with love and then brag about it is vanity.  It is then no love done but self-gratification.  Who recieves then the good of what you've done.  Let God then boast of you rather than men.  For if we honor the Father with our sufferings in his time he shall honor us.  But what honor of men shall ye recieve? All the more to boost your ego.  The Angels themselves seek to honor the Father and in honoring the Father they are honored.  So too should we do likewise for the fulfillment of love.

Edited by nothingliz, 26 December 2012 - 12:11 AM.


#29    SereneScene

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:50 AM

If I give a million dollars towards helping starving kids and feed their belly and change their life then a positive change has been made, regardless if I brag or not, not to mention I fed my ego as well, a win win situation.

If a millionare gives a million to those kids just to say he did or get some gain, it does not change the fact that he changed lives for the better...


#30    ReaperS_ParadoX

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:21 PM

View PostParacelse, on 25 December 2012 - 08:35 PM, said:

he could have done anonimously ...
Well we can go back and forth on this subject forever, But the fact is a lot of money was given to education and whether he brags about it or not theres still going to be a ton of money going to education

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