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Are good deeds valueless if bragged about?

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I was thinking about a Buddhist quotation today, unfortunately I can't remember it exactly, but it was something along the lines of: if you do a good deed but then you go around telling everyone that you did, it negates/diminishes in some measure, the value of the deed. What do you think about that? Surely this behaviour indicates that you are thinking not of benefitting others, but of yourself ...... your standing in the eyes of others?

That led me on to thinking about the current trend of climbing a mountain(usually in a foreign country!), or parachute-jumping etc to raise money for charity. It seems as if people can no longer simply raise money by explaining the value of the charity to others, but there has to be something in it for them too ...... they have to have (expensive)fun doing it. An acquaintance was telling me he was thinking of doing a parachute-jump to raise money for the local hospital. I was shocked at how much of the 'sponsor' money would be spent on the jump itself(hire of the plane etc); in effect, the sponsors would be paying for him to do something he had 'always wanted to do' ...... but hadn't actually bothered to save up for! The hospital would get nothing useful out of it.

I just wondered what others thought about this.

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if you do a good deed but then you go around telling everyone that you did, it negates/diminishes in some measure,

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I have always believed this. its not really a just a good deed if you want to recognision to boost your ego. A true good deed should not be bragged about, but there are some who have actually done something good and sort of shocked themselves...so maybe thats not quite bragging, but if they do another good deed and tell others again, well, now they are bragging.

As for the charity bit....do not get me started on some of those thieving bast.............

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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.

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Nothing can go one way. If people give repeatedly and get nothing in return that they want, sooner or later they are left with nothing.

If you see no value in telling a story. Well I'm sorry. It all depends on how you tell it though.

If the guy went and got a sponsor for the plane then posted what he was doing it for and give it time to actually make money, then I wouldn't see nothing wrong with it. The hospital is getting money for nothing and the guy is getting something he wants. That's a good deal.

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The deed would still have value but only to the receiver. The giver did not give since it was a selfish deed for the pride of bragging or some other ego gain by being a giver.

The hand that gives receives, you did not empty your hand in order to receive the real spiritual gift from the giving.

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Everyone wants to tell you all the good things they've done, its so boring its like showing someone an injury, quick as a flash everyone's showing you theirs...

I prefer to hear the nasty stuff..... real life..I want to hear everything bad you've ever done.

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bragging about good deeds is bad.

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if compassion arises ,pity !,empathy! it actually arises and we do something under the influence of this emotion............then its a cool thing why does anything else matter............

if bragging is a habit so be it........... overtime it will surface in the conciousness that its kind of stupid to brag.........and we overcome it.

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The people who brag about good deeds they did to gain acceptance, praise or admiration of other people (or worse, to make other people feel inferior to them) lose out on the real value of the deed, imo.

If the intent of telling others is to set an example or be an inspiration however, I don't think that applies. There is usually more a bit more modesty involved I think though. I was looking at a website a few days ago where people were sharing good things they had recently done (big and small) and felt really inspired by all of them; so much so that I've already "copied" a few of their ideas.

Ultimately though, it should be a personal thing, and deep down you know what your true intentions really are.

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I read yesterday of an anonymous donor who had phoned up Walmart and said he/she would pay for all the 'hold backs'(?). That's the right way to do it. imo

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I prefer to hear the nasty stuff..... real life..I want to hear everything bad you've ever done.

Why aren't good deeds considered "real life?" How very sad.

There's a big difference between bragging about good deeds and just sharing that you've done them. Sharing that you've done them can inspire others to do the same, though inviting them along is probably a better method.

Scamming people who think they're helping a hospital and really funding a super expensive stunt is, in my opinion, akin to fraud, unless it is clearly told to every donator that $50,000 will go to the stunt and $500 will go to the hospital... or whatever... Then if they choose to give money still, they're just idiots.

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As long as you're not lying about doing a good deed. If you actually did something, go on and brag a little, make the rest of us feel like rubes.

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If a truely good deed is done what does it mattter if the person brags about it, It doesnt take the deed that was done and reverse the value of it. The good deed still been done.

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I don't think it matters a whole lot. Surely people doing this to gain bragging rights are really just purchasing something for themselves, so it's not really a good deed in that regard even if the end result is good. It is really just a transaction. We see this all the time in corporations. The corporation will donate money or send it's workers to do something charitable, and then they will pay for an advertisement to show what they are doing.

In some native American cultures it was expected that you boast about your acomplishnents and the morality and stories behind them.

The ones that really get me are the ones that boast about their humility. "I am a humble person" is about the least humble thing one could express. These are the ones that attack others for not being humble, but really are exahalting their own "humbleness"

I personally think there is nothing wrong with expressing your deeds, as long as you are doing the deeds because they speak to you, and not just to be able to speak about them.

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I believe if you are truly doing a good deed, you would do so selflessly. I saw some post on Facebook, with over "60,000 likes", made by some guy claiming to have bought some stuff for a homeless man. All I saw is that he was jut trying to get the image of being a "nice guy". With the hidden agenda of having people see him in a better light.

Now, I'm not saying that you can't do things like this. Maybe if it was done in order to teach people what they should be grateful for or any moral of the story sort of stuff but not simply proclaiming to the world how great of a person you are. When, in reality, all you did is for yourself.

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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?

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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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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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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?

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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
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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

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Sorry, my phone is acting strange tonight :blush:

Edited by Paranoid Android

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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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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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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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