Do we help people because we are selfish or selfless?

I really like you guys here in yahoo.I dont know if this is only in the philosophy category, but you guys are really intelligent and give good answers. So about this question i have been wondering about recently - When i am going out of my way to help people i cant help but feel that i am only doing it to satisfy some kind of need in me. Sure it makes the people im helping better, but at the end of the day it feels weird,creepy,disturbing that i am only helping people because it makes ME feel good. Im sure most of you guys have different opinions and feelings about this and honestly im really curious to read all of what you have to say on this.Excuse my mistakes for i am not a native speaker.

11 Answers

  • 4 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all, no one is truly selfless or purely altruistic. If they were, they would quickly die of dehydration and or starvation.

    Second, we do good deeds for many different reasons and to please one's self is a common one. It is okay if that is what motivates one to do good deeds. Doing good for any reason is still good.

    I see "doing the right thing" as my duty as a fellow human being. I do NOT believe in gods or karma or any of that stuff. I have been helped by strangers and I will always help another when I can. Sometimes it is very inconvenient and often turns into a pain in azz. But when all is said and done, I know I did the right thing, and if I feel a little pride or pleasure in knowing that; bonus!

  • 4 years ago

    I'm having trouble following you. It's true that some people go wrong in being helpful, or trying to be. There are people who try and don't know what they're doing, and although they mean well, they don't accomplish anything. Sometimes, people who don't know what they're doing can do more harm than good. Then there's people who are bothered by guilty consciences, and they try too hard,wear themselves out. You have to take care of yourself to care for others - make sure you're in good health, which means getting enough sleep and all that.

    If you like being helpful and you really are helping people, what in the world is wrong with that? Nothing so far as I can see. You see beauty in what's truly beautiful.

  • 4 years ago

    For me it must be purely selfish. I see someone in need of some money and I know I am not going to suffer any, I will give some to that person. I know it helps them (if anything) just to buy some smokes or pot or something else they like. In the end I have no idea. But I feel better for doing it.

  • Paul
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Feeling good helping others is a reasonable way to feel .It is not selfishness unless you take some advantage for doing so. The Emperor Justine was quiet clear about the when he said " Do good because good is good to do "

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    It seems likely that motives vary among people, i.e., not an "either/or" situation.

    "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them." HH Dalai Lama XIV

    "Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self." Saint Francis of Assisi

    "One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone." Shannon L. Alder ("300 Questions to Ask Your Parents before It's Too Late")

  • 4 years ago

    Who cares as long as you are helping someone ... The society has become so incompetent these days that helping another is not even a choice we want to make? Most of us just likes to stand & watch & take pictures..

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Well, in MY case, and I speak strictly for myself, I help others for the most selfish reason imaginable: it makes ME feel better.

  • 4 years ago

    I help others because I want them to be helped. Not because I need to satisfy some religious law to be "good" and feel good about myself. It's about them, not me. Whether they thank me or ignore me, I am satisfied.

  • Naguru
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Philosophically speaking, when we are confused and in a dilemma like this, we may take it either this way or that way. The level of confusion matters a lot here. It depends. Based on that we can surmise.

    Source(s): compiled
  • 4 years ago

    We help people because we are conditioned to. Whatever the intent of the conditioning in the end we are either trained to give or not. When we do it we do it out of habit.

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