[Buddha-l] Altruism and selflessness?

lemmett at talk21.com lemmett at talk21.com
Sat Dec 4 06:53:22 MST 2010

> the denial of the self... can also be
> taken normatively,
> as you imply, as a stimulant for altruism and unbiased
> moral reasoning. I
> think both fail a methods to handle the world and to act
> well.

it seems that you think that we should not cherish the i as in have a self concept that is immune to revision but that any amount of hate or love for what we indeed are is perfectly reasonable. and that the prohibition against selfish desires does not extend to lessening ones own selfishness - as in putting one's own welfare before those of others.

assuming this is how you thought i was error i think i do see your reasons - altruistic acts need not be based on me wanting less and self hate or love can be creative and positive.

i can e.g. hate being a school teacher without that becoming hatred for myself or the fact that i am a school teacher. tbh it seems that you are recommending a way of thinking that i don't often engage in for whatever reason - i don't usually hate *myself* for being what i am but dislike being that. i don't think that means that i am engaged in any absurd denial of "me", just that i am not involved in valuing or devaluing myself on account of those things about me that should be changed.

i do not know of any argument for avoiding the kind of me and mine that i have explained i find difficult, except that it has never got me anywhere.

and whereas alturism is not a zero sum game it seems obvious that if we unreasonably put ourselves before others they might lose out; maybe i say this just because i have so many siblings...

i am interested in whether you do really think that we ought to focus on holding ourselves responsible for our successes and failures, rather than on the merit of our success or failure, as you do seem to and it seems relevant - not just some misunderstanding of language.



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