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Author Topic: The Purpose of Charity  (Read 4962 times)

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Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #150 on: January 30, 2014, 11:51:15 PM »
In my opinion, what you're saying is, "It's my right to pass judgment and apply my own definitions and motives to anyone, no matter what they say."

Is that what you're trying to communicate?

I mean... how on earth can you relate to people in an empathetic manner if you're running everything through the filter of what you believe to be true of their meaning and motives?

Edit:  Forgive me for not quoting, that was directed at DW.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #151 on: January 30, 2014, 11:59:34 PM »
It's not that I'm missing her point. I don't believe so anyway. I've already stated that she is correct, and I will not tell her she is wrong, because she is not. I'm simply stating that I don't view her opinion as right either. Just that we simply have different ways of interpreting the words which we are trying to use.

Clearly I'm misunderstanding your point then.  I agree with you one hundred per cent that word usage is individual and idiosyncratic and relying on definitions unhelpful.  I also, albeit to a lesser extent, support you in holding a definition and understanding that makes sense to you.

Where you lose me is in my attempt to understand precisely what that definition is.  You believe that IO - I would, for the record, suggest we make up a hypothetical person rather than personalising this in the avatar of IO, but that's by the by - is acting in self-interest.  You've defined your terms of self-interest and as I say I personally have no issue with them.  I don't see, even using your terms, the self interest though.

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #152 on: January 31, 2014, 12:03:57 AM »
I used to be confrontational when I discussed things online without even realizing it, I thought I was just opinionated. :)  Studying Non-Violent Communication helped me to understand where I was forcing my beliefs on others by not recognizing and owning my own filters/biases, let alone truly listening to what others were trying to convey. 

http://www.cnvc.org/about/what-is-nvc.html

There's also a wealth of information about logical fallacies at http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=24136.0 :)

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #153 on: January 31, 2014, 12:12:16 AM »
I would definitely agree to making up a hypothetical person for this because I am becoming downright offended at this point and trying very hard to not be.

Here is what I am understanding. My actions are done because I want to do them (this would be correct) and thus that makes them fall under self-interest to DW. Now, I do not see how that works in her mind because she has already said that the definition she is going by is "in one's own interest". Using the definition "in one's own interest" is not the same as "wanting to do it."

In one's own interest quite simply means that it is in MY interest - I get something that benefits me out of what I do. Now, I have asked, repeatedly, for DW to tell me what I get out of my charitable deeds, and she has deigned to ignore the request.

So let me answer my own question. I get nothing that benefits me out of my charitable deeds. I spend my own money, I put miles on my own car, I use my own gas, I use my own free time. I get nothing in return, I expect nothing in return.  I do not claim my charitable donations on my taxes. I do not proclaim my charitable deeds to everyone around me, so I do not get pats on the back or recognition for what I do. 

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #154 on: January 31, 2014, 12:17:56 AM »
My philosophy is more in line with IO, but both of you should realize that what you are discussing does not represent differing views of charity, but simply differing definitions of the word, 'self-interest.'

DW is using a very broad definition - that is justified on a theoretical level, while IO is using a more working definition - that is justified on an everyday, realistic level.

Empirically, both of you are correct in your views, which is why this discussion is not making much headway at this point.  I recommend focusing on the semantics of this word, if we want to progress this discussion, without repeating ourselves.

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #155 on: January 31, 2014, 12:22:18 AM »
ValthazarElite brings up a brilliant point. The words "self-interest" have been used so much in this conversation with the meaning taken for granted that they do, indeed, seem meaningless now. It would be good to establish what self-interest is as compared to other terms such as greed, and at what point does self-interest cease to be self-interest, and starts becoming something else?

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #156 on: January 31, 2014, 12:25:14 AM »
IO addressed the actual definition a few posts ago...

Self interest (noun): concern only for getting what you want or need and not about what happens to other people.

: your own interest or advantage.

Full definition of self-interest
1. A concern for one’s own advantage and well-being <acted out of self-interest and fear>
2. One’s own interest or advantage <self-interest requires that we be generous in foreign aid>

Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-interest

Or are we all making up our own? :)

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #157 on: January 31, 2014, 12:27:16 AM »
Kythia, you pretty much have it right.

I view every person in this world to be related to me. You are all my brothers and sisters. All family to me. We are all related (not going to go into the whole biology aspect of this, it would take too long and it's too late at night for me).

And ....

Please, please, tell me what "I am not saying your wrong. Just that to me you aren't right." means. What else is there but right and wrong? If you are saying I am not right, then you are, indeed, saying I am wrong. The moment you tell me YOUR opinion of my being wrong, you are telling ME I am wrong.

I think you need to find a better way to explain yourself. You are talking yourself in circles, not answering direct questions placed to you and deflecting.

So, by your definitions here, you are wrong. You do not know why I do what I do. You do not even know me. Thus, you have no possible way of knowing what goes through my mind when I do the things I do. Just as you have no way of knowing why anyone else does the things they do. The only person you know is yourself, and in the interest of not causing strife, it would probably be better to not insult strangers by telling them they are wrong just because things don't fit your meanings.

Just because something is not right, doesn't make it wrong. This again appears to be another matter that we have differing views on, to the point that I don't believe that continuing this discussion would have any merit or accomplish anything. I have answered every question you have given me to the extent that I feel them to be fully answered. I'm sorry you don't feel as if my answers have answered the questions you have directed at me but they are the only ones that I can give to express my opinion in the way that it can be expressed.

In my opinion, what you're saying is, "It's my right to pass judgment and apply my own definitions and motives to anyone, no matter what they say."

Is that what you're trying to communicate?

I mean... how on earth can you relate to people in an empathetic manner if you're running everything through the filter of what you believe to be true of their meaning and motives?

Edit:  Forgive me for not quoting, that was directed at DW.

I never said I relate to people in an empathetic manner. I view people and humanity in a way most people don't and I have always known that. My words were in no way offensive nor were they meant to be. I'm sorry if they did offend anyone, but I would not change them. They are what I believe and that was the purpose of writing in this forum.

Clearly I'm misunderstanding your point then.  I agree with you one hundred per cent that word usage is individual and idiosyncratic and relying on definitions unhelpful.  I also, albeit to a lesser extent, support you in holding a definition and understanding that makes sense to you.

Where you lose me is in my attempt to understand precisely what that definition is.  You believe that IO - I would, for the record, suggest we make up a hypothetical person rather than personalising this in the avatar of IO, but that's by the by - is acting in self-interest.  You've defined your terms of self-interest and as I say I personally have no issue with them.  I don't see, even using your terms, the self interest though.

I'm simply stating that by using my terms, that anytime anyone does anything, it is in an act of self-interest.

Offline Kythia

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #158 on: January 31, 2014, 12:30:51 AM »
I'm simply stating that by using my terms, that anytime anyone does anything, it is in an act of self-interest.

Well, I guess given that you're pretty much spot on then.  I would perhaps question if that's a "useful" definition to use- it seems to make a lot of other words redundant - but that's another issue entirely.

Fair enough.  Thanks for clearing that up

Offline Moondazed

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #159 on: January 31, 2014, 12:32:44 AM »
I never said I relate to people in an empathetic manner. I view people and humanity in a way most people don't and I have always known that. My words were in no way offensive nor were they meant to be. I'm sorry if they did offend anyone, but I would not change them. They are what I believe and that was the purpose of writing in this forum.

I don't know how old you are, but you've probably figured out that lack of empathy doesn't lead to connection with other people and is associated with numerous psychological disorders.  If it's a conscious choice you make I can't say I understand why you'd make that choice, but to each their own.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #160 on: January 31, 2014, 12:34:09 AM »
I was referring more to having a discussion on the interpretation of that definition itself.  For example, what constitutes "one's own advantage" within the context of a charitable act?

DW, while I can certainly understand why you are holding your perspective (due to your interpretation of this definition), I am struggling to see how you are expanding the interpretation of 'own advantage' so broadly to encompass selfless acts as well.  Better put, I am not sure such an expansive interpretation is even justified, considering that it would then seem to encompass almost ever human behavior - which hits on Kythia's point.

Perhaps your acknowledgement that you may not relate to people in an empathetic manner makes this more of a unique outlook to you, as an individual, rather than representative of the views of most others.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #161 on: January 31, 2014, 12:35:07 AM »
At this point, I am bowing out. I am offended by DW's continued insistence that she is right and everyone else is wrong. Nor do I see any reason to continue the discussion with someone who cannot actually carry on a discussion, per her own words.

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #162 on: January 31, 2014, 12:35:47 AM »
Well, I guess given that you're pretty much spot on then.  I would perhaps question if that's a "useful" definition to use- it seems to make a lot of other words redundant - but that's another issue entirely.

Fair enough.  Thanks for clearing that up

I agree. But that's the simplest way to put it. Basically I see it as if someone is taking the time to do something, there's an act of self-interest involved. I realize that it's not the most useful definition nor one that many people like. But I'm sorry for confusing you at first.

I don't know how old you are, but you've probably figured out that lack of empathy doesn't lead to connection with other people and is associated with numerous psychological disorders.  If it's a conscious choice you make I can't say I understand why you'd make that choice, but to each their own.

Just barely out of my teen years. I don't have many connections with other people on a personal level. It's just the way I live I suppose. I'm sorry for the confusion.

I was referring more to having a discussion on the interpretation of that definition itself.  For example, what constitutes "one's own advantage" within the context of a charitable act?

DW, while I can certainly understand why you are holding your perspective (due to your interpretation of this definition), I am struggling to see how you are expanding the interpretation of 'own advantage' so broadly to encompass selfless acts as well.  Better put, I am not sure such an expansive interpretation is even justified, considering that it would then seem to encompass almost ever human behavior - which hits on Kythia's point.

Perhaps your acknowledgement that you may not relate to people in an empathetic manner makes this more of a unique outlook to you, as an individual, rather than representative of the views of most others.

I never said my view was right to others, nor that I represent everyone. Just that it's how I see it.

Offline TorterrableTopic starter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #163 on: January 31, 2014, 12:38:36 AM »
I agree with ValthazarElite in that, while there does exist a dictionary definition, with self-interest, as with heavily weighted words such as "love", there needs to be more focus on what the word might mean in certain contexts.

DreamingWriter, you are at the point that I have gotten to before in the argument. So you think that everything originates with self-interest, correct? Well, assuming (without a solid definition of self-interest, I must make ado with my sad one) that self interest means that one seeks benefits for one's own self, what benefits does one who does charity in a way that seemingly does not benefit him or herself (as he or she spends time, money, and effort and receives no recognition or breaks) reap? Where does the self-interest lead to there?

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #164 on: January 31, 2014, 01:00:43 AM »
I agree with ValthazarElite in that, while there does exist a dictionary definition, with self-interest, as with heavily weighted words such as "love", there needs to be more focus on what the word might mean in certain contexts.

DreamingWriter, you are at the point that I have gotten to before in the argument. So you think that everything originates with self-interest, correct? Well, assuming (without a solid definition of self-interest, I must make ado with my sad one) that self interest means that one seeks benefits for one's own self, what benefits does one who does charity in a way that seemingly does not benefit him or herself (as he or she spends time, money, and effort and receives no recognition or breaks) reap? Where does the self-interest lead to there?

I can't know. As I said before, no one will ever know exactly what benefit you that others get from what they do. We don't have enough deep seated understanding of the human brain for such an argument to be proved nor disproved. But I believe that at some level, everything anyone does, Either charity, going to work, getting up in the morning, is done for self-interest on some level. Even if it isn't a conscious level.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #165 on: January 31, 2014, 01:07:16 AM »
But I believe that at some level, everything anyone does, Either charity, going to work, getting up in the morning, is done for self-interest on some level. Even if it isn't a conscious level.

I acknowledge this view point, but I am simply asking for you to substantiate a bit on it.  That's the premise of a discussion or debate, isn't it?

It appears that you view having a 'moral duty' for performing a selfless act, as an example of self-interest in and of itself.  My question to you is, why do you feel that this broad definition is justified?  What advantage do we get from describing it in this very academic, theoretical manner, when for all intents and purposes, our colloquial use of the word 'self-interest' is quite different.

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #166 on: January 31, 2014, 01:11:55 AM »
I acknowledge this view point, but I am simply asking for you to substantiate a bit on it.  That's the premise of a discussion or debate, isn't it?

It appears that you view having a 'moral duty' for performing a selfless act, as an example of self-interest in and of itself.  My question to you is, why do you feel that this broad definition is justified?  What advantage do we get from describing it in this very academic, theoretical manner, when for all intents and purposes, our colloquial use of the word 'self-interest' is quite different.

That is correct. I suppose it's the way I have always viewed it, and there is no way to prove that it is wrong, and I have seen no reason to change my belief, so it stands as it is.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #167 on: January 31, 2014, 01:17:01 AM »
Against better judgment here...

DreamingWriter, I have the very distinct impression you are trolling. You are asked to substantiate, you do not. You are asked to answer questions, you do not. You are not discussing, you are seeking to get a rise out of someone. It would be nice if you could actually participate in the discussion instead of stubbornly insisting you are right and everyone else is wrong without actually contributing anything else.

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #168 on: January 31, 2014, 01:44:45 AM »
I am not. I have given my point of view on the subject multiple times. I've answered every question you have asked me. Point out a single question I did not answer? I'm sorry that my views do not match the general populations, and I have already said that you are all right in your own opinions. I will not adjust my opinion to follow someone elses just because no one else believes the same thing I do.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #169 on: January 31, 2014, 01:47:28 AM »
I am not. I have given my point of view on the subject multiple times. I've answered every question you have asked me. Point out a single question I did not answer? I'm sorry that my views do not match the general populations, and I have already said that you are all right in your own opinions. I will not adjust my opinion to follow someone elses just because no one else believes the same thing I do.

I am being very respectful to you, and fully acknowledge your views as legitimate ones.  I am simply asking for clarification, so I can understand how you are developing your ideas.  I asked a few questions in my prior post.

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #170 on: January 31, 2014, 01:49:06 AM »
I am being very respectful to you, and fully acknowledge your views as legitimate ones.  I am simply asking for clarification, so I can understand how you are developing your ideas.  I asked a few questions in my prior post.

 I'm sorry I forgot to quote, that was directed at the post above mine, not at you. The answer to yours is above that one.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #171 on: January 31, 2014, 01:56:56 AM »
You are being asked for clarification. Answering "That is correct. I suppose it's the way I have always viewed it, and there is no way to prove that it is wrong, and I have seen no reason to change my belief, so it stands as it is." is not clarification. It isn't even an answer. It is, yet again, a stance. A proclamation of you being right and no one being able to tell you that you are wrong. It is unyielding and it shows an inability to actually participate in a discussion because you refuse to acknowledge any position but your own.

Now, if you can add clarification to your stance then you would be participating in the discussion. As is, you are not. You are stirring the pot.

Oh, and to point out the question you have continually ignored and tried not to answer...

"Now, I have asked, repeatedly, for DW to tell me what I get out of my charitable deeds, and she has deigned to ignore the request." Using your rather impossibly broad definition of self interest and that anything ever done is done because it is in one's own interest, tell me what I get out of my charitable deeds. And no deflecting answer of "I can't possibly know that." You claim you are right and every single person on this planet acts in their own interest in all matters, that means you know what each person gets out of it.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 02:01:49 AM by Iniquitous Opheliac »

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #172 on: January 31, 2014, 02:14:43 AM »
There is nothing for me to clarify. I'm sorry that my responses are not enough for you but that is all there is too them. I have a broad view of what self-interest is. It is a circular argument of "Someone does something, they have to want to do it, otherwise it wouldn't have happened" There is no way for me to know what it is that made them want to do it, I just know that the human brain wouldn't have let it happen if there wasn't a desire somewhere for them to want it, and in fulfilling their want to do it, they are in turn acting with a self-interest in mind.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #173 on: January 31, 2014, 02:19:26 AM »
DreamingWriter, don't feel that we are trying to pick on you.  It is just that this is a discussion and debate sub-forum, so the entire purpose is to be open about the underlying basis of our perspectives, and analyze why we hold the views we do.

For example, I was interested in knowing why you are using this broad, theoretical definition of self-interest versus the definition of self-interest that we use in daily life.

Offline DreamingWriter

Re: The Purpose of Charity
« Reply #174 on: January 31, 2014, 02:21:20 AM »
And I've said that none of you are wrong, there can be multiple right ways too look at things that aren't based on fact. Which this is. I don't understand why that's so hard to get.

To answer your question. I have always used it. I suppose that I gave up on humanity and don't believe in people doing things that don't interest themselves at some level, and it lead to this. But psychoanalyzing yourself is difficult so it's only a guess.