Civil War Man wrote:
They don't really work that way. Ronald McDonald Houses are basically like hostels or B&Bs for the families of patients, specifically newborns or small children, so they don't have to commute from home.
Then it would be selfless as your not required to work there in exchange for their help. Working for the common good with not expectation of return is selfless.
Civil War Man wrote:I'm not sure how one would expect a return from shipping prefab shelters to Haiti.
Civil War Man wrote:Anyway, I think your problem is that you define selfishness so broadly that it also encompasses people who do it out of empathy. If a woman were to, for example, survive breast cancer, you'd call her selfish for donating to breast cancer research, even though she could just as well be supporting the research because she knows first-hand how horrible the condition is and doesn't want anyone else to go through what she did.
If you directly benefit from your own actions (Like donating from a disease you suffer from) it can not be selfless. Surviving cancer is not like surviving a car crash or the flu. Once you have Cancer you can only fight it down to a manageable level or push it into remission. A woman who survives breast cancer is not cured, only out of direct danger from the tumor that was threatening her life. One of the most common problems with cancer after all is the cancer flaring back up.
Which brings me back to the point. What you benefit from can not be selfless by definition because you are expecting a benefit form it.
If I started a Leukemia Research foundation and took money from Phant and instead of spending the money on Leukemia research I spent it on hookers and blow he would be pissed. Why? Because he expected a return for his money. He expects that his donation no matter how humble will do something to fight a disease that so obviously impacted him. That expectation of the return is selfish.
You may say that's a high standard to match to which I say of course it is. It is hard to do good in this world. To act selflessly is a hard thing to do. We humans are a greedy short sighted bunch who conform to whatever social norms we happen to be born in and the vast majority of us never examine our own preconceptions for even an single hour of our lives. But we want to do good, very few people think they are bad people and will fit whatever cultural tradition has fitted us to believe is good and what is evil. In fact one of those cultural traditions is harming Phant right now because it seems he can not convince of the concept of a neutral act. To him an act of selfishness must be evil it is always evil because it implies focus on ones own needs above others. Yet he likely commits tends of thousands of these acts of selfishness every day, but he can ignore or rationalize away the other ones. After all he can't be a bad person and to be selfish is to be a bad person.
So he can't be selfish... because that would make him a bad person.
And there in lies his problem and where is anger comes from. He can not grasp the concept of the neutral act, all acts must be good or all acts must be evil. In his mind there is no room for anything else.