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Charlotte Philosophy Discussion Group Message Board › Contrary to Self-Interest

Contrary to Self-Interest

Charlotte, NC
Post #: 46
Brainstorm: Why do we persist in behaviors that are contrary to our best interest?

1. We persist through the force of habit. We are guided by social mores. We are uncertain about what is in our best interest.

2. Some philosophers believe that it is impossible to work contrary to our best interest. Our problem is not getting the consequence that we were working for.

3. We start out as young explorers and find out consequences of our behaviors; and then plan for our best interest.

4. Only I can determine my best interest. I consider other’s determination of my best interest as irrelevant and offensive.

5. The consequences of my behavior depend on other factors, which might make an outcome favorable for me. This can bring a situation where I do not believe that I deserve that outcome, which can lead to self-sabotage, i.e. behaving contrary to my best interest.

6. Many of our behaviors are motivated as part of a community, i.e. communal best interest.

7. Best interest can mean a favorable social position or fulfillment of my desires. These would motivate very different behaviors.

8. From the Buddhist perspective, seeking selfish interests leads to suffering; and helping others with their interest’s leads to happiness.

9. I view behaviors in terms of personal choice verses social pressure. For me, social pressure can result in a personal choice that runs contrary to the social pressure.

10. We obey because authority engenders fear for non-conformity.

11. Social belonging at times requires self sacrifice.
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