late night ponderings

Amongst my random thought trails, I’ve recently revisited certain ponderings regarding selflessness. I remember going to a friend’s psychology lecture back in uni and the lecturer posited that there was no such thing as a truly selfless act because the person doing whatever it was would always gain something from it – if not something material, then perhaps something like gratitude, recognition or reputation.

I’ve tended to agree with that, but recently challenged the idea. You see, I reckon you can have a truly selfless act so long as it remains anonymous. If no one knows that you did it, you cannot receive gratitude or things like that. However, if it is anonymous, any recipients or observers wouldn’t be able to judge that it was truly selfless. It wouldn’t be possible to determine that there wasn’t an ulterior motive. In which case, it still technically does not exist as a truly selfless act.

It’s sort of like that riddle about a tree falling in a forest and whether it makes a sound if no one is there to hear it. Theoretically the sound exists but it can’t really be proven. And once it is proven, the riddle becomes redundant. You know, that sort of thing…

Also, trying to commit selfless acts in this manner sort of goes against the notion that “love unexpressed is not love”. As such, love can never be truly selfless, and it never really is, I guess.

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One thought on “late night ponderings

  1. You still gain something by giving anonymously through the happiness and pride of knowing you gave something to someone in need. So in a way it’s never entirely selfless…?

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