There is no such thing as an unselfish act because people are selfish by nature. Maybe that doesn’t make a lot of sense; people are always doing nice things for each other. Giving money, volunteering, donating food and supplies to a needy nation. They are all selfless acts of charity. Well, that is wrong. There is no such thing as an unselfish act. Every act is selfish.
While some acts may be more or less selfish than others, no act is purely unselfish. Many factors contribute to the selfishness of an act. Obviously, handing money to a homeless person is less selfish than killing another person for their money. The big question is, “Why is helping other people selfish?” To answer that question, another question has to be asked. That question is, “Why do we help other people?” The answer is hidden, but easily uncovered.
There are reasons why we help people
One of them is the feeling we get when we help another person, that feeling of pride, responsibility, and great generosity. When you help another person, you feel good about what you did, that you are important and unselfish and are a deserving human being. Would we do acts if we did not get this feeling? Perhaps, but there is yet another factor contributing to the need for humans to help others.
Humans feel they have to help others, in order to be good people. When one is walking down the street and encounters a homeless person, depending on the person, they will feel compelled to help that human out, by giving some money. It feels obligatory, like there is no choice. And of course, accompanying the donation comes the “generous” feeling.
In some cases, a huge factor that forces one to help another is guilt
Back to the homeless example, you might feel guilty seeing someone less fortunate then you, therefore you help them because you feel guilty. Or, you might be at a water fountain, and there is a long line behind you. While you might want more water, you stop anyway, because my staying there, the guilt grows and grows by each second, until it is unbearable. Of course, if the person doing the drinking is guiltless, that person won’t move.
For that person, their simply is no reason to move, therefore, the person doesn’t move. If a person doesn’t get a good feeling out of helping another person, they won’t help them. If somebody doesn’t feel compelled to donate to another person, they won’t donate to them. If somebody doesn’t feel guilt, they won’t have the necessity to perform any guilt-removing action. There is no unselfish act; every single thing that anybody does is at some level selfish.
Perhaps the act most thought of as unselfish is sacrificing your life for someone else
On the contrary, that is the most selfish act in the entire world, as it combines all three of the factors which contribute to a human helping another human. In the last moments before you die for another, one feels a sense of triumph, that they are doing the ultimate deed of righteousness, thereby granting them a happy death.
Perhaps they feel compelled to help that human out, because they did some great misdeed to them and must right it by sacrificing themselves. And finally, perhaps the most powerful, is the guilt. If you let someone else die in your place, you have to live with the horrifying guilt of what you did. So, it’s simply just easier to die instead of going through years of pain.
While it is noble, it is also cowardly, in order to avoid having to face the horrible life after watching someone else die because of you. And of course, if the person doesn’t get any pride, doesn’t feel compelled, and is guiltless, they will not perform the final act.
It’s that simple.