Doing Good Deeds Selfishly Is for the Cunning, Not the Good

October 8, 2016

Showing kindness with sincerity is not as common as kindness done out of self-interest. This latter type of kindness, which we tend to notice when it is too late, has more to do with cunning or selfishness than generosity, solidarity, or dedication. Being good is not the same thing as being cunning, but in certain contexts, we confuse the two. The latter can be camouflaged, and it can trick us. Moreover, when this happens, we can end up feeling let down and sad. We have created expectations of the other person that were not at all realistic.

The selfish shade of he who is good out of self-interest

Hands Offering Flowers

When someone helps us, we like to think that they are doing it because they are really worried about what we need. However, when we discover that the action is motivated by self-interest, we tend to immediately take away the value we gave that person, even though the benefit of their actions hasn’t changed.

The damage arises because we notice the true motivations for the supposed act of kindness. If deep within the action is self-interest, the person is probably acting in virtue of a personal benefit, not solidarity.

Those who are cunning have a certain selfish shade. Their goals are always at the center of what they are doing. This is so much the case that the potential altruism and concern for the other person remain in the background.

“Selfishness is not self-love, but rather a disorganized passion for oneself.”

-Aristotle-

Altruism: within the essence of good

The altruistic person dedicates himself to others, is interested in others, and shows, above all else, solidarity and dedication.

This is the case because he who is altruistic performs his actions seeking not to harm anyone. Altruism continuously seeks the benefit of others, without thinking about what can be received in exchange. Doing good without looking towards anyone else.

“For what refers to man, it is not his lands, nor his money, nor his money, nor his clients, nor the bed in which he sleeps or the glass that he drinks from which matters; what is important is how much kindness he shows, for this is the sum of man’s good.”

-Seneca-

It is true that self-love is indispensable, but an altruistic person keeps firm limits. It is not a matter of showing a lack of interest in oneself, but of understanding that kindness is born of a free and voluntary act that seeks to help others.

Hands Offering Heart

Qualities of goodness, not cunning

We can define this form of interested help as the skillful ability to achieve any end. In other words, self-interest is not bad because it motivates us. The bad thing is using this movement to manipulate and take advantage of others.

A kind person is friendly towards the people he needs and those he does not. He does favors for those who own him and for those who do not. And he gives up his place in line for a person who is in a hurry, even if he does not want to flirt with them.

Finally, and above all else, we must not forget that by doing acts of kindness in a voluntary way and without self-interest, we transfer values of empathy and humanity.

“Only good feelings can bring us together; self-interest has never forged lasting unions.”

-Comte-