About my friends

This was meant to be a comment for SULZ, but I decided to be selfish and use this good blog material for my own post. Also copying JUAN‘s behaviour who was selfish before me.

The subject is how you treat friendships, and which concept applies to you: Are you a Universalist or a Particularist on regards to this? NOTE: Will appreciate it if you have further information in the subject. I am looking for good sources to read about this, so for now I will not add a link for it. I’d also appreciate it if you read Sulz post since this is my reply to it, and bear with me for now.

This is very interesting. I think I have heard about this concept somewhere, but I never paid too much attention until now. Right now it’s perfect for me to learn about this, because it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently… how do I treat my friendships and why.

Still, I don’t know if I can draw a line and just place myself on one side or the other. But I guess I’m much more of a Particularist. I will consider every situation taking on account the specific factors that apply to THAT situation, and will change my point of view if given new evidence. There is nothing that is Universal enough to be applied for every situation or relationship…

In regards to friendships, I am NOT an all-or-nothing person. On the contrary, everything is gradual and full of gray shades to the point I don’t think there’s anything white or black in this area. My opinion towards a particular friendship change according to situation and the changes are rarely definitive. I’m always open to learn why they do this or that, and I believe I can be extremely understanding, even when it hurts me. I have developed good empathy powers, and I have become able to place myself in the other person’s place until I almost forget my own point of view. Almost… I do value my happiness, and I’m not such a good friend at times. If I’m overwhelmed by something I’m likely to withdraw and not feel like interacting with the people around me, no matter how much I care. I’ve realized not everyone shares my ability to just understand the situations like I do with other people… and not everyone understands that even though I might withdraw from time to time, being pretty much oblivious to everything that is happening around me to the point I might not notice that you’re having a bad time if you don’t tell me. This does not mean I don’t care about you. If you could somehow let me know that you need me, you’ll realize that I’ve always been there and will probably not go away no matter what I do or what you do.

It’s not a sign that I can be stepped on and will be unconditional just because I want to stay friends with you. This would make me prone to getting slapped on the face all over the place several times. It would be a sign of neediness, and would make me extremely vulnerable to abuse.

I like to think that I like to decide what value I put in a relationship, depending on many different factors, but NOT depending on the level of correspondence of the other person. How I feel about YOU will be independent (as much as it can be) of how you feel about ME. If it happens to be equal, you will probably become my best friend, but it’s not the main objective (although desirable). I know I have friends who I love considerably more than I think they love me, but it doesn’t become a problem because I’m aware I don’t want to define my value of the friendship by trying to guess where the other person is. To me it is a game where you’ll most likely fail, if you’re expecting everyone to feel for you the same way you feel about them.

I might fall in love with you, and stay in love with you even if I know you’re not in love with me. It is completely independent. On a smaller scale it is like my blogroll. I place there the blogs I LOVE to read, not caring the less if they love reading mine the same way. I might feel like giving you a present, not caring the less if you’re giving me one back. I am not playing games with you, I am not playing a competition on who loves who more. I am going to love you based on everything but your correspondence. If you correspond me with the same level of love, awesome! But I’m still aware the dynamics might change anytime if new situations arise.

I am also aware that there are people who love me considerably more than I love them. And if they are Universalists, I’m sure it might become a problem…

and it has.

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13 thoughts on “About my friends

  1. Hi Nessa.

    …I might not notice that you’re having a bad time if you don’t tell me. This does not mean I don’t care about you. If you could somehow let me know that you need me, you’ll realize that I’ve always been there and will probably not go away no matter what I do or what you do.

    I couldn’t agree with you more… and that’s how I am too, especially if I have lots of things on me mind (work, projects, etc.). Just because I may seem oblivious to what’s going on with me friends, it doesn’t mean I don’t care. That doesn’t make me less of a friend. And my best friend can attest to that.

    Excellent post!

  2. it’s not selfish to post your comment in your own blog; some consider that good blogging etiquette ‘cos you’re not ‘cluttering’ the comment section with your verbose piece, though personally i never minded how long comments are. i think that’s a compliment ‘cos i provoked that much thought in the commenter! 🙂

    anyway, yeah. you sound like a particularist. you and juan (and maybe my friend) should get along quite well. 😉

    are universalists all or nothing sort of people? not necessarily, but i think their limits are bigger than particularists. that is to say particularists should make better lifelong friends, because at some point in your life you might neglect your friends, but universalists may make better best friends because they are very committed and involve themselves wholeheartedly to your wellbeing.

    it’s one thing to define your ideal friendship, but it’s another to find one. often, we find it in people we never expect to be close to, and when that happens, sometimes people who are particularists by nature could evolve to become universalists, and vice versa, depending on how they feel about their friendships and how much they value it. i guess what i’m saying is that, we should learn to be a balance of both these dimensions, in order to have fulfilling and varied friendships. you can never have too many friends! 🙂

  3. I like to think that I like to decide what value I put in a relationship, depending on many different factors, but NOT depending on the level of correspondence of the other person. How I feel about YOU will be independent (as much as it can be) of how you feel about ME.

    I think from our conversations as of late, it has become fairly obvious that I am not this way at all.

    My most rewarding friendships have been equal. When these friendships began to turn the other way, when an imbalance began to develop, that is when the value of the friendship dropped drastically. It was precisely the foreshadowing of the end.

    I have high standards. My friendships are based on rules. If a person naturally abides by my rules of engagement and I have no problems abiding by theirs, then that is when trust begins. I expect a lot and give a lot. I expect potential friends to know exactly what they want out of a relationship from me. In turn, I tell them exactly what I am capable and/or willing to give. If there is no match, there is no need to proceed. To do so anyway, is a waste of time. With so many people in this world, both parties are more than welcome to find another person that better suits their needs.

    I do not understand why anyone would purposely choose to stay with someone who does not feel the same way about them. It seems . . . masochistic. The most logical explanation is that they are settling. Because they cannot find someone at the moment that cares for them in the same capacity, they decide to stay in an inadequate exchange until such a person arrives.

    It can also be a sign of low self-esteem. That they place such little value on themselves that it is perfectly acceptable to interact with individuals that see little value in them. At best, it is wishful thinking—the belief that if they stay long enough, and offer enough ‘unconditional love,’ then their ‘friend’ will one day reciprocate. It is unfathomable that people choose to take such a gamble with their own emotional wellbeing.

    In this society, the emotional wellbeing of the self generally does not take as much precedent as it ought to. Perhaps this is a symptom of the average person not reflecting enough, and therefore having inferior skills at determining their emotional status until it is already in shambles.

    At any rate, my approach places self-respect at the forefront. I wonder what the alternate approach uses as a substitute—immediate gratification at the expense of long term destruction?

  4. like satoruvash, i know i have high standards, which is probably one of the reasons why i don’t stick to many friendships for long.

    however, i don’t think particularists are settling for less. it seems to be in their nature to accept people as they are, even if they would like more from them, because they would like to be accepted as they are too. and they seem to enjoy doing something for people for the sake of the deed, not for the person (as juan said in his post).

    now that this topic has made me understand people who are particularism-inclined, it’s made me accept my own inclination towards universalism, when before i felt i was too demanding and needy, and that made my esteem suffer. i appreciate my inclinations because i believe it is what makes my friendships more satisfying and memorable, but at the same time i learn the importance of having a balance with particularism because i want the friendship to last.

  5. Oh, great. Well, I think I am not either settling, and I don’t behave the way I do because of low self steem.

    What I am, is sleepy, very. So I’ll try to elaborate in the morning.

    Thank you for commenting everyone!

    BTW, I’ve rescued your comments 🙂

    OMG, Juan, I just got that! HAHAHAHAHAHHA Thanks!

  6. like satoruvash, i know i have high standards, which is probably one of the reasons why i don’t stick to many friendships for long.

    Ah yes, most people are inadequate at fulfilling needs. They value quantity more than quality, trying to spread their energy across multiple friendships and therefore failing at most of them.

    however, i don’t think particularists are settling for less.

    I disagree. By definition, anything that is unequal in a negative way to what you have to offer is automatically less.. It is not politically correct to say so, but it is true nonetheless. To claim otherwise is to fail to see the truth because it is not comforting. If people choose to believe in what is comforting instead of what is true regardless of level of comfort, it is there prerogative, but it will not make their claim true.

    it seems to be in their nature to accept people as they are, even if they would like more from them, because they would like to be accepted as they are too.

    I would say that they do not truly accept them as they are. They tolerate them. The word ‘acceptance’ just sounds more altruistic. But when disparity exists in an exchange, acceptance is an illusion.

    As for thinking that your approach makes you needy, I disagree on that too. It makes you demanding yes, but everyone is demanding. Some are just more willing to admit it than others. I would even say that Particularists are generally needier than Universalists. They care more about being accepted and wanted by more people than Universalists. They apply that need to more people than Universalists and as a result, pay the price by being treated and thought about in ways that are less than ideal.

    By the way, long time no see sulz. It is good to read you again. I would comment on your blog, but I think it would only serve to alienate your readers. I am nowhere near as warm and fuzzy as they are. My direct approach is not easily digestible for most people. I comment here, because Nessa has gotten used to my way of being (as much as is possible in the little time that we have known one another) and I do not believe she minds the controversy.

  7. I would say that they do not truly accept them as they are. They tolerate them. But when disparity exists in an exchange, acceptance is an illusion.

    I would’ve said it like this: “they accept them and tolerate them as they are,” because in a relationship they go hand-in-hand. And if in that relationship tolerance becomes extinct, acceptance will too.

    But when disparity exists in an exchange, acceptance is an illusion.

    Well, it would depend on the situation. If you have no choice, you could accept something without agreeing with it, and tolerate whatever comes from that decision.

    I would even say that Particularists are generally needier than Universalists. They care more about being accepted and wanted by more people than Universalists. They apply that need to more people than Universalists and as a result, pay the price by being treated and thought about in ways that are less than ideal.

    In the spectrum, I fall on the Particularists side, and in my case this is not true. I don’t care if people accept, want or ignore me. I won’t stop breathing, sleeping or eating if they do or don’t. If I do something for someone, I don’t expect anything in return because I’m not doing it to be accepted or wanted, but for personal satisfaction.

    Am I settling for less for not getting anything in return? no, because I didn’t ask for anything in exchange to begin with. It would be totally different, if I said “I’ll do this for you but you’ll have to give me that in return” and at the end you give me less than what we agreed upon the first time and I say “oh, sure… this will do”.

  8. By definition, anything that is unequal in a negative way to what you have to offer is automatically less.

    i don’t see less as being entirely negative; it has to depend on the context and situation. for instance, as someone universalism-inclined, i see the importance of equality, but often i fall short of my own standards. there are times when i treat my friend less than the way i should have. however, it becomes balanced if my friend treats me less than i should be treated. these two incidents would look unequal if viewed separately, but becomes ‘equal’ when compared to each other.

    I would even say that Particularists are generally needier than Universalists. They care more about being accepted and wanted by more people than Universalists. They apply that need to more people than Universalists and as a result, pay the price by being treated and thought about in ways that are less than ideal.

    i think there two different types of particularists. one type is people like nessa and juan, where what they do is done for the mere deed, irrespective of the receiver and the lack of reciprocation. another type is the sort you’ve just described, whereby these particularists are allowing themselves to be treated less than they should be treated simply because they are afraid to rock the foundations of the relationship. i believe there exists two such types in particularism because i believe there are people who are particularists by nature (or nurture) and there are particularists by circumstance, in which they are in all honesty universalists at heart but are made to be particularists for some reason or other.

    I would comment on your blog, but I think it would only serve to alienate your readers. I am nowhere near as warm and fuzzy as they are.

    anybody is welcomed in my blog. i am the host, and i would like you as a guest in my place. yes, even i was taken aback by your response to my comment, but i think it can be a good thing to be exposed to different perspectives, as long as we acknowledge and respect each other’s views.

  9. Juan wrote:
    If I do something for someone, I don’t expect anything in return because I’m not doing it to be accepted or wanted, but for personal satisfaction.

    What you say looks sound on the surface. When you dig deeper, it falls apart. The only way what you say can be true, is if you give to others anonymously and do not stay long enough to see their reaction. But, even in this instance, you still want something from them. You expect them to like what you give. You feel good about yourself. You go home thinking they did. For in the event that they do like your present, they are by extension wanting and accepting the creator of the offering.

    Your words are a defense mechanism. They offer false protection in the event that what you give is neither accepted nor wanted.

    Juan wrote:
    Am I settling for less for not getting anything in return? no, because I didn’t ask for anything in exchange to begin with. It would be totally different, if I said “I’ll do this for you but you’ll have to give me that in return” and at the end you give me less than what we agreed upon the first time and I say “oh, sure… this will do”.

    Every time you give, you get something in return be it negative or positive. It cannot be escaped. Cause and effect. You needn’t explicitly state such a deal. Most of our deals are implicit. It is understood we expect something in return; it is just generally considered improper etiquette to go around stating/reminding others of the fact.

    How you react is going to depend very much on how they respond to your gifts. You give, and at the very least, expect respect. You are not looking to have someone throw that gift back in your face and then proceed to insult you for being presumptuous enough to assume they needed anything from you. If you care not about being accepted and/or wanted, this mistreatment should logically not dissuade you from continuing to give. But, I hardly think that you would waste your time doing so when you can be giving to someone else who responds positively to you.

    This is where the idea of not caring about being wanted and/or accepted is exposed for the illusion that it is. When we give, if a person that will respond negatively to us stands on the left and someone who reacts positively is on the right, most humans would choose the individual on the right. It would take a severely masochistic human being to choose the one on the left, and even then, they choose them because at some level, they derive a sense of satisfaction from the pain of being mistreated. People like the latter undoubtedly exist, but they are not considered healthy and certainly did not get to be that way through choice.

    Human beings act on a basis of punishment or reward. When they interact with others, that system necessarily functions on the input of all participants, and therefore, what is rewarding will depend a lot on how others respond to us. It is a social dynamic that cannot be escaped as long as socialization occurs. In other words, the only way to desire nothing from others is for there to be no others.

    Unless there is something amiss with your humanity—there is no reason to believe there is—then you do expect to be accepted and wanted by others. This is not even in question. There is plenty of evidence to suggest this is a natural consequence of being human. To continue on this premise, the most effective method of obtaining rewards is to set up ground rules. To make others aware of what you want from them and what you do not.

    We do this all the time. Each culture has unspoken rules in analyzing behaviour. One need not tell others what one desires out loud in most instances in order for people to guess based on our actions in the past and present. Examine this from the perspective of least effective to most effective, and not taking an active role in the process is to be given less.

    By refusing to admit that you want nothing in return, you are in essence, cheating yourself.

    sulz wrote:
    i don’t see less as being entirely negative; it has to depend on the context and situation. for instance, as someone universalism-inclined, i see the importance of equality, but often i fall short of my own standards. there are times when i treat my friend less than the way i should have. however, it becomes balanced if my friend treats me less than i should be treated. these two incidents would look unequal if viewed separately, but becomes ‘equal’ when compared to each other.

    You raise an important point. There are times when we do not act in an ideal manner. From your description, the relationship with your friend remains equal because the instances in which you both stray are more or less similar in number and severity. It would become imbalanced the moment one of you strays in greater frequency than the other. If that continues for an extended period, the recipient of the transgressions would be settling for less.

    Yet, it should be noted that whilst equality is the primary component of Universalism, equality is not necessarily positive. If you act in a way that is less than your ideal, than it is negative. That is not to say it is so in an absolutist sense of the word. It may not be 100% negative. Depending on how far you stray from the ideal, your action can be 95% positive and 5% negative or 75/25 or 50/50 and so forth.

    Also, let us suppose that two individuals share an identical sense of what is ideal and always act with each other in ways that represent those ideals—this is highly unlikely and I am only using it to illustrate maximum reciprocity. If their sense of the ideal is abusive, their relationship will be negative whether they see it that way or not. This is because the Universalist approach is a tool. Like all tools, their usefulness and ‘goodness’ is highly dependent on its wielder.

    sulz wrote:
    where what they do is done for the mere deed, irrespective of the receiver and the lack of reciprocation.

    As I said to Juan earlier in this post, that is simply not possible.

    sulz wrote:
    another type is the sort you’ve just described, whereby these particularists are allowing themselves to be treated less than they should be treated simply because they are afraid to rock the foundations of the relationship.

    Particularists, by ignoring the fact that interaction with others is by nature reciprocal be it negative or positive, are automatically allowing themselves to be treated less than they ought to. With that outlook, in their refusal to accept the natural human desire of being accepted and wanted by those they interact with, the only way they can avoid serious injury is to hope that they never encounter someone who is ‘evil.’

    Not everyone should be accepted. Not everyone deserves it. To think otherwise is a very dangerous thing. To accept them anyway under the excuse that they so because ideally they want the same in return—or worse, to claim they do not care if they receive it—is to have a loose hold on reality. It is not moral at all. It is to be an enabler of mistreatment. It is to refuse to take a stand and set up a standard on what is right and wrong.

    Humans are Universalists by nature–from an evolutionary perspective, it has ensured the survival of our species. Some embrace it more than others. Some are better at it than others.

    sulz wrote:
    but i think it can be a good thing to be exposed to different perspectives, as long as we acknowledge and respect each other’s views.

    Debate is a positive exercise. The best debates challenge our views, makes us rethink them, and either modify them or discard them altogether. This said, I disagree that views ought to be respected just because a human holds them. Views are hierarchical. Some are logically awful, others are mediocre and a few superbly sharp. They are not all equal and as such should not be treated with equal respect.

    If someone holds a view that is logically inferior, they may have every right to have it, but I will not tell them or act as if that view is just as good as mine. If the view is horrifically illogical, I will have absolutely no respect for it—chances are it will disgust me. Conversely, if their view is of greater logical consistency, I will have no qualms about revising my own given the new information.

    Now on the topic of flamewars . . . their sole purpose is to offend. It has nothing to do with debate, therefore, of no interest to me.

  10. Particularists, by ignoring the fact that interaction with others is by nature reciprocal be it negative or positive, are automatically allowing themselves to be treated less than they ought to.

    but i think they really don’t care if they’re treated less. your reply to juan says that if he digs deeper he will find that he is actually deep down not satisfied to receive a non-reaction or a negative one. sometimes there are things which we do not realise we feel deep down inside, and sometimes there are things which does not exist down there because it is just there up there. this perspective may look as if the person is refusing to see the ‘real’ truth ‘deep down inside,’ but sometimes things aren’t that complicated, i think!

    also, if a person cannot see if there is anything to feel deep down inside other than what is up there, then you cannot convince the person otherwise. to you, particularists do not realise they want to receive acceptance deep down inside, but to them they don’t see or feel that way, so i guess no matter how you reason with logic, they can only know what they feel and that is their answer to them. some might call it refusing to see the truth, some might call it believing and knowing yourself better than what others say. a matter of perspective.

    Not everyone should be accepted. Not everyone deserves it. To think otherwise is a very dangerous thing. To accept them anyway under the excuse that they so because ideally they want the same in return—or worse, to claim they do not care if they receive it—is to have a loose hold on reality. It is not moral at all. It is to be an enabler of mistreatment. It is to refuse to take a stand and set up a standard on what is right and wrong.

    i would liken this mentality as a derivative of a voluntary spirit, where you do good because it makes you feel good, while at the same time you understand you cannot receive anything in the same measure, but just the feeling you get from helping someone out. it is this feeling that would make juan want to help me port a skin for my blog.

    Views are hierarchical. They are not all equal and as such should not be treated with equal respect. If someone holds a view that is logically inferior, they may have every right to have it, but I will not tell them or act as if that view is just as good as mine.

    when i say respect, i do not mean i recognise a view to be better, as good or worse than mine. it just means, you have your view, and i have mine. there is no judgement attached in my respect. perhaps respect is not the right to use as such, but this is how i see it.

    you presented some persuasive argument, but i will end my response here. i believe there exists two sides to a coin, and what we have been talking about here proves it. thank you for sharing your perspective; i learnt a lot, regardless of what i agreed or disagreed with your argument.

  11. The ideal for an universalist would be to have a very good idea of what exactly they want from a relationship. Maybe not all, but enough. For example for someone like Satoru or Sulz, collecting friendships they KNOW are most likely useless from the start is a pointless effort.

    But those who don’t, they need to explore a little. Maybe being a particularist in regards to relationships IS an earlier way of behaviour in life, that ideally should mature into universalism. After learning what we want and what we don’t, doing anything else is obviously a waste of time, when instead, you could be building your potential matches to stronger levels everyday.

    Some may earn that ability very early in life, but knowing what I know about myself, I don’t think I’m in that capacity yet. YES, I am saying I don’t really know what I want from my relationships yet. For now I don’t mind it. I like to keep playing and I know I’m learning a lot in the process.

    Maybe it is naive, but S, although your comment makes LOTS of sense, it doesn’t convince me to go for a universalistic way of behaviour NOW. Of course that’s probably not your objective. Maybe someday I’ll come to the same conclusion than you and I’ll be “DANG put the idiot hat on me already”. Or maybe we can continue to discuss this topic until we go in even deeper to see what else comes up.

    So, I agree on the part about how it is a good idea to know what we want from a relationship and pursue it. If you KNOW it, and still settle for less, it’s disrespectful of your own person and you’re making yourself an easy prey for abuse.

    Now, I don’t know if this is merely a problem of terms and it’s not what universalism really means in the context we’re discussing it, but what I understand about universalism is that rules are valid for all times and all situations and I find this a little absolutist. Lets think I’ve already gotten to the point where I KNOW what I want from a relationship, and I let the other person know and we stablish certain rules. Everything is fine now.

    How will new situations, new mistakes on both parts, affect this relationship? With such rules set on stone, will we still be able to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes and understand why they behaved that or this way? This can push our limits in ways we didn’t know about and still result in something rewarding in the end. I guess all this depends on what rules we set, which again depend on our knowledge of the other person and what we want from it.

    Now, I can’t say I don’t care about what I give or receive. But what you understand for a reward varies from person to person. I’ll make an example using something Juan said in his blog. He gave a new skin template to someone he barely knows because he liked her and her writing and felt compelled to give her something that makes her happy.

    What she got: (Positive) A new skin template that made her day Happy.
    What Juan got: (Positive) Satisfaction of knowing someone was happy, and it was because of HIM.

    To me that sounds balanced. A nice trade.

    If she had thrown the skin back at him without caring, the dynamics would be like this:

    What she got: (Negative) She was not interested in the skin therefore it only annoyed her to say the least.
    What Juan got: (Negative) Something he though valuable was rejected and considered useless or annoying.

    I don’t think they would interact again. Unless he finds out the reason she behaved like that was justified somehow and discuss about it.

    Everything IS a trade. Everyone has interests. To say the opposite would be going against human nature. I think what Juan meant to say is that he doesn’t expect A SKIN or other items back for paying for his actions. He already got the reward, only it is of different nature, but similar proportions.

    About respecting other’s opinions, my view is that this has to do with being able to value logic as objectively as possible. If you judge the logic or illogicness of someone based on your own illogical subjective tools, chances are the debate will turn into a bizantine discussion. I see a red line, you see a blue line, when in reality we’re seeing an square with red and blue limits from different sides. Of course this would make one a lousy debater.

  12. When you dig deeper, it falls apart.

    No it doesn’t

    The only way what you say can be true, is if you give to others anonymously and do not stay long enough to see their reaction.

    Well, and who’s to know I have or haven’t done it? Who’s to know that if I do something I signed my name as Juan when my real name is Hu-An, Fei-Hung, Giuseppe or Ivan and I chose to ‘sign’ as Juan just because I like the sound of it? There can be many possibilites.

    But, even in this instance, you still want something from them. You expect them to like what you give. You feel good about yourself. You go home thinking they did. For in the event that they do like your present, they are by extension wanting and accepting the creator of the offering.

    No, I don’t want something from them. I certainly don’t expect them to like what I give. They have no obligation to like it. It’s their choice to take it or not. Besides, who the creator of the object really is? I mean, once we die we’ll be forgotten anyway… save by your loved ones, of course.

    However, the satisfaction I get when I do something for someone is as high as it is its complexity; why? because it’s a challenge I take for myself and I get my reward when I accomplish it whether they like it or not. Experience and knowledge is gained. It’s a win situation for me no matter what the outcome is.

    Your words are a defense mechanism. They offer false protection in the event that what you give is neither accepted nor wanted.

    That’s how you may be interpreting my words; however, that’s not true in my case. You say for every cuase there’s an effect and I agree with you. For the cause of helping or doing something for someone, the effect, my effect, is to feel good by sense of accomplishment. I said it in my first comment, I said it just now… you said it too in your reply.

    If I give someone a gift and I get it thrown back to me (the cause), I will just think that that’s the rudest person I’ve met (effect). I won’t deny that I may get upset for that reaction, since I’m human and I’m bound to have such feelings, but that would be it. Unless, of course you were a family member or a very close person. The reaction will obviously be different.

    Every time you give, you get something in return be it negative or positive. It cannot be escaped.

    Sure, but you’re leaving out a third type of effect: the null effect; which if uncommon, still exists.

    Human beings act on a basis of punishment or reward. When they interact with others, that system necessarily functions on the input of all participants, and therefore, what is rewarding will depend a lot on how others respond to us.

    Yes, but this essentially happens when a human being is growing up. The more grown a person is, the more experiences would have to be accumulated and learned from, thus, acting less on a punishment/reward basis (in other words, less instinctive) but on a more rational way.

    You could say: “not true, because on a job, if you do something wrong you’ll get reprimended, a warning or even written up. Then by this kind of punishment you would no do the same mistake again. He will expect not to be punished again.” Yes, base on that “punishment”, he will act accordingly so that it doesn’t happen again. But what if the person makes the same mistake again? I doubt the person would be acting on a punishment/reward basis; there should be other factors involved. Being able to reason, a person can analyze and determine the consequences of his actions. Cause and effect.

    But wait, you could say: “The effect of such cause is the person getting fired (punished) which would make him/her act by looking a new job.” But then again, his/her cognitive process could’ve made the person avoid that… we could go on and and on… and this could become vicious circle. Besides, I feel I’m digressing.

    By refusing to admit that you want nothing in return, you are in essence, cheating yourself.

    No, I’m not cheating myself. I would cheat myself if I pretend I do want something in return when actually I don’t. It’s possible that my search of self accomplishment and betterment can be misconstrued as expecting/wanting to be accepted/wanted/rewarded… you name it, when in reallity that’s not the case.

    I too will end my debate; like Sulz and Nessa, I believe you put up some good arguments here, still they don’t apply to me. You may say/think I’m in denial… still, that doesn’t make it true.

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